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CRFW OF A TURKISH VESSEL.
the progress of the ameliorations now taking place in her social and political relations, but also the singular system which they will gradually supersede, and which has endured in its primitive simplicity for so many ages. The interest and curiosity excited by these, and the crisis, as I have already said, superinduced by the capture of the “ Vixen,” were the causes of my visit to Circassia. I owe it at the same time to myself to declare, that without positive encouragement from a gentleman connected in an official capacity with H. M. government, whereby I was led to conclude that I was doing honourable service as a volunteer in the cause of my country, I should never have embarked in this enterprise.
The wind freshening with the first grey of the morning, we left the Bosphorus on the 1st of May, and, coasting along the shore of Asia Minor, arrived at Sinope on the 8th. Though anxious to reach the place of our destination, I did not find the voyage tedious. The absence of cleanliness and comfort I experienced was amply compensated by the insight which a week's close confinement witi eight or nine Turks afforded me into their character and manners- an insight more extensive than had resulted from a long residence at Pera. The impression made by them was highly favourable. The harmony with which they lived
together, captain and crew, like so many brothers; the alacrity with which they went through the business of the ship, and which was, no doubt, inspired by the interest every man took in the suc-, cess of the voyage ; and lastly, the unfeigned piety which appeared to influence all their thoughts and actions, formed, certainly, very pleasing objects of contemplation.
The Hadji, however, though very punctual in his religious exercises, proved, I am sorry to say, at bottom to be a great schemer and hypocrite; a most accomplished sycophant withal, whose weekly ministration of blarney was sure to be followed by as regular an inroad upon my purse. My Greek, who soon penetrated into his character, indignantly declared that he was no better than an Eski Orospou, or old courtezan. Be this as it might, I was not sorry to see the rivalship growing between them, since in the tussle for supremacy over me I saw the best chance of escaping from them both.
During this trip, a great source of amusement to me was, observing the progress of a courtship, which was carried on with a great deal of assiduity by the captain's mate. This may appear odd to the reader, as we had no females on board; but it is nevertheless true, and will serve to illustrate Eastern manners.
The Hadji, it appears, had a
daughter; and whether he had fallen in love with her from description, or whether in the comely though wrinkled features of the father he read the promise of beauty in his offspring, certain it is that Ibrahim Agha became deeply enamoured, and lavished on the Hadji, as the fair one's representative, a thousand caresses and petit soins; and subsequently, I have reason to suspect, as many piastres in the shape of a loan. Indeed, the young lady herself could not have conducted the affair more discreetly; the poor lad being tantalized by the old
rogue, as long as it suited his purpose, he in the meanwhile assuming an air of patronage and condescension, recommending him especially to my favour, and procuring him the distinguished honour of dipping his fingers in the same dish with
The rest of the crew fared very indifferently ; a piece of coarse bread and a handful of olives were all their parsimony would allow them to indulge in.
A voyage to the coast of Abasia infers a period of danger and privation, cheered in the meanwhile by the prospect of great profits and future enjoyments. There was one among them, however, a stranger apparently to hope or fear of any sort-viz., the wild-looking Circassian, whom the reader may remember attracted my notice on my first visit to the ship. The extraordinary lustre
of his eyes I afterwards discovered was produced by Rakee, for the love of which Dely, or mad Mehemet, as they called him, had sold and sacrificed not only all his worldly possessions to his very shirt, but even his flesh and blood, his last offering at the shrine of the jolly god being his wife and children, whom he had disposed of in like manner. He was now working his passage, and returning like the prodigal son to the coast of Abasia, which he declared to be the only country in the world a man so totally unprovided for could live in.
The vice of drunkenness, I have been told, was formerly very prevalent in the Caucasus; but it has been in great measure banished by the spread of Islamism, and the number of stills has of late years considerably diminished.
ARRIVAL AT SINOPE.
Sinope-- Alarming information-Village of Gerzen-A storm
on the Black Sea—Chased by a Russian corvette— Escape -Arrival on the Circassian coast-Our reception.
On reaching the bay of Sinope, which we were prevented by a baffling wind from entering, the boat was lowered, and, attended by the Hadji and my Greek servant, I made for the shore. Just at that moment a violent squall having arisen, our ship was carried out to sea by it, while our boat made its way with difficulty through the breakers. Two days elapsed before we received any tidings of the former, which had been driven to the S. E. as far as the village of Gerzen.
In the meanwhile, the Hadji led the way to the Circassian coffee-house, and, on arriving there,