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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 9 out of 10

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Mr. Wright was so good as to look out for a courageous and trusty
guide. I paid double fare, in order to reach Tebris in four,
instead of six days. In order to make the guide think that I was a
poor pilgrim, I gave Mr. Wright the half of the agreed price, and
begged him to pay it instead of myself, and also to say that he
would be paid the other half by Mr. Stevens, the English consul.

I made as good use as possible of the day which I passed at Oromia.
In the morning I visited the town, and afterwards I visited, with
Mrs. Wright, several rich and poor families, in order to observe
their mode of life.

The town contains 22,000 inhabitants, is surrounded by walls, but
not closed by gates; it is possible to pass in and out at any hour
of the night. It is built like all Turkish towns, with this
exception--that the streets are rather broad, and kept clean.
Outside the town are numerous large fruit and vegetable gardens,
which are surrounded by very high walls; pretty dwelling-houses
stand in the centre of the gardens.

The women here go closely veiled. They cover over their heads and
breast with a white kerchief, in which thick impenetrable network is
inserted, at the places opposite the eyes.

In the houses of the poorer classes two or three families live under
one roof. They possess little more than straw mats, blankets,
pillows, and a few cooking utensils, not to forget a large wooden
box in which the meal, their chief property, is kept. Here as
everywhere else where corn is cultivated, bread is the principal
food of the common people. Every family bake twice daily, morning
and evening.

Many of the small houses have very pretty courts, which are planted
with flowers, vines, and shrubs, and looked like gardens.

The dwellings of the wealthy are lofty, airy, and spacious; the
reception rooms have a large number of windows, and are covered with
carpets. I saw no divans, people always lie upon the carpets. As
we made the visits without being invited, we found the women in very
plain coloured cotton dresses, of course, made in their own fashion.

In the afternoon I rode with the missionaries to their large
country-house, which is situated about six miles from the town, on
some low hills. The valley through which we rode was very large,
and altogether well cultivated and delightful. Although it is said
to lie about 4,000 feet above the level of the sea, cotton, castor-
oil plants, vines, tobacco, and every kind of fruit grow here as in
South Germany. The castor-oil plant, indeed, is not more than four
feet high, and the cotton but one foot; they produce, however,
rather abundantly. Several villages are half hid in orchards. I
came into this country at a fortunate time: there were beautiful
peaches, apricots, apples, grapes, etc., true fruits of my native
country, of which I had long been deprived.

The house of the missionary society is most charmingly situated; it
commands a view of the whole valley, the town, the low range of
hills, and the mountains. The house itself is large, and furnished
with every possible convenience, so that I thought I was in the
country-house of wealthy private people, and not under the roof of
simple disciples of Christ. There were four women here, and a whole
troop of children, great and small. I passed several very pleasant
hours among them, and was heartily sorry that I was obliged to take
leave of them at 9 in the evening.

Several native girls were also introduced to me who were educated by
the wives of the missionaries. They spoke and wrote a little
English, and were well acquainted with geography. I cannot avoid,
on this occasion, making some observations with regard to the
missionaries, whose mode of life and labours I had frequent
opportunities of observing during my journey. I met with
missionaries in Persia, China, and India, and everywhere found them
living in a very different manner to what I had imagined.

In my opinion the missionaries were almost, if not complete martyrs,
and I thought that they were so absorbed with zeal and the desire to
convert the heathen, that, like the disciples of Christ, quite
forgetting their comforts and necessaries, they dwelt with them
under one roof, and ate from one dish, etc. Alas! these were
pictures and representations which I had gathered out of books; in
reality the case was very different. They lead the same kind of
life as the wealthy: they have handsome dwellings, which are fitted
up with luxurious furniture, and every convenience. They recline
upon easy divans, while their wives preside at the tea-table, and
the children attack the cakes and sweetmeats heartily; indeed their
position is pleasanter and freer from care than that of most people;
their occupation is not very laborious, and their income is certain,
whatever may be the national or political condition of their
country.

In places where several missionaries reside meetings are held three
or four times a week. These meetings or assemblies are supposed to
be for the transaction of business; but are not much other than
soirees, at which the ladies and children make their appearance in
elegant full dress. One missionary receives his friends at
breakfast, a second at dinner, the third at tea, several equipages
and a number of servants stand in the court-yard.

Business is also attended to: the gentleman generally retire for
half an hour or so; but the greater part of the time is passed in
mere social amusement.

I do not think that it can be easy to gain the confidence of the
natives in this way. Their foreign dress, and elegant mode of life,
make the people feel too strongly the difference of rank, and
inspire them with fear and reserve rather than confidence and love.
They do not so readily venture to look up to people of wealth or
rank, and the missionaries have consequently to exert themselves for
some time until this timidity is overcome. The missionaries say
that it is necessary to make this appearance, in order to create an
impression and command respect; but I think that respect may be
inspired by noble conduct, and that virtue will attract men more
than external splendour.

Many of the missionaries believe that they might effect a great deal
by preaching and issuing religious tracts in the native language in
the towns and villages. They give the most attractive report of the
multitude of people who crowd to hear their preaching and receive
their tracts, and it might reasonably be thought that, according to
their representations, at least half of their hearers would become
converts to Christianity; but unfortunately the listening and
receiving tracts is as good as no proof at all. Would not Chinese,
Indian, or Persian priests have just as great troops of hearers if
they appeared in their respective national costume in England or
France, and preached in the language of those countries? Would not
people flock round them? would they not receive the tracts given out
gratis, even if they could not read them?

I have made the minutest inquiries in all places respecting the
results of missions, and have always heard that a baptism is one of
the greatest rarities. The few Christians in India, who here and
there form villages of twenty or thirty families, have resulted
principally from orphan children, who had been adopted and brought
up by the missionaries; but even these require to be supplied with
work, and comfortably attended to, in order to prevent them from
falling back into their superstitions.

Preaching and tracts are insufficient to make religious doctrine
understandable, or to shake the superstitions which have been
imbibed in infancy. Missionaries must live among the people as
fathers or friends, labour with them--in short, share their trials
and pleasures, and draw them towards them by an exemplary and
unpretending mode of life, and gradually instruct them in a way they
are capable of understanding. They ought not to be married to
Europeans for the following reasons:--European girls who are
educated for missionaries frequently make this their choice only
that they be provided for as soon as possible. If a young European
wife has any children, if she is weak or delicate, they are then
unable to attend any longer to their calling, and require a change
of air, or even a journey to Europe. The children also are weak,
and must be taken there, at latest in their seventh year. Their
father accompanies them, and makes use of this pretext to return to
Europe for some time. If it is not possible to undertake this
journey, they go to some mountainous country, where it is cooler, or
he takes his wife and family to visit a Mela. {287} At the same
time, it must be remembered that these journeys are not made in a
very simple manner: as mine has been, for instance; the missionary
surrounds himself with numerous conveniences; he has palanquins
carried by men, pack-horses, or camels, with tents, beds, culinary,
and table utensils; servants and maids in sufficient number. And
who pays for all this? Frequently poor credulous souls in Europe
and North America, who often deny themselves the necessaries of
life, that their little savings may be squandered in this way in
distant parts of the world.

If the missionaries were married to natives, the greater part of
these expenses and requirements would be unnecessary; there would be
few sick wives, the children would be strong and healthy, and would
not require to be taken to Europe. Schools might be established
here and there for their education, although not in such a luxurious
manner as those at Calcutta.

I hope that my views may not be misunderstood; I have great respect
for missionaries, and all whom I have known were honourable men, and
good fathers; I am also convinced that there are many learned men
among them, who make valuable contributions to history and
philosophy, but whether they thus fulfil their proper object is
another question. I should consider that a missionary has other
duties than those of a philosopher.

For my own part, I can only express my obligations to the
missionaries; everywhere they showed me the greatest kindness and
attention. Their mode of life certainly struck me, because I
involuntarily associate with the name "missionary" those men who at
first went out into the world, without support, to diffuse the
doctrines of Christ, taking nothing with them but a pilgrim's staff.

Before concluding my description of Oromia, I must remark that this
neighbourhood is considered to be the birth-place of Zoroaster, who
is said to have lived 5,500 years before the birth of Christ, and
was the founder of the sect of Magi, or fire-worshippers.

On the 1st of August, I rode ten hours to the village of Kutschie,
which lies near the Lake Oromia; we seldom caught sight of the lake,
although we were always very near to it all day. We passed through
large, fertile villages, which would have presented a charming
prospect if they had not been situated between barren and naked
hills and mountains.

I had not enjoyed so pleasant a day during the whole journey from
Mosul, or from Baghdad. My guide was a remarkably good fellow, very
attentive to me, and provided everything carefully when we reached
Kutschie; he took me to a very cleanly peasant's cottage, among some
excellent people; they immediately laid down a nice carpet for me on
a small terrace, brought me a basin of water to wash, and a quantity
of large black mulberries on a lacquered plate. Afterwards I had
some strong soup with meat, fat, sour milk, and good bread, all in
clean vessels; but what was better than all, the people retired as
soon as they had set the food before me, and did not stare at me as
if I was a strange animal. When I offered to pay these good people,
they would not take anything; I had no opportunity of rewarding them
until the following morning, when I took two men of the family as
guard across the mountains, and gave them twice as much as they are
generally paid; they thanked me, with touching cordiality, and
wished me safety and good fortune on my journey.

2nd August. It occupied three hours to pass the most dangerous part
of these desolate mountains. My two armed men would not, indeed,
have afforded me much protection against a band of robbers, although
they were the means of making the journey less terrible than it
would have been if I had gone with my old guide alone. We met
several large caravans, but all going towards Oromia.

When we had crossed the mountains, the two men left us. We entered
into enormous valleys, which seemed to have been forgotten by
nature, and deserted by man. In my opinion, we were not in any
degree out of the danger, and I was right; for, as we were passing
three ruined cottages in this barren valley, several fellows rushed
out upon us, laid hold of our horses' reins, and commenced rummaging
my luggage. I expected nothing but an order to dismount, and
already saw my little property lost. They talked with my guide, who
told them the tale which I had imposed upon him--that I was a poor
pilgrim, and that the English consuls or missionaries paid all my
travelling expenses. My dress, the smallness of my baggage, and
being alone, agreed perfectly with this; they believed him, and my
silent supplicative look, and let me go; they even asked me if I
would have some water, of which there is a scarcity in these
villages. I begged them for a draught, and so we parted good
friends. Nevertheless I was for some time fearful that they might
repent their generosity and follow us.

We came to the shores of the lake again today, and continued to
travel for some time at its side. After a ride of fourteen hours,
we rested at a chan in the village of Schech-Vali.

3rd August. The oppressive sense of fear was now at an end. We
passed through peaceful inhabited valleys, where the people were
working in the fields, carrying home corn, tending cattle, etc.

During the hot noon hours we rested at Dise-halil, a rather
considerable town, with very clean streets; the principal street is
intersected by a clear brook, and the court-yards of the houses
resemble gardens. Here also I saw outside the town a great number
of very large gardens surrounded by high walls.

From the number of chans, this town would appear to be very much
visited. In the small street through which we passed, I counted
more than half a dozen. We dismounted at one of them, and I was
quite astonished at the conveniences which I found there. The
stalls were covered; the sleeping-places for the drivers were on
pretty walled terraces; and the rooms for travellers, although
destitute of all furniture, were very clean, and furnished with
stoves. The chans were open to every one, and there is nothing to
pay for using them; at the utmost, a small trifle is given to the
overseer, who provides the travellers' meals.

In this respect, the Persians, Turks, and the so-called uncultivated
people, are much more generous than we are. In India, for example,
where the English build bungalows, travellers must pay a rupee per
night, or even for an hour, which does not include any provision for
the driver or the animals: they are obliged to take their rest in
the open air. The travellers who are not Christians are not allowed
to come into most of the bungalows at all; in a few they are
admitted, but only when the rooms are not required by a Christian;
if, however, one should arrive at night, the poor unbeliever is
obliged to turn out for him without pity. This humane custom
extends also to the open bungalows, which consist only of a roof and
three wooden walls. In the countries of the unbelievers, however,
those who come first have the place, whether they are Christians,
Turks, or Arabs; indeed, I am firmly convinced, that if all the
places were occupied by unbelievers, and a Christian was to come,
they would make room for him.

In the afternoon, we went as far as Ali-Schach, a considerable
place, with a handsome chan.

We here met with three travellers, who were also going to Tebris.
My guide agreed to travel with them, and that we should start at
night. Their society was not very agreeable to me, for they were
well armed, and looked very savage. I should have preferred waiting
until daybreak, and going without them, but my guide assured me that
they were honest people; and trusting more to my good fortune than
his word, I mounted my horse about 1 o'clock at night.

4th August. I soon lost my fear, for we frequently met small
parties of three or four persons, who would scarcely have ventured
to travel at night if the road had been dangerous. Large caravans
also, of several hundred camels, passed us and took up the road in
such a way, that we were obliged to wait for half an hour to allow
them to pass.

Towards noon we entered a valley in which lay a town, which was
certainly large, but of such an unpretending appearance, that I did
not at once inquire what was its name. The nearer we approached the
more ruined it appeared. The walls were half fallen, the streets
and squares full of heaps of rubbish, and many of the houses were in
ruins; it seemed as if a pestilence or an enemy had destroyed it.
At last I asked its name, and could hardly believe that I had
understood it rightly when I was told that it was Tebris.

My guide conducted me to the house of Mr. Stevens, the English
consul, who, to my vexation, was not in the town, but ten miles away
in the country. A servant, however, told me that he would go
directly to a gentleman who could speak English. In a very short
time he came, and his first questions were: "How did you come here,
_alone_? Have you been robbed? Have you parted from your company
and only left them in the town?" But when I gave him my pass, and
explained everything to him, he appeared scarcely to believe me. He
thought it bordered upon the fabulous that a woman should have
succeeded, without any knowledge of the language, in penetrating
through such countries and such people. I also could not be too
thankful for the evident protection which Providence had afforded
me. I felt myself as happy and lively as if I had taken a new lease
of my life.

Doctor Cassolani showed me to some rooms in Mr. Stevens's house, and
said that he would immediately send a messenger to him, and I might
meanwhile make known my wants to him.

When I expressed to him my astonishment at the miserable appearance
and ugly entrance to this town, the second in the country, he told
me that the town could not be well seen from the side at which I
came in, and that the part which I saw was not considered the town,
but was chiefly old and, for the most part, deserted.

CHAPTER XXI. SOJOURN IN TEBRIS.

DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN--THE TOWN--PERIOD OF FASTING--BEHMEN MIRZA--
ANECDOTES OF THE PERSIAN GOVERNMENT--INTRODUCTION TO THE VICEROY AND
HIS WIFE--BEHMEN MIRZA'S WIVES--VISIT TO A PERSIAN LADY--PERSECUTION
OF THE LOWER CLASSES, OF THE CHRISTIANS, AND OF THE JEWS--DEPARTURE.

Tebris, or Tauris, is the capital of the province of Aderbeidschan,
and the residence of the successor to the throne of Persia, who
bears the title of Viceroy. It is situated in a treeless valley on
the rivers Piatscha and Atschi, and contains 160,000 inhabitants.
The town is handsomer than Teheran or Ispahan, possesses a number of
silk looms and leather manufactories, and is said to be one of the
principal seats of Asiatic commerce.

The streets are tolerably broad, and are also kept clean, there is
in each an underground water canal with openings at regular
intervals for the purpose of dipping out water.

There is no more to be seen of the houses than in any other Oriental
town. Lofty walls with low entrances, without windows, and with the
fronts always facing the court-yards, which are planted with flowers
and small trees, and generally adjoining a beautiful garden. The
reception rooms are large and lofty, with whole rows of windows,
forming a complete wall of glass. The decoration of the rooms is
not elegant, generally nothing beyond some few carpets; European
furniture and articles of luxury are rare.

There are no handsome mosques, palaces, or monuments, either ancient
or modern, with the exception of the partly ruined mosque of Ali-
Schach, which, however, will not bear comparison in any respect with
those in India.

The new bazaar is very handsome, its lofty, broad covered streets
and passages forcibly called to my remembrance the bazaar at
Constantinople; but it had a more pleasant appearance as it is
newer. The merchant's stalls also are larger, and the wares,
although not so magnificent and rich as some travellers represent,
are more tastefully displayed and can be more easily overlooked,
especially the carpets, fruits, and vegetables. The cookshops also
looked very inviting, and the various dishes seemed so palatable and
diffused such a savoury odour, that I could have sat down with
pleasure and partaken of them. The shoe department, on the
contrary, presented nothing attractive; there were only goods of the
plainest description exposed; while in Constantinople the most
costly shoes and slippers, richly embroidered with gold, and even
ornamented with pearls and precious stones, are to be seen under
glass cases.

I had arrived at Tebris at a rather unfavourable time--namely, the
fast month. From sunrise to sunset nothing is eaten, nobody leaves
the house, there are neither visits nor company--indeed, nothing but
praying. This ceremony is so strictly observed that invalids
frequently fall victims to it, as they will take neither medicine
nor food during the day; they believe that if they were to eat only
a mouthful, they would forfeit the salvation to be obtained by
fasting. Many of the more enlightened make an exception to this
custom in cases of illness; however, in such an instance the
physician must send a written declaration to the priest, in which he
explains the necessity of taking medicine and food. If the priest
puts his seal to this document, pardon is obtained. I am not aware
whether this granting of indulgences was taken by the Mahomedans
from the Christians, or the reverse. Girls are obliged to keep
these fasts after their tenth year, and boys after their fifteenth.

It was to the courteousness of Dr. Cassolani, and his intimacy with
some of the principal families in Tebris, that I was indebted for my
introduction to them, and even for my presentation at court,
notwithstanding the strict observance of the fast.

There was no viceroy in Tebris until about six months since, but
only a governor; the present reigning schach, Nesr-I-Din, raised the
province of Aderbeidschan to a vice-royalty, and decreed that every
eldest son of the future inheritor of the empire should reside here
as viceroy until he came to the throne.

The last governor of Tebris, Behmen Mirza, the schach's brother, was
a remarkably intelligent and just man. He brought the province of
Aderbeidschan into a flourishing condition in a few years, and
everywhere established order and security. This soon excited the
envy of the prime minister Haggi-Mirza-Aagassi; he urged the schach
to recall his brother, and represented to him that he would engage
the affections of the people too much, and that he might at last
make himself king.

For a long time the schach paid no attention to these insinuations,
for he loved his brother sincerely; but the minister did not rest
until he had attained his wishes. Behmen Mirza, who knew all that
was going on at court, hastened to Teheran for the purpose of
exculpating himself before the schach. The latter assured him of
his love and confidence, and told him, candidly, that he might
retain his office if the minister would consent to it, and
recommended him to endeavour to gain his favour.

Behmen Mirza learnt, however, through his friends, that the minister
entertained an inveterate hatred towards him, and that he ran the
risk of being deprived of his sight, or even made away with
altogether. They advised him to lose no time, but quit the country
immediately. He followed their advice, returned quickly to Tebris,
gathered his valuables together, and fled with a part of his family
to the neighbouring Russian dominions. Having arrived there, he
appealed to the Emperor of Russia by letter, soliciting his
protection, which was magnanimously afforded to him. The emperor
wrote to the schach declaring that the prince was no longer a
Persian subject, and that therefore every persecution of himself or
his family must cease; he also provided him with a pretty palace
near Tiflis, sent him costly presents, and, as I was informed,
allowed him a yearly pension of 20,000 ducats.

It may be seen from this circumstance that the minister completely
governed the schach; indeed he succeeded to such an extent, that the
schach honoured him as a prophet, and unconditionally carried out
all his suggestions. He was, on one occasion, desirous of effecting
some very important object. He told the schach, at a morning visit,
that he woke in the night and felt himself being carried upwards.
He went up higher and higher, and finally entered heaven, where he
saw and spoke with the king's father, who requested him to describe
the government of his son. The deceased king was greatly rejoiced
to hear of his good conduct, and recommended that he should continue
to go on thus. The delighted king, who had cordially loved his
father, did not cease from asking further questions, and the artful
minister always contrived to bring in at the end of his answers--"It
was only this or that thing that the father wished to see done," and
of course the good son fulfilled his father's wishes, not for one
moment doubting the assertions of his minister.

The king is said to be rather passionate, and when in such a state
of mind, will order the immediate execution of an offender. The
minister, on the other hand, possesses at least enough sense of
justice to endeavour to stay the sentence of death upon men whom he
does not fear. He has, therefore, given orders that when such a
circumstance occurs, he is to be sent for immediately, and that the
preparations for the execution are to be delayed until he comes. He
makes his appearance then as if accidentally, and asks what is going
on. The enraged sovereign tells him that he is about to have an
offender executed. The minister agrees with him completely, and
steps to the window to consult the sky, clouds, and sun. Presently
he cries out that it would be better to postpone the execution until
the following day, as the clouds, sun, or sky at the present moment
are not favourable to it, and that some misfortune to the king might
probably result from it. In the meanwhile, the king's rage abates,
and he consents that the condemned should be taken away, and
generally, that he shall be set free; the next morning the whole
affair is forgotten.

The following circumstance is also interesting; the king had once a
particular hatred for one of his town governors, and ordered him to
the capital, with the intention of having him strangled. The
minister, who was a friend of the governor, was desirous of saving
him, and did so in the following manner. He said to the king,
"Sire, I bid you farewell, I am going to Mecca." The king, greatly
grieved at the prospect of losing his favourite for so long (the
journey to Mecca takes at least a year), hastily asked the reason of
his making this journey. "You know, sire, that I am childless, and
that I have adopted the governor whom you wish to have executed; I
shall then lose my son, and I wish to fetch another from Mecca."
The king answered that he knew nothing of this, but as such was the
case he would not have him executed, but allow him to retain his
office.

The king has a great affection for his mother. When she visited
him, he always rose and continued standing, while she sat down. The
minister was much annoyed at this mark of respect, and said to him,
"You are king, and your mother must stand before you." And he
ultimately succeeded according to his wish. If, however, the king's
mother comes at a time when the minister is not present, her son
pays her this respect. He then gives strict orders to his people
not to say anything of it to the minister.

I was told these and other things by a very trustworthy person, and
they may serve to give my readers some slight idea of the system of
government in Persia.

I was presented to the viceroy a few days after my arrival. I was
conducted one afternoon by Dr. Cassolani to one of the royal summer-
houses. The house was situated in a small garden, which was
surrounded by another larger one, both enclosed by very high walls.
In the outer garden there were, besides meadows and fruit trees,
nothing deserving of much notice, except a number of tents, in which
the military were encamped. The soldiers wore the usual Persian
dress, with the single exception that the officers on duty had a
sword, and the soldiers a musket. They only appear in uniform on
the most rare occasions, and then they are, in some respects, like
European soldiers.

Several eunuchs received us at the entrance of the small garden.
They conducted us to an unpretending looking house, one story high,
at the end of a field of flowers. I should never have looked for
the country seat of the successor to the Persian throne in this
house; but such it was. At the narrow entrance of the little house
were two small flights of stairs, one of which led to the reception-
room of the viceroy, the other to that of his wife. The doctor
entered the former and several female slaves took me to the
viceroy's wife. When I reached the top of the stairs, I took off my
shoes, and entered a small, comfortable room, the walls of which
consisted almost entirely of windows. The viceroy's wife, who was
only fifteen years of age, sat upon a plain easy chair, not far from
her stood a middle-aged woman, the duenna of the harem, and an easy
chair was placed for me opposite the princess.

I was fortunate enough to be remarkably well received. Dr.
Cassolani had described me as an authoress, adding that I intended
to publish the experiences of my journey. The princess inquired
whether I should mention her also, and when she was answered in the
affirmative, she determined to show herself in full dress, in order
to give me an idea of the gorgeous and costly dress of her country.

The young princess wore trousers of thick silk, which were so full
of plaits that they stood out stiff, like the hooped petticoats of
our good old times. These trousers are from twenty to five and
twenty yards wide, and reach down to the ankle. The upper part of
the body was covered as far as the hips by a bodice, which, however,
did not fit close to the body. The sleeves were long and narrow.
The corset resembled that of the time of the hooped petticoats; it
was made of thick silk, richly and tastefully embroidered round the
corners with coloured silk and gold. A very short white silk
chemise was to be seen under the corset. On her head she wore a
three-cornered white kerchief, extending in front round the face,
and fastened under the chin; behind, it fell down as far as the
shoulders. This kerchief was also very handsomely embroidered with
gold and silk. The jewellery consisted of precious stones and
pearls of great purity and size; but they had not much effect, as
they were not set in gold, but simply perforated and strung upon a
gold thread, which was fastened above the head kerchief, and came
down under the chin.

The princess had on black silk open-worked gloves, over which were
several finger rings. Round the wrists sparkled costly bracelets of
precious stones and pearls. On her feet she wore white silk
stockings.

She was not remarkably beautiful; her cheek bones were rather too
prominent; but altogether her appearance was very attractive. Her
eyes were large, handsome, and intellectual, her figure pretty, and
her age--fifteen years.

Her face was a very delicate white and red; and the eyebrows were
covered with blue streaks, which, in my opinion, rather disfigured
than adorned them. On the temple a little of her brilliant black
hair was to be seen.

Our conversation was carried on by signs. Dr. Cassolani, who spoke
Persian very well, was not allowed to cross the threshold today, and
the princess had received me, consequently, unveiled. During this
stupid interview, I found time enough to look at the distant view
from the windows. It was here that I first saw how extensive the
town was, and what an abundance of gardens it possessed. The latter
are, indeed, its peculiar ornament, for it contains no fine
buildings; and the large valley in which it lies, together with the
mountains round, are naked and barren, and present no attractions.
I expressed my surprise at the great size of the town and the number
of the gardens.

Towards the end of the audience, a quantity of fruits and sweetmeats
were brought, of which, however, I alone partook--it being fast
time.

Leaving the princess, I was conducted to her husband, the viceroy.
He was seventeen, and received me seated upon an easy chair at a
bow-window. I had to thank my character of authoress, that a chair
was placed ready for me. The walls of the large room were panelled
with wood, and ornamented with several mirrors, gilt-work, and oil-
paintings of heads and flowers. In the middle of the saloon stood
two large empty bedsteads.

The prince wore a European dress: trousers of fine white cloth,
with broad gold lace; a dark blue coat, the collar, facings, and
corners of which were richly embroidered with gold; white silk
gloves and stockings. His head was covered by a Persian fur cap
nearly a yard high. This is not, however, his ordinary dress; he is
said to change his mode of dressing oftener than his wife, and
sometimes to wear the Persian costume, sometimes to envelop himself
in cashmere shawls, as his fancy may be.

I should have supposed that he was at least twenty-two. He has a
pale, tawny complexion, and, altogether, no attractive, amiable, or
intellectual expression; never looks straightforward and openly at
you, and his glance is savage and repulsive. I pitied, in my mind,
all those who were his subjects. I would rather be the wife of a
poor peasant than his favourite princess.

The prince put several questions to me, which Dr. Cassolani, who
stood a few paces from us, interpreted. They were nothing
remarkable, chiefly common-places about my journey. The prince can
read and write in his mother tongue, and has, as I was told, some
idea of geography and history. He receives a few European
newspapers and periodicals from which the interpreter has to make
extracts, and read to him. His opinion of the great revolutions of
the time was, that the European monarchs might have been very good,
but they were most remarkably stupid to allow themselves to be so
easily driven from the throne. He considered that the result would
have been very different if they had had plenty of people strangled.
As far as regards execution and punishment, he far exceeds his
father; and, unfortunately, has no controlling minister at his side.
His government is said to be that of a child; one moment he orders
something to be done, and an hour afterwards countermands it. But
what can be expected from a youth of seventeen, who has received
little or no education; was married at fifteen, and, two years
afterwards, takes the unlimited control of a large province with a
revenue of a million tomans (500,000 pounds), and with every means
of gratifying his desires.

The prince has at present only one regular wife, although he is
allowed to have four; however, he has no scarcity of handsome female
friends. It is the custom in Persia, that when the king, or the
successor to the throne, hears that any one of his subjects has a
handsome daughter or sister, he demands her. The parents or
relations are greatly rejoiced at this command, for if the girl is
really handsome, she is, in any case, well provided for. If, after
some time, she no longer pleases the king or prince, she is married
to some minister or rich man; but, if she has a child, she is
immediately considered as the king's or prince's acknowledged wife,
and remains permanently at court. When, on the contrary, a girl
does not please the regent at first sight, her family are very much
disappointed, and consider themselves unfortunate. She is, in this
case, sent home again immediately, her reputation for beauty is
lost, and she has not, after this, much chance of making a good
match.

The princess is already a mother, but, unfortunately, only of a
daughter. She is, for the present, the chief wife of the prince,
because no other female has given birth to a son; but whoever brings
the first son into the world will then take her place: she will be
honoured as the mother of the heir to the throne. In consequence of
this custom, the children are unfortunately liable to the danger of
being poisoned; for any woman who has a child excites the envy of
all those who are childless; and this is more particularly the case
when the child is a boy. When the princess accompanied her husband
to Tebris, she left her little daughter behind, under the protection
of its grandfather, the Schach of Persia, in order to secure it from
her rivals.

When the viceroy rides out, he is preceded by several hundred
soldiers. They are followed by servants with large sticks, who call
upon the people to bow before the powerful ruler. The prince is
surrounded by officers, military, and servants, and the procession
is closed by more soldiers. The prince only is mounted, all the
rest are on foot.

The prince's wives are also permitted to ride out at times, but they
are obliged to be thickly veiled, and entirely surrounded by
eunuchs, several of whom hasten on before, to tell the people that
the wives of the monarch are on the road. Every one must then leave
the streets, and retire into the houses and bye-lanes.

The wives of the banished prince, Behmen, who were left behind,
learnt, through Dr. Cassolani, that I thought of going to Tiflis.
They requested me to visit them, that I might be able to tell the
prince that I had seen them and left them well. The doctor
conducted me into their presence. He had been the friend and
physician of the prince, who was not one of the fanatic class, and
allowed him the entree to the females.

Nothing very worthy of notice took place at this visit. The house
and garden were plain, and the women had wrapped themselves in large
mantles, as the doctor was present, some, indeed, covered a part of
their faces while speaking with him. Several of them were young,
although they all appeared older than they really were. One, who
was twenty-two, I should have taken to be at least thirty. A rather
plump dark beauty of sixteen was also introduced to me as the latest
addition to the harem. She had been bought at Constantinople only a
short time since. The women appeared to treat her with great good-
nature; they told me that they took considerable pains to teach her
Persian.

Among the children there was a remarkably beautiful girl of six,
whose pure and delicate countenance was fortunately not yet
disfigured by paint. This child, as well as the others, was dressed
in the same way as the women; and I remarked that the Persian dress
was really, as I had been told, rather indecorous. The corset fell
back at every quick movement; the silk or gauze chemise, which
scarcely reached over the breast, dragged up so high that the whole
body might be seen as far as the loins. I observed the same with
the female servants, who were engaged in making tea or other
occupations; every motion disarranged their dress.

My visit to Haggi-Chefa-Hanoum, one of the principal and most-
cultivated women in Tebris, was far more interesting. Even at the
entrance of the court-yard and house, the presence of a well-
regulating mind might be perceived. I had never seen so much
cleanliness and taste in any Oriental house. I should have taken
the court-yard for the garden, if I had not afterwards seen the
latter from the windows. The gardens here are, indeed, inferior to
ours, but are magnificent when compared with those at Baghdad. They
have flowers, rows of vines and shrubs, and between the fruit-trees
pleasant basins of water and luxuriant grass-plots.

The reception-room was very large and lofty; the front and back (of
which the former looked out into the court-yard, the latter into the
garden), consisted of windows, the panes of which were in very small
six and eight-sided pieces, framed in gilded wood; on the door-posts
there was also some gilding. The floor was covered with carpeting;
and at the place where the mistress of the house sat, another piece
of rich carpet was laid over. In Persia, there are no divans, but
only thick round pillows for leaning upon.

Intimation had previously been given of my visit. I found a large
party of women and young girls assembled, who had probably been
attracted here by their curiosity to see a European woman. Their
dress was costly, like that of the princess, but there was a
difference in the jewellery. Several among them were very handsome,
although they had rather broad foreheads, and too prominent cheek-
bones. The most charming features of the Persians are their eyes,
which are remarkable, as well for their size as their beautiful form
and animated expression. Of course, there was no want of paint on
their skins and eye-brows.

This party of women was the most agreeable and unconstrained that I
ever found in Oriental houses. I was able to converse in French
with the mistress of the house, by the help of her son, of about
eighteen, who had received an excellent education in Constantinople.
Not only the son, but also the mother and the other women, were read
and well-informed. Dr. Cassolani, moreover, assured me that the
girls of rich families could nearly all read and write. They are,
in this respect, far in advance of the Turks.

The mistress of the house, her son, and myself, sat upon chairs, the
rest squatted down on carpets round us. A table, the first that I
had seen in a Persian house, was covered with a handsome cloth, and
set out with the most magnificent fruits, sherbets, and various
delicacies, which had been prepared by my host herself; among the
sweetmeats were sugared almonds and fruits, which not only appeared
inviting, but tasted deliciously.

The sweet melons and peaches were just in their prime during my stay
at Tebris. They were so delicious, that it may well be said Persia
is their native country. The melons have more frequently a whitish,
or greenish, than a yellow pulp. They may be eaten entirely, with
the exception of the outermost thin rind; and, if it were possible
for anything to exceed sugar in sweetness, it would be these melons.
The peaches are also juicy, sweet, and aromatic.

Before leaving Tebris, I must say a few words about the people. The
complexion of the common men is rather more than sunburnt; among the
upper classes, white is the prevailing colour of the skin. They all
have black hair and eyes. Their figures are tall and powerful, the
features very marked--especially the nose--and the look rather wild.
The women, both of the upper and lower classes, are uncommonly
thickly veiled when they go out. The better-dressed men wear, out
of doors, a very long mantle of dark cloth with slashed sleeves,
which reach to the ground; a girdle or shawl surrounds their waist,
and their head-dress consists of a pointed black fur cap more than a
foot high, which is made of the skins of unborn sheep. The women of
the labouring class do not appear to have much to do; during my
journey, I saw only a few at work in the fields, and I noticed also
in the town that all the hard work is done by the men.

In Tebris, as well as throughout the whole of Persia, the Jews,
semi-Mahomedans, and Christians, are intolerably hated. Three
months since, the Jews and Christians in Tebris were in great
danger. Several crowds of people gathered together and marched
through the quarter where these people dwelt, when they commenced
plundering and destroying the houses, threatening the inhabitants
with death, and, in some cases, even putting their threats into
execution. Fortunately, this horrible proceeding was immediately
made known to the governor of the town; and he, being a brave and
determined man, lost not a moment's time even to throw his kaftan
over his house-dress, but hastened out into the midst of the crowd,
and succeeded, by means of a powerful speech, in dispersing the
people.

On arriving at Tebris, I expressed my desire to continue my journey
from here to Tiflis by way of Natschivan and Erivan. It appeared at
first that there was not much hope of its possibility, as, since the
late political disturbances in Europe, the Russian government, like
the Chinese, had strictly prohibited the entrance of any foreigners;
however, Mr. Stevens promised to make use of all his power with the
Russian consul, Mr. Anitschow, in my favour. I was indebted to
this, together with my sex and age, for being made an exception. I
received from the Russian consul not only the permission, but also
several kind letters of introduction to people at Natschivan,
Erivan, and Tiflis.

I was advised to ride from Tebris to Natschivan with post-horses,
and to take a servant with me as far as that place. I did so, and
commenced my journey at 9 o'clock in the morning of the 11th of
August. Several gentlemen, whose acquaintance I had made in Tebris,
accompanied me about a mile out of the town, and we encamped on the
bank of a beautiful little river, and partook of a cold breakfast.
Then I began my journey alone, indeed, but composedly and with good
courage, for now I thought I was entering a Christian country,
beneath the sceptre of a civilized, European, law and order-loving
monarch.

CHAPTER XXII. ASIATIC RUSSIA--ARMENIA, GEORGIA, AND MINGRELIA.

SOPHIA--MARAND--THE RUSSIAN FRONTIER--NATSCHIVAN--JOURNEY OF THE
CARAVAN--A NIGHT'S IMPRISONMENT--CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNEY--
ERIVAN--THE RUSSIAN POST--THE TARTARS--ARRIVAL IN TIFLIS--SOJOURN
THERE--CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNEY--KUTAIS--MARAND--TRIP ON THE
RIBON--REDUTKALE.

11th August. The stations between Tebris and Natschivan are very
irregular; one of the longest, however, is the first--namely, to the
village of Sophia, which occupied us six hours. The road lay
through valleys, which were, for the most part, barren and
uninhabited.

As it was already 3 o'clock when we reached Sophia, the people there
endeavoured to prevent me from going any further. They pointed to
the sun, and at the same time signified that I might be attacked by
robbers, plundered, and even murdered; but such statements had no
influence with me; and after I had with great trouble ascertained
that it would only require four hours to reach the next station, I
determined to continue my journey; and to the vexation of my
servant, whom I had engaged as far as Natschivan, ordered him to
saddle fresh horses.

Immediately after leaving Sophia, we entered barren, rocky valleys,
which my guide represented as being very dangerous, and which I
should not have liked to pass at night; but as the sun was shining
in full splendour, I urged on my horse, and amused myself by looking
at the beautiful colours and grouping of the rocks. Some were of a
glittering pale green; others covered with a whitish, half
transparent substance; others again terminated in numerous oddly
formed angles, and from the distance looked like beautiful groups of
trees. There was so much to see that I really had no time to think
of fear.

About half-way lay a pretty little village in a valley, and beyond
it rose a steep mountain, on the summit of which a charming prospect
of mountain country kept me gazing for a long while.

We did not reach Marand till nearly 8 o'clock; but still with our
heads, necks, and baggage, all safe.

Marand lies in a fertile valley, and is the last Persian town which
I saw, and one of the most agreeable and handsome. It has broad,
clean streets, houses in good repair, and several small squares with
beautiful springs, which are, moreover, surrounded by trees.

My shelter for the night was not so good as the town promised: I
was obliged to share the court with the post-horses. My supper
consisted of some roasted and very salt eggs.

12th August. Our journey for today was as far as Arax, on the
Russian frontier. Although only one stage, it took us eleven hours.
We followed the course of a small brook, which wound through barren
valleys and ravines; not a single village lay on our road; and with
the exception of some little mills and the ruins of a mosque, I saw
no more buildings in Persia. Persia is, on the whole, very thinly
populated, on account of the scarcity of water. No country in the
world has more mountains, and fewer rivers, than Persia. The air
is, on this account, very dry and hot.

The valley in which Arax is situated is large, and the extraordinary
formation of the mountains and rocks renders it very picturesque.
In the extreme distance rise lofty mountains, of which Ararat is
more than 16,000 feet in height, and in the valley itself there are
numerous rocky elevations. The principal of these, a beautiful
sharp rocky cone, of at least 1,000 feet in height, is called the
Serpent Mountain.

The river Aras flows close to the headland. It separates Armenia
from Media, has a terrible fall, and high waves. It here forms the
boundary between the Russian and Persian dominions. We crossed in a
boat. On the opposite side of the river were several small houses
where travellers are obliged to stop and prove that they are not
robbers, and especially that they are not politically dangerous.
Occasionally they are detained in quarantine for some time, when the
plague or cholera happens to be prevalent in Persia.

A letter from the Russian consul at Tebris ensured me a very
courteous reception; from the quarantine I was saved, as there was
no plague or cholera. I had, however, scarcely set my foot upon
Russian ground, when the impudent begging for drink-money began.
The officer had among his people a Cossack, who represented himself
as understanding German, and he was sent to me to ask what I wished
for. The rogue knew about as much German as I did Chinese--hardly
three or four words. I therefore signified to him that I did not
require his services, in spite of which he held out his hand,
begging for money.

13th August. I left Arax betimes in the morning, in company with a
customs' officer, and rode to the town of Natschivan, which lies in
a large valley, surrounded by the lofty mountains of Ararat. The
country here is fertile, but there are very few trees.

I never had so much trouble to obtain shelter in any place as in
this. I had two letters, one to a German physician, the other to
the governor. I did not wish to go to the latter in my travelling
dress, as I was again among cultivated people, who are accustomed to
judge of you by your dress, and there was no inn. I therefore
intended to ask accommodation in the doctor's house. I showed the
address, which was written in the native language, to several people
to read, that they might point out the house to me; but they all
shook their heads, and let me go on. At last I came to the custom-
house, where my little luggage was immediately taken possession of,
and myself conducted to the inspector. He spoke a little German,
but paid no regard to my request. He told me to go into the custom-
house, and unlock my portmanteau.

The inspector's wife and sister accompanied me. I was much
astonished at this politeness, but found, however, too soon that
other reasons had induced them to come--both the ladies wished to
see what I had brought with me. They had chairs brought, and took
their places before my portmanteau, which was opened, when three
pair of hands were thrust in. A number of papers folded together,
coins, dried flowers, and other objects, obtained from Nineveh, were
instantly seized hold of, and thrown about; every ribbon, every cap,
was taken out; and it was clearly perceptible that the inspector's
wife had some difficulty in parting with them again.

After this was sufficiently examined, a common box, which contained
my greatest treasure, a small relief from Nineveh, was brought
forward. One of the men took hold of a heavy wooden axe, for the
purpose of striking off the lid. This was rather too much for me,
and I would not allow it. To my great satisfaction, a German woman
came in just at this moment. I told her what was in the box, and
that I did not object to its being opened, although I wished them to
do it carefully with a chisel and pincers; but, strange to say,
there were no such tools in the place, although they were wanted
daily. I at last succeeded in persuading them to break off the lid
with care. Notwithstanding the anxiety I was in, I could not help
laughing at the foolish faces which both the women and the customs'
officer made when they saw the fragments of brick from Babylon, and
the somewhat damaged Ninevite head. They could not at all
comprehend why I should carry such objects with me.

The German woman, Henriette Alexandwer, invited me to take coffee
with her; and when she heard of my perplexity with respect to a
lodging, she offered me a room in her house. On the following day,
I visited the governor, who received me very politely, and
overpowered me with favours,--I was obliged to move into his house
directly. He attended to my passport, and obtained all the
necessary vises, of which I required half a dozen since entering the
Christian dominions, and made an agreement for me with some Tartars,
whose caravan was going to Tiflis. I then looked round the
miserable half-ruined town with the good Mrs. Alexandwer, and saw
Noah's monument.

According to Persian accounts, Natschivan is said to have been one
of the largest and handsomest towns of Armenia; and Armenian writers
affirm that Noah was the founder. The modern town is built quite in
the Oriental style; only a few of the houses have the windows and
doors turned towards the streets; generally the front faces the
small garden. The dress of the people is also rather like the
Persian, but the officials, merchants, etc., wear European costume.

Nothing more remains of Noah's sepulchre than a small arched
chamber, without a cupola. It appears to have been formerly covered
with one, but it is not possible to decide from the few ruins that
now remain. In the interior, neither a sarcophagus nor grave are to
be seen; a single brick pillar stands in the centre, and supports
the roof. The whole is surrounded by a low wall. Many pilgrims
come here, Mahomedans as well as Christians; and both sects
entertain the remarkable belief, that if they press a stone into the
wall while thinking of something at the same time, and the stone
remains sticking to the wall, that their thoughts are either true or
will come to pass, and the reverse when the stone does not adhere.
The truth of the matter is, however, simply this: the cement or
mortar is always rather moist, and if a smooth stone is pushed a
little upwards while being pressed, it remains hanging; if it is
only pressed horizontally, it falls off again.

Not far from Noah's tomb stands another very handsome monument;
unfortunately I could not learn to whose memory it was erected, or
to what age it belonged. It consists of a high building, resembling
a tower with twelve angles; the walls between the angles are
covered, from top to bottom, with the most artistic mathematical
figures in triangles and sexagons, and some places are inlaid with
glazed tiles. The monument is surrounded by a wall, forming a small
court-yard; at the entrance-gates stand half-ruined towers, like
minarets.

17th August. I felt very unwell today, which was the more
unpleasant, as the caravan started in the evening. For several days
I had been unable to take any food, and suffered from excessive
lassitude. Nevertheless I left my rest, and mounted my caravan nag;
I thought that change of air would be the best restorative.

Fortunately we went only a short distance beyond the city gate, and
remained there during the night and the following day. We did not
proceed any further until the evening of the 18th of August. The
caravan only conveyed goods, and the drivers were Tartars. The
journey from Natschivan to Tiflis is generally made in from twelve
to fourteen days; but with my caravan, to judge from the progress we
made at the commencement, it would have occupied six weeks, for on
the first day we went scarcely any distance, and on the second, very
little more than the first; I should have travelled quicker on foot.

19th August. It is really unbearable. During the whole day we lay
in waste stubble-fields, exposed to the most scorching heat, and did
not mount our horses until 9 o'clock in the evening; about an hour
afterwards we halted, and encamped. The only thing good about this
caravan was the food. The Tartars do not live so frugally as the
Arabs. Every evening an excellent pillau was made with good-tasting
fat, frequently with dried grapes or plums. Almost every day
beautiful water and sugar-melons were brought to us to buy. The
sellers, mostly Tartars, always selected a small lot and offered it
to me as a present.

The road led continually through large, fertile valleys round the
foot of Ararat. Today I saw the majestic mountain very clearly, and
in tolerable proximity. I should think we were not more than two or
three miles from it. It seemed, from its magnitude, as if separated
from the other mountains, and standing alone; but it is in fact,
connected with the chain of Taurus by a low range of hills. Its
highest summit is divided in such a way that between two peaks there
is a small plain, on which it is said that Noah's ark was left after
the deluge. There are people who affirm that it would still be
found there if the snow could be removed.

In the more recent treatises on geography, the height of Ararat is
given as 16,000 feet; in the older ones, as 11,000. The Persians
and Armenians call this mountain Macis; the Grecian writers describe
it as a part of the Taurus range. Ararat is quite barren, and
covered above with perpetual snow; lower down lies the cloister,
Arakilvank, at the place where Noah is said to have taken up his
first abode.

20th August. We encamped in the neighbourhood of the village Gadis.
Many commentators of the Scriptures place the garden of Eden in the
Armenian province of Ararat. In any case, Armenia has been the
scene of most important events. Nowhere have so many bloody battles
taken place as in this country, as all the great conquerors of Asia
have brought Armenia under their control.

21st August. We still continued near Ararat; meanwhile we passed by
Russian and German colonies, the houses in the latter had exactly
the appearance of those in German mountain villages. The road was,
throughout, very uneven and stony, and I cannot imagine how the post
can travel upon it.

Today I met with another very unpleasant adventure. My caravan
encamped in the neighbourhood of the station Sidin, about fifty
paces from the side of the post-road. Towards 8 in the evening I
walked out as far as the road, and as I was about to return I heard
the sound of post-horses coming; I remained in the road to see the
travellers, and noticed a Russian, seated in an open car, and by his
side a Cossack, with a musket. When the vehicle had passed, I
turned quietly round; but, to my astonishment, heard it stop, and
felt myself, almost at the same moment, seized forcibly by the arms.
It was the Cossack who held me, and endeavoured to drag me to the
car. I tried to release myself, pointed to the caravan, and said
that I belonged to it. The fellow immediately stopped my mouth with
his hand, and threw me into the car, where I was tightly held by the
other man. The Cossack immediately jumped up, and the driver urged
his horses on as quickly as they could go. The whole was done so
quickly that I scarcely knew what had happened to me. The men held
me tightly by the arms, and my mouth was kept covered up until we
were so far from the caravan that the people belonging to it could
no longer have heard my cries.

Fortunately I was not frightened; I thought at once that these two
amiable Russians might, in their zeal, have taken me for a very
dangerous person, and have supposed they had made a very important
capture. When they uncovered my mouth, they commenced questioning
me as to my native country, name, etc. I understood enough Russian
to give them this information, but they were not satisfied with
that, and required to see my passport; I told them that they must
send for my portmanteau, and then I would show them that I had
permission to travel.

We came, at last, to the post-house, where I was taken into a room;
the Cossack placed himself with his musket under the open door, so
as to keep his eye continually on me; and the other man, who, from
his dark-green velvet facings, I supposed to be one of the Emperor's
officers, remained some time in the room. At the end of half an
hour, the post-master, or whoever he was, came to examine me, and to
hear an account of the achievements of my captors, who hastened,
with laughing countenances, to give a complete statement of what had
happened.

I was obliged to pass the night, under strict guard, upon a wooden
bench, without either a wrapper or a mantle with me, and suffering
from hunger and thirst. They neither gave me a coverlet nor a piece
of bread; and when I merely rose from the bench to walk up and down
the room, the Cossack rushed in immediately, seized my arms, and led
me back to the bench, telling me, at the same time, that I must
remain there quietly.

Towards morning they brought me my luggage, when I showed them my
papers, and was set at liberty. Instead, however, of apologizing
for having treated me in such a way, they laughed at me; and when I
came out into the court, every one pointed at me with their fingers,
and joined my gaolers in their laughter. Oh! you good Turks, Arabs,
Persians, Hindoos, or whatever else you may be called, such
treatment was never shown to me amongst you! How pleasantly have I
always taken leave of all your countries; how attentively I was
treated at the Persian frontiers, when I would not understand that
my passport was required, and here, in a Christian empire, how much
incivility have I had to bear during this short journey!

On the 22nd of August I rejoined my caravan, where I was received
with cordiality.

23rd August. The country still presented the same features; one
large valley succeeding another. These valleys are less cultivated
than those in Persia; today, however, I saw one which was tolerably
well planted, and in which the villagers had even planted trees
before their huts.

24th August. Station Erivan. I was happy to have reached this
town, as I hoped to meet with some of my country-people here, and,
by their help, to find a quicker mode of conveyance to Tiflis. I
was determined to leave the caravan, since we did not go more than
four hours a day.

I had two letters; one to the town physician, the other to the
governor. The latter was in the country; Dr. Muller, however,
received me so well that I could not possibly have been better taken
care of.

Erivan {305} is situated on the river Zengui, and is the capital of
Armenia; it contains about 17,000 inhabitants, and is built upon low
hills, in a large plain, surrounded on all sides with mountains.
The town has some fortified walls. Although the European mode of
architecture already begins to predominate greatly, this town is by
no means to be reckoned among either the handsome or cleanly ones.
I was most amused by the bazaars, not on account of their contents,
for these do not present any remarkable features, but because I
always saw there different, and for the most part unknown, national
costumes. There were Tartars, Cossacks, Circassians, Georgians,
Mingrelians, Turkonians, Armenians, etc.; chiefly powerful, handsome
people, with fine expressive features--particularly the Tartars and
Circassians. Their dress partly resembled the Persian; indeed that
of the Tartars differed from it only by points to the boots, and a
less lofty cap. The points on the boots are frequently as much as
four inches long, and turned inward and towards the end; the caps
are also pointed, and made of black fur, but not more than half as
high. Very few of the women of these tribes are seen in the
streets, and those are enveloped in wrappers; nevertheless, they do
not veil their faces.

The Russians and the Cossacks have stupid coarse features, and their
behaviour corresponds completely to what their appearance indicates;
I never met with a people so covetous, coarse, and slavish as they
are. When I asked about anything, they either gave me a surly
answer, or none at all, or else laughed in my face. This rudeness
would not, perhaps, have appeared so remarkable if I had come from
Europe.

It had already been my intention in Natschivan to travel with the
Russian post; but I had been dissuaded from doing so, as I was
assured that, as a solitary woman, I should not be able to agree
with the people. However, here I was determined to do so, and I
requested Dr. Muller to make the necessary preparations for me.

In order to travel in Russia by the post, it is necessary to procure
a padroschne (certificate of permission), which is only to be had in
a town where there are several grades of officials, as this
important document requires to be taken to six of the number. 1st,
to the treasurer; 2nd, to the police (of course with the passport,
certificate of residence, etc.); 3rd, to the commandant; 4th, again
to the police; 5th, again to the treasurer; and 6th, to the police
again. In the padroschne an accurate account must be given of how
far the traveller wishes to go, as the postmaster dare not proceed a
single werst beyond the station named. Finally, a half kopec (half
kreutzer), must be paid per werst for each horse. This at first
does not appear much; but is, nevertheless, a considerable tax, when
it is remembered that seven wersts are only equal to a geographical
mile, and that three horses are always used.

On the 26th of August, about 4 in the morning, the post was to have
been at the house; but it struck 6, and there was still no
appearance of it. If Dr. Muller had not been so kind as to go
there, I should not have started until the evening. About 7, I got
off--an excellent foretaste of my future progress.

We travelled certainly with speed; but any one who had not a body of
iron, or a well-cushioned spring carriage, would not find this very
agreeable, and would certainly prefer to travel slower upon these
uneven, bad roads.

The post carriage, for which ten kopecs a station is paid, is
nothing more than a very short, wooden, open car, with four wheels.
Instead of a seat, some hay is laid in it, and there is just room
enough for a small chest, upon which the driver sits. These cars
naturally jolt very much. There is nothing to take hold of, and it
requires some care to avoid being thrown out. The draught consists
of three horses abreast; over the centre one a wooden arch is fixed,
on which hang two or three bells, which continually made a most
disagreeable noise. In addition to this, imagine the rattling of
the carriage, and the shouting of the driver, who is always in great
activity urging on the poor animals, and it may be easily understood
that, as is often the case, the carriage arrives at the station
without the travellers.

The division of the stations is very irregular, varying from
fourteen to thirty wersti. Between the second and third stations, I
passed over a very short space of ground, where I found a kind of
lava, exactly resembling the beautiful, brilliant, glassy lava of
Iceland (black agate, also called obsidian), which was stated to be
found in that island only. The second stage led through a newly-
erected Russian village, extending to Lake Liman.

August 27th. Today I had another evidence of the pleasure of
travelling by the Russian post. On the previous evening I had
ordered and paid for everything before-hand; yet I was obliged in
the morning to awaken the post officers myself, as well as to see
after the driver, and to be constantly about among the people, in
order to get away. At the third station I was kept waiting three
hours for the horses; at the fourth they gave me none, and I was
obliged to stay all night, although I had gone only fifty-five
wersti the whole day.

The character of the country changes before reaching Delischan: the
valleys contract to narrow gorges, and the mountains seldom leave
space for small villages and plots of ground. The naked masses of
rock cease, and luxuriant woods cover the heights.

Near Pipis, the last stage that I went today, beautiful cliffs and
rocks rose close to the post-road, many of them presenting the
appearance of enormous columns.

August 28th. Continual trouble with the post people. I am the
greatest enemy of scolding and harsh treatment; but I should have
best liked to have spoken to these people with a stick. No idea can
be formed of their stupidity, coarseness, and want of feeling.
Officers, as well as servants, are frequently found at all hours of
the day sleeping or drunk. In this state they do as they please,
will not stir from their places, and even laugh in the faces of the
unfortunate travellers. By the aid of much quarrelling and noise,
one is at last induced to drag out the car, a second to grease it,
another baits the horses, which have often to be harnessed, then the
straps are not in order, and must be first fastened and repaired;
and innumerable other things of this kind, which are done with the
greatest tardiness. When, afterwards, in the towns I expressed my
disapprobation of these wretched post establishments, I received as
answer that these countries had been too short a time under Russian
dominion, that the imperial city was too far distant, and that I, as
a single woman without servants, might consider myself fortunate in
having got through as I had.

I did not know what reply to make to this, except that in the most
recently acquired colonial possessions of the English, which are
still farther from the capital, everything is excellently arranged;
and that there a woman without servants was as quickly attended to
as a gentleman, since they find her money not less acceptable than
that of the latter. The case is very different, however, at a
Russian post station; when an official or officer comes, every one
is active enough, cringing round the watering-place for fear of
flogging or punishment. Officers and officials belong, in Russia,
to the privileged class, and assume all kinds of despotism. If, for
example, they do not travel on duty, they should not, according to
the regulations, have any greater advantages than private
travellers. But, instead of setting a good example, and showing the
mass of the people that the laws and regulations must be observed,
it is precisely these people who set all laws at defiance. They
send a servant forward or borrow one from their fellow-travellers,
to the station to announce that on such a day they shall arrive, and
will require eight or twelve horses. If any hindrance occurs during
this time--a hunt or a dinner--or if the wife of the traveller has a
headache or the cramp, they postpone the journey without any ado to
another day or two; the horses stand constantly ready, and the
postmaster dare not venture to give them to private travellers.
{308} It may so happen that travellers have in such a case to wait
one or even two days at a station, and do not get through their
journey quicker by the post than by a caravan. In the course of my
journey by the Russian post, I several times went only a single
stage during a whole long day. When I saw an uniform I was always
in dread, and made up my mind that I should have no horses.

In each post-house, there are one or two rooms for travellers, and a
married Cossack in charge, who, together with his wife, attends to
strangers, and cooks for them. No charge is made for the room, the
first comer is entitled to it. These attendants are as obliging as
the stable people, and it is often difficult to procure with money a
few eggs, milk, or anything of the kind.

The journey through Persia was dangerous; that through Asiatic
Russia, however, was so troublesome, that I would prefer the former
under any circumstances.

From Pipis the country again diminishes in beauty: the valleys
expand, the mountains become lower, and both are frequently without
trees, and barren.

I met, today, several nomadic parties of Tartars. The people sat
upon oxen and horses, and others were loaded with their tents and
household utensils; the cows and sheep, of which there were always a
great number, were driven by the side. The Tartar women were mostly
richly clothed, and also very ragged. Their dress consisted almost
entirely of deep red silk, which was often even embroidered with
gold. They wore wide trousers, a long kaftan, and a shorter one
over that; on the head a kind of bee-hive, called schaube, made of
the bark of trees, painted red and ornamented with tinsel, coral,
and small coins. From the breast to the girdle their clothes were
also covered with similar things, over the shoulders hung a cord
with an amulet in the nose, they wore small rings. They had large
wrappers thrown round them; but left their faces uncovered.

Their household goods consisted of tents, handsome rugs, iron pots,
copper coins, etc. The Tartars are mostly of the Mahomedan
religion.

The permanent Tartars have very peculiar dwellings, which may be
called enormous mole-hills. Their villages are chiefly situated on
declivities, and hills, in which they dig holes of the size of
spacious rooms. The light falls only through the entrance, or
outlet. This is broader than it is high, and is protected by a long
and broad portico of planks, resting either upon beams or the stems
of trees. Nothing is more comical than to see such a village,
consisting of nothing but these porticoes, and neither windows,
doors, nor walls.

Those who dwell in the plains make artificial mounds of earth, and
build their huts of stone or wood. They then throw earth over them,
which they stamp down tightly, so that the huts themselves cannot be
seen at all. Until within the last sixty years, it is said that
many such dwellings were to be seen in the town of Tiflis.

29th August. This morning I had still one stage of twenty-four
wersti ere I reached Tiflis. The road was, as everywhere else, full
of holes, ruts and stones. I was obliged always to tie a
handkerchief tightly round my head, to ease the jolting; and still,
I was every day attacked with headache. Today, however, I learnt
the full nuisance of these carriages. It had rained, not only
during the whole night, but still continued so. The wheels threw up
such masses of mud, that I soon sat in a thick puddle, I was covered
even over the head, and my face did not escape. Small boards
hanging over the wheels would have easily remedied this
inconvenience; but none trouble themselves in this country about the
comfort of travellers.

Tiflis comes in sight during the latter half of the stage. The
prospect of the town charmed me much; as, with the exception of a
few church towers, it was built in the European style; and, since
Valparaiso, I had not seen any town resembling the European. Tiflis
contains 50,000 inhabitants, it is the capital of Georgia, {309} and
is situated tolerably near the mountains. Many of the houses are
built on hills, on high steep rocks. From some of the hills there
is a beautiful view of the town and valley. The latter, at the time
of my visit, was not very attractive, as the harvest had deprived it
of all the charms of colour; there were also but few gardens, etc.
On the other hand, the river Kurry (generally called Cyrus) winds in
graceful curves through the town and valley, and in the far distance
sparkle the snow-crowned summits of the Caucasus. A strong citadel,
Naraklea, is situated upon steep rocks, immediately before the town.

The houses are large, and tastefully ornamented with facades and
columns, and covered with sheet iron or bricks. The Erivanski Place
is very handsome. Among the buildings the Palace of the governor,
the Greek and Armenian seminaries, and several barracks are
conspicuous. The large theatre, in the centre of the Erivanski
Place, was not then finished. It is evident that the old town must
give place to the new one. Everywhere houses are being pulled down,
and new ones built; the narrow streets will soon only be known by
tradition, and the only remains of the Oriental architecture, are
the Greek and Armenian houses. The churches are far inferior in
splendour and magnitude to the other buildings; the towers are low,
round, and generally covered with green glazed tiles. The oldest
Christian church stands upon a high rock in the fortress, and is
used only for the prisoners.

The bazaars and chan present no features worthy of notice; moreover,
there are already here, as in all European towns, shops and stores
in all the streets. Several wide bridges are thrown over the Kurry.
The town contains numerous warm sulphuretted springs, from which,
indeed, it derives its name: Tiflis or Ibilissi, meaning "warm
town." Unfortunately, the greater number of the many baths are in
the worst condition. The buildings, within which the springs are
enclosed, are surmounted by small cupolas with windows. The
reservoirs, the floor, and walls, are for the most part covered with
large stone slabs; very little marble is to be seen. There are
private and public baths, and men are not allowed to enter the
buildings where the women assemble; however, they are not nearly so
strict here as in the East. The gentleman who was so kind as to
accompany me to one of these baths, was permitted to come into the
anteroom, although it was separated from the bathing-place only by a
simple wooden partition.

Not far from the baths lies the Botanic Garden, which has been laid
out, at great expense, on the declivity of a mountain. The
terraces, which had to be artificially cut, are supported by masonry
and filled with earth. Why such an unsuitable place was chosen I
cannot imagine; the less so as I saw only a few rare plants and
shrubs, and everywhere nothing but grape-vines; I fancied myself in
a vineyard. The most remarkable things in this garden are two vine-
stocks, whose stems were each a foot in diameter. They are so
extended in groves and long rows that they form pleasant walks.
More than a thousand flasks of wine are annually obtained from these
two vines.

A large grotto has been excavated in one of the upper terraces whose
whole front side is open, and forms a high-arched hall. In the fine
summer evenings there is music, dancing, and even theatrical
performances.

On Sundays and festivals the pretty gardens of the governor are
opened to the public. There are swings and winding-paths, and two
bands of music. The music executed by the Russian military was not
so good as that which I heard by the blacks in Rio Janeiro.

When I visited the Armenian Church, the corpse of a child had just
been laid out. It was in a costly open bier, covered with red
velvet and richly ornamented with gold lace. The corpse was strewed
over with flowers, decorated with a crown, and covered with fine
white gauze. The priests, in sumptuous robes, conducted the funeral
ceremonies, which were very similar to the Catholic. The poor
mother, at whose side I accidentally happened to kneel, sobbed
loudly when preparations were made to carry away the dear remains.
I also could not restrain my tears: I wept not for the death of the
child, but for the deep grief of the afflicted parent.

Leaving this place of mourning, I visited some Greek and Armenian
families. I was received in spacious rooms, which were fitted up in
the most simple manner. Along the walls stood painted wooden
benches partly covered with rugs. On these benches the people sit,
eat, and sleep. The women wear Grecian dresses.

European and Asiatic costumes are seen so frequently together in the
streets, that neither the one nor the other appears peculiar. The
greatest novelty to me, in this respect, was the Circassian dress.
It consists of wide trousers, short coats full of folds, with narrow
sashes, and breast pockets for from six to ten cartridges; tight
half-boots, with points turned inwards, and close-fitting fur caps.
The more wealthy wore coats of fine dark-blue cloth, and the edges
were ornamented with silver.

The Circassians are distinguished from all other Caucasian people by
their beauty. The men are tall, have very regular features and
great ease in their motions. The women are of a more delicate
build; their skin is whiter, their hair dark, their features
regular, their figures slender, with their busts well developed: in
the Turkish harems they are considered the greatest beauties. I
must confess, however, that I have seen many handsomer women in the
Persian harems than in the Turkish, even when they contained
Circassians.

The Asiatic women, when in the streets here, wrap themselves in
large white mantles; many cover the mouth as well, and some few the
remainder of the face.

Of the domestic life of the Russian officials and officers I cannot
say much. I had, indeed, a letter to the chancellor director, Herr
von Lille, and to the governor, Herr von Jermaloff; but both
gentlemen were not much pleased with me--my free expression of
opinion, perhaps, did not suit them. I made no scruple of speaking
my mind with regard to the ill-regulated posting establishments, and
the miserable roads. I, moreover, related my imprisonment, with a
few comments; and, what crowned all, I said that I had intended to
have gone on from here across the Caucasus to Moscow and
Petersburgh, but that I had been completely deterred from doing so
by my short experience of travelling in the country, and would take
the shortest road to get beyond the frontier as soon as possible.
If I had been a man and had spoken so, I should probably have been
treated with a temporary residence in Siberia.

Herr von Lille, however, always received me with politeness when I
called on him for the purpose of having my passport prepared. The
governor did not treat me with a like consideration; first he put me
off from one day to another, then it pleased the mighty man to pass
two days in the country. When he came back, it was a Sunday; on
which day such a great work could not possibly be done, and so I did
not obtain my passport until the sixth day.

Thus it fared with me, who was provided with letters to the chief
officers,--how do poor people come off? I heard, indeed, that they
are often kept waiting two or three weeks.

The viceroy, Prince Woronzou, was unfortunately not in Tiflis at the
time. I regretted his absence the more, as I everywhere heard him
represented as an educated, just, and extremely amiable man.

Far pleasanter than these visits to the Russian governor was that to
the Persian Prince Behmen Mirza, to whom I brought letters and
intelligence from his family, who were remaining in Tebris.
Although he was ill at the time, nevertheless he received me. I was
conducted into a large saloon, a complete hospital for eight sick
persons: the prince, four of his children, and three wives, laid
there upon rugs and cushions. They all suffered from fever. The
prince was a remarkably handsome and powerful man of five and
thirty; his full eyes were expressive of intelligence and goodness.
He spoke with great regret of his fatherland; a smile of painful
delight played round his features when I mentioned his children,
{312} and related how safely and well I had travelled through those
provinces which, but a short time before, had been under his
control. What a happiness would it be for Persia if such a man as
this was to come to the throne instead of the young viceroy.

The most interesting, and, at the same time, useful acquaintance
which I made was that of Herr Salzmann, a German. This gentleman
possesses considerable knowledge of agriculture, and more than all,
a singularly good heart; he interests himself for all kinds of
people, and more especially his own countrymen. Wherever I
mentioned his name, people spoke of him with true respect. He had
just received a decoration from the Russian government, although he
was not in their service.

Herr Salzmann has built a very handsome house, with every possible
convenience for the reception of travellers; besides this he owns a
large fruit-garden, ten wersti distant from the town, in the
neighbourhood of which are some naphtha springs. When he found that
I wished to see these he immediately invited me to join a party to
visit them. The springs are situated very near to the Kurry.
Square pits, about twenty-five fathoms deep, are dug, and the
naphtha is dipped out by means of wooden buckets. This naphtha,
however, is of the commonest kind, of a dark brown colour, and
thicker than oil. Asphalte, cart-grease, etc., are made from it.
The fine white naphtha, which can be used for lighting and fuel, is
peculiar to the Caspian Sea.

A walk to the Chapel of David, which lies upon a hill immediately in
front of the town, repays the trouble. Besides the lovely country,
there is to be seen here a fine monument erected in memory of the
Russian ambassador, Gribojetof, who was murdered in Persia on the
occasion of a revolt. A cross, at the foot of which lies his
mourning wife, is very artistically cast in metal.

On Monday, the 5th of September, I received my passport, about 11
o'clock; I ordered the post carriage an hour afterwards. Herr
Salzmann proposed that I should visit some German settlements, which
were situated at about ten or twenty wersti from Tiflis, and offered
to accompany me there; but I had not much inclination to do so, more
particularly as I had heard everywhere that the settlers had already
much degenerated, and that idleness, fraud, dirt, drunkenness, etc.,
was not less frequent among them than in the Russian colonies.

I left Tiflis about 3 in the afternoon. Just outside the town
stands, by the roadside, a cross cast in metal, with the eye of
Providence upon a pedestal of polished granite, surrounded by an
iron railing. An inscription states that, on the 12th of October,
in the year 1837, his imperial majesty was upset here, but that he
had escaped without injury. "Erected by his grateful subjects."

This incident appears, therefore, to have been one of the most
remarkable in the life of this powerful ruler, as it has been
commemorated by a monument. It has, certainly, not been erected
without the approval of the emperor. I am by no means certain which
is the most to be wondered at, the people who placed it here, or the
monarch who permitted it.

I went only one stage today, but it was so long, that I had to
continue my journey into the evening. To go any further was not to
be thought of, as the country, not only here, but in the greater
part of this province, is so unsafe that it is impossible to travel
in the evening or night without the protection of Cossacks, for
which purpose a small company is placed at each station.

The scenery was rather agreeable; pretty hills enclosed pleasant
looking valleys, and on the tops of some mountains stood ruins of
castles and fortified places. There were times in the history of
this kingdom as well as the German when one noble made war upon the
others, and no man was safe of his life and property. The nobles
lived in fortified castles upon hills and mountains, went out mailed
and harnessed like knights, and when threatened by hostile attacks,
their subjects fled to the castles. There are still said to be
people who wear, either over or under the clothes, shirts of mail,
and helmets instead of caps. I did not, however, see anything of
the kind. The river Kurry continued to run along by our road. Not
far from the station a long handsome bridge led across, but it was
so awkwardly placed that it was necessary to go out of the way a
whole werst to reach it.

6th September. The journey became still more romantic. Bushes and
woods covered the hills and valleys, and the tall-stemmed, rich,
green Turkish corn waved in the fields. There were also numbers of
old castles and fortresses. Towards evening, after having with
great exertion travelled four stages, I reached the little town of
Gory, whose situation was exceedingly charming. Wooded mountains
surrounded it in wide circles, while nearer at hand rose pretty
groups of hills. Nearly in the centre of the mass of houses a hill
was to be seen, whose summit was crowned by a citadel. The little
town possesses some pretty churches, private houses, barracks, and a
neat hospital. Both towns and villages here lose the Oriental
character entirely.

When the atmosphere is clear the Caucasian mountains are to be seen
rising in three ranges between the Caspian and Black seas, forming
the boundary between Asia and Europe. The highest points are the
Elberus and the Kasbeck; these, according to a new geography, are of
the respective heights of 16,800 and 14,000 feet. The mountains
were covered with snow far down their sides.

7th September. Today I travelled one stage as far as Suram: I
could not proceed any further, as twelve horses were ordered for an
officer who was returning from a bathing-place, with his wife and
friends.

Suram lies in a fruitful valley, in the centre of which rises a
beautiful mountain with the ruins of an old castle. In order to
dispel my bad humour I took a walk to this old castle. Although it
was considerably ruined, the lofty arches, stately walls, and
extensive fortifications showed that the noble knight had lived
tolerably sumptuously. On the return nothing astonished me more
than the number of animals yoked to the ploughs. The fields lay in
the finest plains, the ground was loose and free from stones, and
yet each plough was drawn by twelve or fourteen oxen.

8th September. The mountains drew nearer and nearer together, the
prospect became more beautiful; climbing plants, wild hops, vines,
etc., twined round the trees to their highest branches, and the
underwood grew so thick and luxuriantly, that it called to my mind
the vegetation of the Brazils.

The third stage was for the greater part of the way along the banks
of the river Mirabka through a narrow valley. The road between the
river and the mountain side was so narrow, that in many places there
was only room for one carriage. We had frequently to wait ten or
twenty minutes to allow the cars loaded with wood, of which we met a
great number, to pass us, and yet this was called a post-road.

Georgia has been for fifty year under Russian dominion, and only
within a recent time have roads been commenced here and there.
Fifty years hence, they may, perhaps, be finished, or fallen again
into decay. Bridges are as scarce as roads. The rivers, such as
the Mirabka are crossed in miserable ferry boats, those which are
shallower must be forded. In time of rain, or sudden thaw in the
snow mountains, the rivers are overflowed, and travellers must then
either wait some days or risk their lives. What a tremendous
difference between the colonies of Russia and England!

Late in the evening, I arrived, wet through and covered with mud, at
the station, two wersti from Kutais. It is remarkable that the
post-houses are generally one or two wersti from the villages or
towns. A traveller, in consequence of this custom, is exposed to
the inconvenience of making a special journey if he has anything to
attend to in those places.

9th September. Kutais contains 10,000 inhabitants, and lies in a
natural park; all round is the most luxuriant vegetation. The
houses are neat and ornamental; the green painted church towers and
barracks peep invitingly from between. The large river Ribon {314}
separates the town from the large citadel which very picturesquely
occupies a neighbouring hill.

The dresses of the people are as various as round Tiflis; the
headgear of the Mingrelian peasants appears truly comic. They wear
round black felt caps, in the shape of a plate, fastened by a string
under the chin. The women frequently wear the Tartarian schaube,
over which they throw a veil, which, however, is put back so that
the face is seen. The men wear, in the mornings, and in rainy
weather, large black collars (called burki) of sheep's wool, or
felt, which reach below the knees. I must here mention that the
beauty for which the Georgians are so famous must not be sought for
among the common people. I did not find them particularly handsome.

The carts which the peasants use are remarkable, the front part
rests upon curved pieces of wood, or sledge-bars; the hinder part
upon two small thick discs of wood.

My stay in Kutais was caused by the want of horses; it was not till
2 o'clock in the afternoon that I could continue my journey. I had
two stages to reach the village of Marand, which lies on the river
Ribon, where the post-cars are changed for a boat, by which the
journey to Redutkale, on the Black Sea, is made.

The first stage passes chiefly through fine woods, the second
presents an open view over fields and meadows; the houses and huts
are quite buried beneath bushes and trees. We met a number of
peasants who, although they had only a few fowls, eggs, fruits,
etc., to carry to the town for sale, were nevertheless on horseback.
There was abundance of grass and willow trees, and consequently of
horses and horned cattle.

At Marand I stopped, for want of an inn, with a Cossack. These
people, who also live here as settlers, have pretty wooden cottages,
with two or three rooms, and a piece of land which they use as field
and garden. Some of them receive travellers, and know how to charge
enough for the miserable accommodation they afford. I paid twenty
kopecs (8d.) for a dirty room without a bed, and as much for a
chicken. Beyond that I had nothing, for the people are too lazy to
fetch what they have not by them. If I wanted bread, or anything
that my hosts had not got, I might seek for it myself. As I have
said before, it is only for an officer that they will make any
exertion.

I had left Tiflis about 3 in the afternoon of the 5th of September,
and reached this place in the evening of the 9th, five days to
travel 274 wersti (195 miles). I call that a respectable Russian
post!

The boat did not start for Redutkale, a distance of eighty wersti,
until the morning of the 11th. It was bad weather; and the Ribon,
otherwise a fine river, cannot be navigated during a strong wind, on
account of the projecting trunks of trees and logs. The scenery
still continued beautiful and picturesque. The stream flows between
woods, maize, and millet fields, and the view extends over hills and
mountains to the distant and gigantic Caucasus. Their singular
forms, peaks, sunken plateaus, split domes, etc. appear sometimes on
the right, sometimes on the left, in front, and behind, according to
the ever-changing windings of the river. We frequently halted and
landed, every one running to the trees. Grapes and figs were
abundant, but the former were as sour as vinegar, and the latter
hard and small. I found a single one ripe, and that I threw away
when I had tasted it. The fig-trees were of a size such as I had
never seen, either in India or Sicily. I believe the whole sap is
here converted into wood and leaves. In the same way, the great
height of the vines may be the cause of the grapes being so small
and bad. There must certainly be a great field for improved
cultivation here.

12th September. Our boat did not go far. There was a smart breeze,
and as we were already near the Black Sea, we were obliged to remain
at anchor.

13th September. The wind had dropped, and we could, without danger,
trust ourselves on the sea, upon which we had to sail for some
hours, from the principal arm of the Ribon to that on which
Redutkale was situated. There was indeed a canal leading from the
one to the other, but it can only be passed at very high water, as
it is much filled with drift sand.

In Redutkale, a speculating Cossack host also received me, who had
three little rooms for guests.

According to the Russian calendar, this was the last day of August.
On the 1st of September, the steamer was to come, and sail again
after two hours. I therefore hastened to the commandant of the town
to have my passport signed, and to request admittance to the ship.
Government steamers ply twice every month, on the 1st and 15th, from
Redutkale to Odessa, by way of Kertsch. Sailing vessels rarely
offer an opportunity of passage. These steamers always keep close
into the coast; they touch at eighteen stations (fortresses and
military posts), carry military transports of all kinds, and convey
all passengers free. Travellers must, however, be content with a
deck place: the cabins are few, and belong to the crew and higher
officers, who frequently travel from one station to another. No
places can be had by paying for them.

The commandant prepared my passport and ticket directly. I cannot
avoid remarking in this place that the prolixity of writing by the
Russian government officials far exceeds that of the Austrians,
which I had formerly considered impossible. Instead of a simple
signature, I received a large written sheet, of which several copies
were taken, the whole ceremony occupying more than half an hour.

The steamer did not arrive until the 5th (Russian calendar).
Nothing is more tedious than to wait from hour to hour for a
conveyance, especially when it is necessary, in addition, to be
ready to start at any moment. Every morning I packed up. I did not
venture to cook a fowl or anything else, for fear I should be called
away from it as soon as ready; and it was not until the evening that
I felt a little safer, and could walk out a little.

From what I could see of the neighbourhood of Redutkale and
Mingrelia altogether, the country is plentifully furnished with
hills and mountains, large valleys lie between, and the whole are
covered with rich woods. The air is on that account moist and
unhealthy, and it rains very frequently. The rising sun draws up
such dense vapours, that they float like impenetrable clouds, four
or five feet above the earth. These vapours are said to be the
cause of many diseases, especially fever and dropsy. In addition to
this, the people are so foolish as to build their houses in among
the bushes and under thick trees, instead of in open, airy, and
sunny places. Villages are frequently passed, and scarcely a house
is to be seen. The men are remarkably idle and stupid; they are
tawny and lean. The natives seldom reach the age of sixty; and it
is said that the climate is even more unhealthy for strangers.

Still I believe that much might be done in this country by
industrious settlers and agriculturists. There is abundance of
land, and three-fourths of it certainly lies uncultivated. By
thinning the woods and draining the land, the badness of the climate
would be lessened. It is already, even without cultivation, very
fruitful; and how much this might be increased by a proper and
rational mode of treatment. Rich grass grows everywhere, mixed with
the best herbs and clover. Fruit grows wild; the vines run up to
the tops of the highest trees. It is said that in time of rain the
ground is so soft, that only wooden ploughs are used. Turkish corn
is most generally grown, and a kind of millet, called gom.

The inhabitants prepare the wine in the most simple manner. They
hollow out the trunk of a tree, and tread the grapes in it; they
then pour the juice into earthen vessels, and bury these in the
ground.

The character of the Mingrelians is said to be altogether bad, and
they are generally looked upon as thieves and robbers; murders are
said not to be unfrequent. They carry off one another's wives, and
are much addicted to drunkenness. The father trains the children to
stealing, and the mother to obscenity.

Colchis or Mingrelia lies at the end of the Black Sea, and towards
the north on the Caucasian mountains. The neighbouring people were
formerly known under the name of Huns and Alani. The Amazons are
said to have dwelt in the country between the Caucasus and the
Caspian Sea.

The little town of Redutkale may contain about 1,500 inhabitants.
The men are so indolent that, during the five days that I passed
here, I could not procure a few grapes or figs for love or money. I
went daily to the bazaar, and never found any for sale. The people
are too lazy to bring wood from the forest; they work only when the
greatest necessity compels them, and require to be paid
exorbitantly. I paid as much, if not more, for eggs, milk, and
bread as I would have done in Vienna. It might well be said that
the people are here in the midst of plenty, and yet almost starve.

I was not better pleased by the thoughtless and meaningless
performance of religious ceremonies among these people. On all
occasions, they cross themselves before eating or drinking, before
entering a room, before putting on an article of clothing, etc. The
hands have nothing else to do but to make crosses. But the most
provoking thing of all is, that they stand still before every church
they pass, bow half a dozen times, and cross themselves without end.
When they are travelling, they stop their carriages to perform this
ceremony.

While I was at Redutkale a vessel sailed. The priests were brought
on board, and were obliged to go all over the ship, and pronounce a
blessing upon it on every corner of the sails. They crept into
every cabin or hole, and at last blessed the sailors, who laughed at
them for their trouble.

I constantly found that there was less real religion in those places
where there was the most parade made of it.

CHAPTER XXIII. EUROPEAN RUSSIA.

DEPARTURE FROM REDUTKALE--ATTACK OF CHOLERA--ANAPKA--SUSPICIOUS
SHIP--KERTSCH--THE MUSEUM--TUMULI--CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNEY--
THEODOSIA (CAFFA)--PRINCE WORONZOFF'S PALACE--THE FORTRESS OF
SEWASTOPOL--ODESSA.

On the 17th of September, at 9 in the morning, the steamer arrived,
and an hour afterwards I was seated on the deck. The vessel was
called Maladetz; it was 140 horse power, and the commandant's name
was Zorin.

The distance from Redutkale to Kertsch is only 420 miles in a
straight line, but for us, who continually kept close to the shore,
it amounted to nearly 580.

The view of the Caucasus--the hills and headlands--the rich and
luxuriant country remains fresh in my memory to this day. In a
charming valley lies the village Gallansur, the first station, at
which we stopped for a short time.

Towards 6 o'clock in the evening, we reached the fortified town
Sahun, which lies partly on the shore, and partly on a broad hill.
Here I saw, for the first time, Cossacks in full uniform; all those
I had previously seen were very badly dressed, and had no military
appearance; they wore loose linen trousers, and long ugly coats,
reaching down to their heels. These, however, wore close-fitting
spencers with breast-pockets, each of which was divided for eight
cartridges, wide trousers, which sat in folds upon the upper part of
the body, and dark blue cloth caps, trimmed with fur. They rowed a
staff officer to the ship.

18th September. We remained the whole day in Sahun. The coal-
boats, from some inconceivable negligence, had not arrived; the
coals were taken on board after we had been some time at anchor, and
our supply was not completed until 6 o'clock in the evening, when we
again started.

19th September. During the night there was much storm and rain. I
begged permission to seat myself on the cabin steps, which I
received; but, after a few minutes, an order came from the
commandant to take me under cover. I was much surprised and pleased
at this politeness, but I was soon undeceived when I was led into
the large sailors' cabin. The people smelt horribly of brandy, and
some of them had evidently taken too much. I hastened back on to
the deck, where, in spite of the raging of the elements, I felt more
comfortable than among these well-bred Christians.

In the course of the day we stopped at Bambur, Pizunta, Gagri,
Adlar, and other places. Near Bambur I observed majestic groups of
rocks.

20th September. The Caucasian mountains were now out of sight, and
the thick woods were also succeeded by wide open spaces. We were
still troubled with wind, storm, and rain.

The engineer of the ship, an Englishman, Mr. Platt, had accidentally
heard of my journey (perhaps from my passport, which I had to give
up on entering the ship); he introduced himself to me today, and
offered me the use of his cabin during the day-time; he also spoke
to one of the officers for me, and succeeded in obtaining a cabin
for me, which, although it joined the sailors' cabin, was separated
from it by a door. I was very thankful to both the gentlemen for
their kindness, which was the greater, as the preference was given
to me, a stranger, over the Russian officers, of whom at least half
a dozen were on deck.

We remained a long time at Sissasse. This is an important station;
there is a fine fortress upon a hill--round it stand pretty wooden
houses.

21st September. This was a terrible night! One of the sailors, who
was healthy and well the day before, and had taken his supper with a
good appetite, was suddenly attacked with cholera. The cries of the
poor fellow disturbed me greatly, and I went upon deck, but the
heavy rain and piercing cold were not less terrible. I had nothing
but my mantle, which was soon wet through; my teeth chattered; the
frost made me shake throughout; so there was nothing to be done but
to go below again--to stop my ears, and remain close to the dying
man. He was, in spite of all help, a corpse before the end of eight
hours. The dead body was landed in the morning, at Bschada; it was
packed in a heap of sail-cloth, and kept secret from the travellers.
The cabin was thoroughly washed with vinegar, and scoured, and no
one else was attacked.

I did not at all wonder that there was sickness on board, only I had
expected it would be among the poor soldiers, who were day and night
upon the deck, and had no further food than dry, black bread, and
had not even mantles or covering; I saw many half-frozen from cold,
dripping with rain, gnawing a piece of bread: how much greater
suffering must they have to undergo in the winter time! The passage
from Redutkale to Kertsch, I was told, then frequently occupied
twenty days. The sea is so rough that it is difficult to reach the
stations, and sometimes the ship lies for days opposite them. If it
should happen that a poor soldier has to proceed the whole distance,
it is really a wonder that he should reach the place of his
destination alive. According to the Russian system, however, the
common man is not worthy of any consideration.

The sailors are indeed better, but, nevertheless, not well provided
for; they receive bread and spirits, a very small quantity of meat,
and a soup made of sour cabbage, called bartsch, twice a day.

The number of officers, their wives, and soldiers on the deck,
increased at every station, very few being landed from the ship.

The deck was soon so covered with furniture, chests, and trunks,
that there was scarcely a place to sit down, except on the top of a
pile of goods. I never saw such an encampment on board a ship.

In fine weather, this life afforded me much amusement; there was
always something new to see; every one was animated and happy, and
appeared to belong to the same family; but if a heavy rain came on
suddenly, or a wave washed over the deck, the passengers began to
shout and cry, and the contents of every chest became public. One
cried, "How shall I shelter my sugar-loaves?" another, "Oh, my meal
will be spoiled." There a woman complained that her bonnet would be
full of spots; here, another, that the uniform of her husband would
certainly be injured.

At some of the smaller stations, we had taken on board sick
soldiers, in order to carry them to the hospital at Kertsch. This
was done, as I was told, less on account of nursing them than as a
measure of safety. The former they would have received at the place
they came from; but all the small villages between Redutkale and
Anapka are still frequently disturbed by the Circassian-Tartars, who
undauntedly break out from the mountains and rob and murder. Very
lately they were reported to have fired a cannon at one of the
government steamers. The Circassians {320a} are as partial to the
Russians as the Chinese are to the English!

The poor invalids were also laid on the deck, and but little
attention was shown to them, beyond stretching a sail-cloth over
them, to keep the wind partially off; but when it rained heavily,
the water ran in on all sides, so that they lay half in the wet.

22nd September. We saw the handsome town and fortress Nowa
Russiska, which contains some very pretty private houses, hospitals,
barracks, and a fine church. The town and fortress lie upon a hill,
and were founded only ten years since.

In the evening, we reached Anapka, which place was taken by the
Turks in 1829. Here the finely wooded mountains and hills, and the
somewhat desolate steppes {320b} of the Crimea commence.

In the course of the day I had an opportunity of observing the
watchfulness and penetration of our commandant. A sailing-vessel
was quietly at anchor in a small creek. The commandant, perceiving
it, immediately ordered the steamer to stop, ordered out a boat, and
sent an officer to see what it was doing there. So far everything
had gone correctly; for in Russia, where the limits of every foreign
fly is known, what a whole ship is about, must also be seen to. But
now comes the comical part of the affair. The officer went near the
ship, but did not board it, and did not ask for the ship's papers,

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