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Great Lampat, close by, and belonging to General Borosdine; Parthenit, where is still to be seen the great hazel under which the Prince de Ligne wrote to Catherine II. ; Kisil Tash, the “ Sword Stone," the proprietor of which bears a well-known name—Poniatowski ; Udsuf, lying close under the forest shades of Yaila Tagh; Arteck, the estate of Prince Andrew Gallitzin; Ai Daniel, the property of the late Duc de Richelieu; Marsanda and Nikita; Gaspra, where Madame de Krudener, author of “ Valerie," died in the arms of her daughter, Baroness Berckheim ; and Korais, where Princess Gallitzin, exiled from court, ended her days.
The proximity of Yalta to the most remarkable places on the coast, its harbour, and its delightful situation, made it, before this war, the rendezvous of all who flocked to the Crimea. There was regular steam-boat communication between this favoured watering-place and Odessa. Elegant buildings, handsome hotels, and a comfortable, cheerful population, indicated that opulence and pleasure had taken the town under their patronage.
Oliphant, however, was not pleased with Yalta ; the houses were glaring white, the buildings fantastic, the chief hotel dear and uncomfortable, and the people “ cockneyfied." It is curious what little matters - a shower of rain, a demand for a passport, a fireless stove, or a dirty bed-will give a dark colouring to a traveller's sketch. The charges of the “ Grand Hotel” obliterated all the picturesqueness of a site which another traveller describes as “ that white Ialta, seated at the head of a bay like a beautiful sultana bathing her feet in the sea, and sheltering her fair forehead from the sun under rocks festooned with verdure."
Mr. Scott was in better humour at the time of his visit. He describes the Crimea Tempe as a most lovely country, over which nature has shed some of her choicest blessings-unrivalled position, soil, aspect, and climate. “We seemed," he writes, " once more to have reached civilisation: elegant private carriages, gentlemen on horseback, and well-dressed women were to be seen as we dashed through a village of villas, and soon after into Yalta.” Of Yalta itself the same traveller says, “A more delightful situation can scarcely be conceived." And of Alupka he speaks in rapturous terms as a delicious retreat, in which he only regretted that time did not permit him to enjoy a few days.
The whole of the valleys on the southern coast from the mountains to the sea-shore are covered with vineyards, and a great quantity of wine is made of all kinds, and of course of various qualities. Names are given to them, as in Hungary, from the celebrated vintages of France-as Bordeaux, Burgundy, &c. The red wines have, however, more body than claret, without being so heavy as port, and possess a very fine bouquet. Some of the sparkling white wines are also excellent. The Crimean muscatelle would take a high place among the sweet wines of Europe.
HARRY BROWN AND THE EMPEROR NICHOLAS.
BY DUDLEY COSTELLO.
I. “This is rather dreary work, Fred, knocking about here, doing nothing. Don't you think so ?”
“Rather,” replied the individual to whom the question was addressed.
« I fancy I should scarcely have volunteered this cruise, Fred, if I'd thought of its turning out so slow!"
“Well—I fancy not," was the second rejoinder.
There was silence for about five minutes after this brief conversation, which took place one evening not very long since on the quarter-deck of her Majesty's screw steamer Tarantula, employed at that time in blockading the Russian ports in the Baltic.
During the interval, the speakers continued to pace briskly up and down, wrapt as closely in their own thoughts as in their respective pea-jackets. At length one of them paused, and taking his cigar from his mouth, again addressed his companion:
“Didn't the skipper, Fred, say something this afternoon about running down to Memel in a few days ?”
“ To-morrow," answered his laconic friend.
“Oh, to-morrow! The sooner the better. I'll tell you what, Fred, I've got a notion.”
“What is it?"
“ The devil you are!" exclaimed the person called Fred, roused from his habitual taciturnity by the strangeness of the idea. “How do you mean to get there? I don't see much chance of it while things are going on this way. Why, it's all up with Cronstadt this year, let alone St. Petersburg."
* For all that, Fred, the journey appears to me very feasible.” . “ Journey! why you can't go by land !”
“Yes I can. You sailors seem to fancy everything impossible that's not undertaken by water!"
« Impossible ! no! Only I should like to know what way you mean to travel. You seem to forget, Harry, that we're at war with Russia.”
“ You're wrong there, Fred. It's precisely because we are at war that I propose this expedition.”
Lieutenant Frederick Short-that was his name seemed quite at a loss to understand his friend.
“You'll never get over the frontier,” he said. * Or, if you do, you'll never get back again."
“I think I can manage it both ways."
6 Well, you must be a deuced deal cleverer than I am, if you do. Do you mean to say you're in earnest ?"
“ Perfectly. You know my love of excitement, or you wouldn't have seen me on board the Tarantula, at a time when I could have had some of the best deer-stalking in Ross-shire. The skipper's invitation to come out here promised something better even than that. A brush with the Russians, thinks I, don't turn up every day; so I put up a revolver, as well as a rifle, invested seven-and-six in a Foreign-office passport in case of going back by land, got a passage in the Breadbasket, and you know the rest. We didn't go to Sweaborg—we weren't at Bomarsund-we haven't done anything but stand off and on along this blessed coast, and, therefore, my dear fellow— I'm sorry to leave you, you're such a jolly lot, but—we must part company. I made up my mind to winter in St. Petersburg, with or without invitation, and take my word for it, I'll do what I intended."
" What you say, Harry Brown,” returned Short, “is true enough. There has been nothing stirring aboard the T’rantla, and I don't wonder you want to be off. But how the deuce you mean to get to St. Petersburg—and back—is a good deal more than I can make out."
"Nevertheless, Fred, the game is on the cards, and I'll tell you how I mean to play them. You recollect that affair some weeks ago when a pic-nic party from Prussia went over the Russian frontier and got nabbed for their pains ?”
“Oh yes, perfectly."
“ Well, I mean to try something of the same sort, like Rabelais when he wanted to get to Paris.”
“Oh, they'll take you fast enough, there's no doubt of that; they're only too glad to get hold of a live Englishman. But suppose they lock you up at Mitau, or soine other inland place, what will you do then?"
“ I'll chance that. But it strikes me when they find out the importance of their capture, they won't rest till they carry me to the capital.”
“ Importance!" cried Short, laughing
“ J'ai laché le mot, Fred, I have said it. Now just listen to me for a moment. I told you I took out a Foreign-office passport before I started. Stay; I have it in my pocket-book. Here it is. Just read it."
Lieutenant Short did as his companion desired him.
"We, George William Frederick, Earl of Clarendon,' he began, · Baron Hyde of Hindon,' &c. &c.—what a lot of titles !-request and require in the name of her Majesty,' &c. &c., to allow Harry Brown, Esq. (British subject), to pass freely,' &c. &c.— afford him'—'assistance' - protection'- stand in need. Given at the,' &c. &c. Signature of the bearer-Harry Brown. To tell you the truth, Harry, I don't see that you figure there as anything very important."
“ Short-sighted mariner !” exclaimed Brown; "the next time you read this passport, you'll be of a different opinion. I won't tell you any more now. After breakfast to-morrow, when I've spoken to the skipper, I'll let you into the whole secret. I shall turn in. Good night, Fred!”
“Good night, Harry !"
And Lieutenant Short was left alone on his watch to meditate on what he had just heard.
On the following morning Brown kept his word. Short found him in the Captain's cabin with writing materials before him, very busily occupied. He looked up as Short entered, and nodded.
“I fatter myself,” he said, “ I've done it very neatly.”
“ What have you done ?" “ Come and see!”
The Lieutenant approached, and looked over his friend's shoulder. The Foreign-office passport was spread out on his desk, and instead of the humble name of Brown, Short read the words, “ Lord Harry Brownemall,"-a triling addition at each extremity, with a little careful alteration, having converted a somewhat plebeian designation into one that had a look which seemed thoroughly aristocratic.
“Now," said the newly-made nobleman, “I saw one of · Dod's Peerages' in your cabin the other day, Short - I want you to spare me the cover-I'll give you a new one for it some time—there's a crown, and wreath, and all sorts of stunning titles on the outside, done in gold; we'll just mount the passport on some good stiff cartridge-paper and tack it in, and if that don't astonish the Muscovites call me a fool for my pains!"
Short looked as if he, at all events, were astonished at the absurdity. of his friend's proceedings, but, treating the whole thing as a joke, did as he was requested, and sacrificed the gaudy cover.
“ You'll be off the station before I come back again,” said Brown. “I should think so," replied Short, drily.
In that case I had better have my traps sent ashore to the hotel ; what's the name of it ?-oh, the Hotel de Russie ;'-—well, I'll clap that address on the trunks, and then it will be all right. I shall only take a tooth-brush and a pocket-comb with me,—those things, I fancy, are not to be had for love or money in Russia. You haven't got any markingink, have you ? Just to draw a coronet on the tail of my—I mean hem of my garment! No matter, I daresay the initials will do; there they are- H. B.'-rather distinguished ones, ain't they ?"
It is unnecessary to dwell upon minute particulars. The Tarantula ran down to Memel'that day, anchored inside the Kurische Haff, Brown and Short went ashore, dined merrily at the hotel, and when they shook hands at parting the Lieutenant begged him, laughingly, to give his best compliments to the Emperor.
“I shall make a point of it,” said Brown, gravely. “ If you could spare a lock of your hair I'd present it to the Empress !”
" Where shall I write to you?”
“St. Petersburg, of course, post restante ; or, stay, on second thoughts, you'd better address your letter to the Peterhoff, care of the Czar,' that will find me.”
“Come, now; without joking.”
II. It was a lovely morning, bright and brilliant, with just enough frost in the air to make it delicious, when Harry Brown, Esq., having breakfasted, more or less to his taste, on black bread, dried haddocks, and beer
flavoured with pitch, mounted a horse which he had hired from the landlord, and rode out of the court-yard of the Hotel de Russie, promising to return to dinner. He passed leisurely through the streets, admiring nothing for there is nothing in them to admire and sensible only of one faet, that everything smelt strongly of hides and hemp; but when he had reached the porthern gate he altered his pace and trotted along briskly. Not that he enjoyed the aspect of the country any more than that of the town, but as the wind blew freshly in his face he left all the disagreeable odours of Memel behind him. After a ride of barely a post league, over a very flat, uninteresting level, he came to the Prussian barrier, and in return for the trink-gelt which he slipped into the officials ready hand, was informed that he was “ ganz nahe bei der Russische Gränze," a piece of information for which he thanked the stolid functionary as if the news were totally unexpected, though with a good pair of eyes—and Harry Brown's were sharp enough-there was no difficulty in making out the barrack which indicated the Muscovite frontier distant about a couple of miles.
Our adventurous friend's progress over the neutral ground was much slower than his approach to it, for as he drew near the threshold of his enterprise he could not help asking himself whether it were altogether a safe proceeding to enter the lion's den on the very slender ground which existed for getting safely out again ; and to debate the matter in his own mind he kept his horse at a walk. Like many others who are endowed with a lively imagination which sees no obstaele in the way of a favourite project, Harry Brown had never considered the details that must necessarily attend his scheme, but now they forced themselves upon his attention. He remembered, in the first place, that he did not know a word of the Russian language; the people he had to do with might be equally ignorant of any tongue but their own; in the absence of an interpreter he might be set down as a spy a traveller he could scarcely hope to be taken for, having no baggage—and in that case, the mildest treatment he could expect would be the tender mercies of a Russian prison ;—who knew ?-perhaps the knout, or a forced march into Siberia ? That very word “ Siberia," made his blood run cold by the image it immediately conjured up of a region, vast, desolate, and remote, the more terrible from the utter absence of all definite notions concerning it.
Harry Brown was no Parolles, to boast of an intention which he never meant to accomplish, but he could scarcely refrain from admitting with that valiant gentleman, that his thoughts, if not his tongue, had been too foolhardy; and he began almost to consider whether he had not better adopt his friend Short's view of the case and treat the whole affair as a joke. What he had said might easily pass for one; Short evidently thought he was not in earnest; and no imputation would rest on his courage for not undertaking an absurd and useless adventure. This reasoning, however, did not satisfy him : he knew in his own heart that when he said he meant to get to St. Petersburg, after the fashion he proposed, though the manner of it was jocose, he was as serious as ever he had been in his life. No other person might be able to accuse him of cowardice, but could he acquit himself?