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A YEAR

AMONG

THE CIRCASSIAN S.

CHAPTER I.

Chartering a vessel at Constantinople-Freight and cargoChoice of dragoman

Embarkation Motives for my voyage to Circassia-Crew of a Turkish vessel.

My resolution had been taken to proceed to Circassia, and my preparations for the voyage had of course been made with a good deal of mystery.' I had left the boarding-house, where I usually sojourned at Pera, for the house of a friend, that the visits of the Circassians, with whom I had been put in relation, and who were to be the companions of my voyage, might not attract notice. These precautions were of course necessary.

Pera is

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IMAM OLI HADJI.

filled with Russian emissaries, and whoever is conscious of intentions hostile to her all-pervading influence, walks its streets with the feelings of a conspirator.

During my first interview with the two men under whose conduct I was to go to Circassia, and who were to serve me there in lieu of letters of introduction, I of course scrutinized their appearance with much interest; for which I had the more opportunity, as from my imperfect knowledge of the Turkish language, the negotiation was carried on for me by a friend. They proved to be both Hadjis, (of whom, by-the-bye, there is no scarcity in Circassia, where, in the simplicity of recent proselytism, the pilgrimage confers a title to great respect.) Their names were Hadji Besni and Imam Oli Hadji.

The first was a tall, stately person, with a grave and somewhat heavy countenance, whom the superior neatness of his dress, his long flowing caftan of silk, and the whiteness of his turban, indicated as the chief. He wore at his girdle a Circassian cama or dagger, with a broad, two-edged blade, and an ivory handle. He joined little in the conversation, partly from reserve and partly for the saine reason as myself, that he knew little of the Turkish language. His taciturnity, however, was made up for by the vivacity of his companiop, an

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