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ILLUSTRATION OF JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS. 247

ceeded to the cottage of a poor man at a few hundred yards distance, and had asked for a night's lodging. The master of the house happened to be from home; but the good woman, pitying his apparent exhaustion, shewed him into the

guesthouse, and not only provided him with a bed, but, assisted by her two boys, set about preparing him a supper. She was in the act of boiling some pasta for him, when, irresistibly impelled to bloodshed, he aimed a blow at her with his hatchet. She contrived, however, to escape unhurt into the woods; but her two boys were not so fortunate; one of them was felled to the earth, with a fearful gash on the shoulder, and the other was killed outright.

After thus requiting the hospitality he had experienced, the miscreant betook himself to the mountains, where we had met him. subsequently seen by an old Anapalu, Emin Ugha, who was accosted by him on the same road. He inquired of Emin “what were the news at Sooka ?” and was edging towards him with the design of seizing his weapons, when the other, who was on his guard, and a brave man, having formerly served as Beiraktar at Anapa, presented his pistol at him—“ Avaunt, murderer !” he cried;

you have imbrued your hands in innocent blood already; do you seek another victim ?” Upon

He was

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248

ILLUSTRATION OF JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS.

this he cried, “ Ogmaf! Ogmaf!" (good-bye, goodbye,) and retreated into the woods.

On hearing this story, I asked of Emin why he had not shot the man, knowing him to be a murderer. “God forbid,” he replied; “I should have involved myself and my connexions in a feud with his tribe. Besides, the boy he has murdered does not belong to my tribe; and if he did, we should prefer the penalty of two hundred oxen to the villain's life, which his own clansmen will, no doubt, take care to shorten for him, since they have found it so detrimental to them." These proved to be exactly the views of the parties concerned, who declined the offer that was made to them by the tribe of the murderer, to have him brought to them bound hand and foot, and insisted on the penalty. The consequence was, that the fugitive during these negotiations was allowed to wander unmolested, everybody shunning him as they would a pestilence, not so much from fear, as to avoid embroiling themselves with his tribe. Finally, the latter, that he might not compromise them by further mischief, surrounded the mountains where he had taken refuge, and succeeded in laying hands upon him. Then, having been sentenced to death by their elders, they took him to the sea-side, fastened some heavy stones to him, and hurled him from the rocks,

DEPARTURE FROM ABOON BASHI.

249

CHAPTER XII.

Our departure from Aboon Bashi—Skirmishes with the Rus

sians-Regard of the Circassians for their dead, and their respect for the property of strangers—Indar Oglu and the council-The Wolf.

Many of the chiefs having learnt we were proceeding to Pchat, had come to escort us thither, and we left Aboon Bashi towards the middle of June. Our crabbed old host seemed softened into something like civility at parting with us; and the smiles of Guerchimaf, who had come to the door of the harem to take a last peep at us, seemed to be struggling with her tears. Her visions of splendour and of Stamboul were about to disappear with those who had raised them, and even the gifts we had sent her were held unconsciously in her hand as she saw the donors depart.

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The road up the mountains was steep and difficult, and it took our horses a long time to scramble through the woods to the top. The clouds were resting on it as we arrived; but the wind having suddenly risen, the whole drifted away, rolling down the valleys, and unveiling, with a very grand effect, the landscape at our feet. Unlike that we had ascended, the further side of the mountains consisted of a gradation of bold platforms, or table land, their sides covered with forests, but the tops well cleared, and affording excellent pasture for cattle. Troops of horses turned out to grass were also ranging in every direction.

direction. Evening was closing upon us as we

more reached the valley of Pchat, and it being yet a few hours' ride from the Circassian camp, Osman found us a lodging for the night. Indeed, however lonely and unpromising the place might appear, we were never at a loss for one, having only to intimate our wish for it, when our guides would immediately discover a house for us.

Not far from our konag of that night we discovered a manufactory of powder; the machinery consisted chiefly of a large mortar, in which the different ingredients were pounded. The pestle was suspended to a long and rude lever, not unlike that of the pumps we find in some parts of Germany. The sulphur is all imported from

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Turkey; for though there are mines in the country, they have not the least idea of working them. Nitre they obtain from a shrub, which is found all over the country, but which I am not botanist enough to classify; it blazes when ignited, like touch-paper. Powder is, of course, made here in small quantities, and is distributed as bakshish, or gratuity.

The next morning we continued our route, and we had presently indubitable evidence, in the rattle of small arms, mingled every now and then with the heavy roar of artillery, that our friends were engaged with the Russians, and that we were close upon the scene of action. We accordingly pushed on at full gallop through the interminable avenues of trees that concealed them from us, in hopes of seeing something of the conflict; but we came too late: the Russians had just sallied out on a foraging excursion; but finding the field too hot for them, and the Circassians, like an invaded nest of hornets, everywhere on the alert, they were now hastily retreating to their entrenchments again. The last battalions, with whom a running fight was kept up from the banks of the Pchat, were folded from our view by its windings as we arrived.

Notice having been forwarded of our approach, we were met by a guard of honour, who escorted us to the Circassian head-quarters. They were

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