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stacle interposed between him and the possession | longing for daylight to appear and send the foul of Constantinople.
swarms back to their lurking places. At last the Leaving Jassy, we crossed a succession of sun would rise, piercing the creeping mists with steep hills and narrow valleys, and arrived at the level rays, like Christian knights charging with village of Skoulani, through which runs tbe Pruth, lance at rest through the dense lines of the unbedividing the town in the centre. Half of it is lieving hosts. Higher and higher up mid-heaven thus in Moldavia and half in Bessarabia, the latest strode the great luminary, showering his beams acquisition made by Russia from Turkey. Upon down upon us perpendicularly, as the Norman arthe eastern bank of the river is established the rows at Hastings fell into the Saxon palisades, Russian quarantine station, where we were to piercing helm and brain. Then came the long undergo a purification of fourteen days.
| hot afternoons, when the slant sunbeams swept A dismal spot is this lazaretto at Skoulani. It through our prison like the grape-shot at Buena consists of a huge wooden inclosure upon the Vista. How we longed for evening. With evenlow bank of the river, liable to overflow at every ing came thick heavy dews and frequent rains, flood. Within the inclosure are some half score soaking through the cane roofs of our huts, formof huts of a single story, with clay walls, osiering stagnant melancholy pools on the muddy roofs, and mud floors. They are arranged around floors, and in the narrow court-yard before our a small court, planted with a few sickly trees. doors. All the while our fellow-prisoners in the The inclosure is guarded by a troop of Cossacks, rusty gabardines, broad-brimmed hats or high and over it waves the bodeful yellow flag of the caps, sat coiled up in the corners of their rooms, quarantine. As we reached the Russian bank apparently indifferent to the tortures that irritated of the river our passports were examined by a us to madness. To be bug-bitten, and flea-stung, compromised official, to be sure that we bore with to be broiled and roasted, to be soaked and drenchus nothing more suspicious than the plague. Alled, they appeared to think the most natural thing being found in order, we were conducted to the in the world. But enough. The painter drew a lazaretto by the guards. The huge plank gate vail over the face of the father whose agony he opened to admit us, and closed after us with a dared not venture to depict. Let me, in like heavy sound, and we were left to our meditations. manner, draw the vail of silence over the miseries But we were not to enjoy them in solitude. of that weary fortnight. The only bright moEvery hut, except the one assigned to us, was ments that I can recall to remembrance were the full of victims like ourselves. With scarcely an two or three times when by special favor, and exception they were either Jews or Armenians. guarded by a troop of Cossacks ready to transfix They all wore long loose gowns of dark woolen, us with their lances if we passed the appointed which had not been clean probably from the day bounds, we were allowed a bath in the river. when they were first assumed. As they wore We lived through it all, and at the expiration these day and night, and had been exposed in of our term were pronounced free from all susthem to the heavy rains through which we had picion of plague. We then made the best of passed, the assemblage of odors that rose from our way to the post-house and demanded horses. them defies all analysis or enumeration. The Our residence in Russia had taught us that the two-score “separate stinks" that are said to be surest way was to carry matters with a high distinguishable in the city famous for Cologne hand. To assume authority is to secure obewater and the sanctified bones of the Eleven dience. We could not have been more perempThousand Virgins, were like gales from Araby tory had the titles borne upon our passports rethe blest, compared with the concatenation of presented a corresponding rank in the Imperial scents proceeding from a score and a half of un- Guard. To hear was to obey; and in a wonderwashed Jews and Armenians, cooped up at mid- fully short space of time we were whirling through summer within a muddy lazaretto. They had the wilds of Bessarabia. I must acknowledge come from every quarter of the insect-haunted that it was not without a feeling of positive satworld, and had brought with them the fiercest isfaction that we found ourselves fairly within specimens of the tribes that fly and crawl, bite the Russian dominions. We had begun to have and sting, pierce and stab: great Shanghai-look- a sort of affection for the shifty, serviceable muing musquitoes from the Levant; fleas from Bul- jiks. They have in perfection the faculty of garia, rhinoceros-backed; ticks burrowing mole-obedience. If a man knows what he wants done, like, and slimy bugs. To the main army, native and can direct bow it is to be performed, he can to the soil, were joined contingents from Stam- be sure of its accomplishment in Russia. The boul and Smyrna, from Hungarian pusztas and officials and sub-officials, from the highest to the Dutch fens, from Trebizond, Trieste, and Cadiz. lowest are detestable enough ; but the peasantry Down they poured upon us in cohorts and squad- have an abundance of good traits, which need rons, in line and column, by troops, battalions, only a proper development. They are good-naand regiments. They made night hideous with tured, serviceable and contented. Their faces their humming and buzzing, their creeping and now seemed to us like those of old friends. The crawling, their biting and stinging. It was the very odor of their greasy sheepskins had a sort Grand Industrial Exhibition of the Insects of all of homelike effect. But the main element of our Nations. During the long dark hours, how we satisfaction was the thought that we were free counted the challenges of the guards outside of from any further apprehension of quarantine anour walls, measuring out the night, hour by hour, noyances. There was not another lazaretto be
STEPPES OF SOUTHERN RUSSIA. tween us and the Chinese wall to the east, or the plain, do not rise more than a thousand secs frozen ocean on the north.
above the level of the shores of the Black Sea ; It is not a very creditable confession to make, so that there is no chain of mountains to interbut though both of us had been long enough res rupt the course of the winds that sweep over this ident in the dominions of the Czar to have ac- mighty plain. Descending southward from this quired the language twice over, our acquaintance height of land, the whole country for hundreds was limited to a very scanty stock of phrases. of miles is covered with an almost unbroken forBut we aired our vocabulary most thoroughly. est. A squirrel, it has been said, might journey We shouted to our postillion the words he was from St. Petersburg to Moscow without once 80 accustomed to hear—Pashol, “Go ahead”— touching the ground Gradually the forests disSkory, skory, “ Faster, faster.” He in turn appear, and are succeeded by immense plains, shouted to his horses, harnessed three abreast, still abundantly wooded, the trees standing in flourishing his whip, and uttering all sorts of ad scattered masses and along the river courses, but jurations and excitements to urge them to the becoming less and less frequent as we proceed top of their speed, seeming all the time greatly southward. These are the great wheat-growing astonished that our objurgations were not fol- provinces of the empire, whose abundant prodlowed up in the usual manner by a hearty thwack ucts find their way northward to St. Petersburg, from a cudgel upon his own shoulders:
and southward to Odessa, whence they are carFor some leagues we passed through a broken ried through the Bosphorus to the crowded marts and hilly country. Then we entered the great of Western Europe. steppes—those vast level plains that stretch from As we approach the Black Sea the soil begins west to east in an unbroken line of a thousand to lose its exuberant fertility; trees become more miles, from the borders of Hungary to the base and more rare, and finally wholly disappear; the of the Ural mountains, and two-thirds of that soil is covered with a coarse and abundant herbdistance from the south to the north.
age ; and the whole country assumes a pastoral European Russia consists mainly of a vast rather than an agricultural appearance. This is plain sloping gradually up toward the centre. the country of the Cossacks and the Tartars; the The height of land is midway between the Cas-pasturing grounds of those immense herds and pian and Black Seas on the south, and the White flocks which constitute the wealth of a nomadic Sea on the north. The sources of the Volga, people. the Dnieper, and the Dwina, falling into these The steppes begin where trees are no longer seas, lie not far from each other.
| found. In the spring and autumn, as far as the The Valdai Hills, the highest points in this eye can penetrate in every direction, they stretch
away in one ocean of unbounded green, without | doors during these. The government couriers a tree or a bush, much less a hill to vary the | even are allowed to take refuge in the post-houses prospect. The level line of the horizon is broken during the continuance of a viuga. only by groups of those mysterious tumuli, the The greater portion of the streams dry up durwork of that unknown mound-building race who ing the summer; but they are swollen into toronce held possession of all the fertile unwooded rents by the rapid thaw of the deep snow of win plains of both continents. They have passed | ter. They have all in the course of ages cut away leaving no other memorials than those channels deep into the soft strata, which in summounds of earth, to puzzle antiquarians through mer become dry ravines, intersecting the steppes. all coming generations. The great exemplar of These have usually a depth of a hundred feet and them all was perhaps that structure reared on the more, with steep sides. In the winter the snow plains of Shinar, when the whole world was of is drifted into them, filling them up level with “one lip and one tongue." Here and there oc- the plain. They then become dangerous pitfalls curs a shallow depression, as though the foot of into which men and cattle sink, and their fate some great monster had been stamped into the remains unknown until the melting of the snow soil. In these the water collects, making spots of discloses their relics at the bottom of the ravine. herbage long after the surrounding plains are The climate of the steppes is one of extremes. scorched by the fierce summer sun. The inhab- They have a torrid summer and an arctic winter. itants suppose that from them was taken the The severity of these seasons is aggravated by earth which composes the tumuli; but they are the scarcity of wood and water. For fuel the doubtless to be ascribed to a subsidence of the inhabitants are obliged to have recouree to reeds limestone strata underlying the steppes.
and rushes, eked out by the dung of the countThe inhabitants divide the plants and herbs less herds, which is carefully collected during which grow upon these steppes into two com- summer and dried. This is made up into cakes, prehensive classes. Whatever cattle will eat is and every roof and wall of the solitary dwellings called trava; all that they reject is denominated on the steppes is covered with it, in preparation burian. Go where you will you hear execrations for winter. The scarcity of water in summer is heaped upon the worthless burian. Some spe- a still more serious evil. During the hot months cies grow to a size unknown elsewhere. The the ponds dry up, the streams cease to flow, a thistle not seldom assumes the proportions of a living spring becomes a possession of priceless tree, overshadowing the low dwellings of the in- value. Vegetation is parched and burnt, and habitants, and sometimes attaining a height suf- finally disappears, leaving the surface of the ficient to conceal a Cossack and his horse. To ground black and naked. Day after day the sun one' characteristic species of burian the German rises like a red globe of fire, and glares down colonists have given the name of wind-witch from the brazen sky. Not a particle of shade is From a spongy stalk innumerable fibres shoot to be found except when the dense clouds are out in every direction, till the plant assumes the swept along. They are almost worse than the appearance of a gigantic burr, a yard in diame- unmitigated rays of the sun ; for they mock the ter. It is bitterer than wormwood, and no ex- hopes aroused by their rain-charged volumes. tremity of hunger or thirst will induce any ani- Not a drop do they vouchsafe to yield until their mal to taste it. In the autumn the plant decays course is checked by mountains hundreds of at the root, and detached from the soil, becomes leagues away. Men and animals grow lean and as light and dry as tinder. It is the sport of haggard from the extremity of thirst. The herds every wind. On a gusty day hundreds of them of oxen and horses so wild and fierce a few weeks may be seen careering over the plain, looking in before, are cowed and tamed; or the fiercer and the distance like a troop of wild horses scouring | bolder of them rush madly over the plains snuffaway before some invisible foe.
ing in vain for water. In seasons of unusual The descent of the steppes toward the sea is drought the destruction of animal life is incalcuso imperceptible, that the water runs off but lable. slowly. After the melting of the snows, the Thus it continues for the three summer months. whole plain becomes one deep morass through Early in September come the latter rains. As which it is all but impracticable to effect a pass- if by magic, the face of the steppe grows green age. In the winter a great quantity of snow again, and life in its myriad forms revives. The falls ; but it is heaped in spots into enormous respite is but brief. Before October has passed, drifts, while other places are left wholly bare. cold gusty winds sweep from the Scythian wastes, The snow, which in more sheltered portions of piercing like Cossack lances. In November winthe country, facilitates intercourse, entirely pre- ter gains undisputed sway. cludes it on the steppes. Nobody journeys in It was midsummer, and we were hurrying at winter except the government couriers. The full speed across the extremity of the steppes toinhabitants have a specific name for every spe- ward Odessa, the great emporium of southern cies of snow-storm. One denotes a fall of snow Russia. The air was filled with impenetrable direct from the clouds; another indicates a whirl, clouds of dust, so fine as to resemble vapor. when the snow is driven before the wind like the Looking back, we could trace our course far over shifting sands of the desert. When both of the plain by the dense column which we left bethese phenomena occur together, the storm is hind us. In accordance with the universal cuscalled a viuga. Nobody dares venture out of tom we traveled night and day, for our carriage was a more convenient sleeping place than the are lost from vision in the impenetrable cloud. post-stations where we obtained relays of horses. You pass on, musing of the desert, and the We did not even stop at Bender, famous in the Arabian Nights; of Mohammed flying on swift old Muscovite and Ottoman wars, before the dromedary from the enraged Koreish; and of Turkish frontier had receded far to the west. the camel Barak which bore him to the seventh
Somewhere near this town died Prince Potem- heaven, when the ineffable mysteries of the unikin, the favorite of the great Catherine, who verse were laid bare to his eyes. They seemed added the Crimea to the dominions of his royal strangely out of place here under the walls of mistress. He had set out, as we had done, from this new city. Jassy, sick and outworn. Somewhere in the The rapid growth of Odessa reminds us of that lonely steppe—the precise spot no man knows- of our American cities. It stands on a bold bluff the conqueror felt that the hand of death was overlooking the Black Sea. In front sparkle the upon him. He ordered his carriage to be stop- bright waves, in the rear stretch the immeasurped, and alighted, for he said he would meet able steppes. You can stand in one of its broad death, as a soldier should, on his feet. His re- streets and look southward over the water or mains were borne to Kherson, where but a year northward over the steppe. In either direction before a braver spirit than his had encountered the the horizon is alike unbroken ; the plain of sand last great enemy. A plain obelisk was erected is as level as that of water. over the spot hallowed by the dust of Howard. A little more than half a century ago this The body of Potemkin was interred with solemn barren cliff was crowned by an obscure Turkish pomp in the Cathedral. Not long after, the son fort, bearing the name of Hadji-Bey. It guarded of Catherine ordered the remains of his mother's the harbor which gave refuge to a few miserable paramour to be torn from their resting-place, and Moslem craft, and now and then to a Genoese flung like the carcass of a dog into the nearest | brig that sought the waters once burdened with ditch.
the commerce of the colonies planted by the As we approached Odessa everything be- Italian republics on the shores of the Tauric tokened that we were coming into the neighbor Chersonessus. Russia and Turkey were then at hood of a great city. We dashed past long war, and Potemkin was slowly wresting the caravans of ox-wagons laden with the wheat of shores of the Black Sea from the Sultan. He the Ukraine and the tallow of the steppes; with ordered Ribas, an Italian who commanded the charcoal from the forests of Kisheneff a hundred fleet to take possession of the Turkish fortress. miles away ; with dried reeds and rushes which Catherine fixed upon its site as the spot upon are used for fuel, in default of wood and coal; which to erect a fort to maintain her new dominwith water-melons from the sandy plains in fabu- ions, and appointed Ribas its first governor. The lous quantities. The melons that grow on the Empress favored her new creation; and in Russteppes are the finest in the world. They seem sia a city flourishes in the sunlight of imperial to pump up their rich cool juice from the parched favor—for a season. She submitted to the Acadsɔil, as the olive-trees of Sicily extract oil from emy at St. Petersburg the question as to the what appears to the eye like the bare rock. name to be given to the rising town. The They supply in a measure the want of water. learned savans found that in the time of the old Instead of quaffing a glass of water to quench Greek colonies a city had stood in the neighborthirst, you eat a slice of melon. Here for the hood, called Odyssos, after the “much-enduring first time we saw the camel carts of the Tartars. man" whose name is handed down to eternity in A pair of the huge ungainly two-humped Bac-old Homer's sounding line. So they framed for trian camels, harnessed to an enormous carriage the new city the name of Odessa. of wicker work, led by a Tartar guide, stalk Odessa found little favor in the eyes of the solemnly along, looming large through the dust. fantastic Paul, who could ill comprehend the Slowly they turn their long necks, and fix their great designs of the Northern Semiramis. The patient eyes upon you, as they hear the rattling inhabitants vainly petitioned for the grant of of the wheels, and the shouts of your driver. commercial privileges, backing their supplication Before you have fairly made out their forms, they | by the present of three thousand choice oranges.
The Czar kept the fruit, but denied the petition.
Alexander, upon his accession to the throne, took Odessa into special favor. But the greatest favor of all that he bestowed upon it was sending a great man to be its governor.
Among the French nobles whom the revolution drove from their country, was ArmandEmanuel, Duc de Richelieu. He entered the Russian service, won the favor of Potemkin, and for his bravery at Ismael he re
ceived the cross of St. George and a sword of basin, where they are permitted to unlade, and honor, beneath the smoking walls of the fortress; the passengers are suffered to pass the remainand was afterward appointed governor of Odessa. der of their forty days in the lazaretto on shore.
In 1801, when he assumed the government, The Russians boast that this lazaretto is the the population of Odessa amounted to 9000, of finest in the world. It contains a pleasant little which number only forty-four were artificers. garden with a long arcade running through the Richelieu soon succeeded in attracting large centre, in which some communication may take numbers of workmen to the place, and the city place between the clean and the unclean. Due grew apace. The Emperor granted extraordi- care is taken that there shall be no actual connary privileges to the port. The great wars of tact, nor even any very close proximity. At a Napoleon had turned all the west of Europe in- distance of ten or twelve feet are two wooden to a camp; agriculture languished, and the defi- fences of trellis work, with a close grating of iron ciency of food was supplied by the rich harvests wire midway between them. Those who are of the Ukraine. Once more the Italian mer- performing quarantine are suffered to come up chants found their way into the Black Sea ; and to the inner trellis, while their friends from withOdessa began to take rank among the great com out stand by the outer barrier. They are thus mercial cities of Europe.
separated by three barriers and the intervening Richelieu governed Odessa eleven years, at space. The parties, each with his face flattened the close of which the population numbered against the trellis-bars can shout their confiden25,000. It now exceeds 100,000.
tial communications to each other at a distance All Odessa is eloquent of Richelieu. His of three or four yards. This pleasant gossiping statue stands in the most public place, overlook-place goes by the Italian name of Il Parlatorio ing the harbor; the finest street, the chief public "The Place of Parley.” institutions, the Exchange, the Lyceum, the Merchandise is even more liable to suspicion Theatre, bear his name; the Hôtel Richelieu is of infection than persons. Cotton in particular famous throughout the Russian empire. To see bears a very bad character. Before it can be his monument one needs but look around. admitted into the town, the bales must be open
Odessa occupies the extremity of that immense ed, the contents picked to pieces, and spread over plateau, the sides of which plunge sheer down a grating, where the plague-demon is exorcised into the Black Sea. The perpendicular cliff is by a twelve-hours' fumigation with chlorine. eighty or a hundred feet high. Its edge is occu- Those who perform the work of purifying cotton pied by the esplanade, which forms what would are designated by the name mortusse or “dead be a fine promenade were it possible for it to be men." They are all criminals under sentence of shaded. An avenue of trees has indeed been transportation to Siberia, who are in the eye of planted there, but the soil obstinately refuses to the law defunct. They are clad in black leather, second the laudable efforts of the government. and perform their functions heavily ironed. Some In the centre of the esplanade stands the bronze articles, such as fruits, corn, sugar and the like, statue of Richelieu, from the foot of which a bear a much better character, and are suffered to gigantic flight of steps a hundred feet broad be landed at once. They are placed in a waresweep down to the quay. These rest upon a house, one gate of which opens seaward, the series of arches under which pass the streets other to the land. Into this the goods are leading to the port. Two ravines, which were brought by the sailors. When these have reonce the beds of torrents, form inclined planes turned to their vessel, the sea-gate is closed; from the quays to the city above. The terrace that toward the land is opened, and the goods which overlooks the sea, is lined with stately are delivered to their owners. edifices, built of a white limestone so soft that it Odessa is hardly a Russian city in appearance. may be worked with a hatchet. This is covered Its principal streets are lined with shops with with cement to preserve it from the action of the sign-boards in every language in Europe. Each weather. The adjacent streets running parallel street and square bears a twofold name, in Ruswith the esplanade contain many showy edifices; sian and Italian. The bulk of the population is and broad streets stretch through the meaner por- of course Russian, but the commerce and trade tions of the town far into the steppe. Around are almost wholly in the hands of foreigners. the whole is thrown a wall, not for defense, but | The few vessels belonging to the port which ply for the purposes of the custom-house, the priv- beyond the Black Sea, are almost without excepilege of a free port being limited to the space tion owned by Greek traders. Austria and Sarwithin the walls.
dinia take the lead in the number of vessels that The harbor is tolerably safe, being sheltered enter the port, followed at a considerable distance from the southern gales, though exposed to those by Russia and England. The languages spoken from the east. Three moles stretch far out into are as various as the nationalities of the populathe bay, dividing it into as many basins. One tion. The Russian is the language of the great of these is the quarantine harbor, into which all mass of the inhabitants ; Italian that of comvessels which have passed the Bosphorus must merce; and French that of polite society. enter. Before, however, entering even this, they The intense heat of summer, the constant are compelled to lie fourteen days in the road-stifling dust, the utter absence of shade render stead. If, in the meanwhile, the plague does not Odessa a very unpleasant place of residence. make its appearance, they may then enter the The wealthy inhabitants have used very laudable