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    Chapter 35

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    Chapter 36
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    We left a dozen passengers in Constantinople, and sailed through the
    beautiful Bosporus and far up into the Black Sea. We left them in the
    clutches of the celebrated Turkish guide, "FAR-AWAY MOSES," who will
    seduce them into buying a ship-load of ottar of roses, splendid Turkish
    vestments, and all manner of curious things they can never have any use
    for. Murray's invaluable guide-books have mentioned 'Far-away Moses'
    name, and he is a made man. He rejoices daily in the fact that he is a
    recognized celebrity. However, we can not alter our established customs
    to please the whims of guides; we can not show partialities this late in
    the day. Therefore, ignoring this fellow's brilliant fame, and ignoring
    the fanciful name he takes such pride in, we called him Ferguson, just as
    we had done with all other guides. It has kept him in a state of
    smothered exasperation all the time. Yet we meant him no harm. After he
    has gotten himself up regardless of expense, in showy, baggy trowsers,
    yellow, pointed slippers, fiery fez, silken jacket of blue, voluminous
    waist-sash of fancy Persian stuff filled with a battery of silver-mounted
    horse-pistols, and has strapped on his terrible scimitar, he considers it
    an unspeakable humiliation to be called Ferguson. It can not be helped.
    All guides are Fergusons to us. We can not master their dreadful foreign
    names.

    Sebastopol is probably the worst battered town in Russia or any where
    else. But we ought to be pleased with it, nevertheless, for we have been
    in no country yet where we have been so kindly received, and where we
    felt that to be Americans was a sufficient visa for our passports. The
    moment the anchor was down, the Governor of the town immediately
    dispatched an officer on board to inquire if he could be of any
    assistance to us, and to invite us to make ourselves at home in
    Sebastopol! If you know Russia, you know that this was a wild stretch of
    hospitality. They are usually so suspicious of strangers that they worry
    them excessively with the delays and aggravations incident to a
    complicated passport system. Had we come from any other country we could
    not have had permission to enter Sebastopol and leave again under three
    days--but as it was, we were at liberty to go and come when and where we
    pleased. Every body in Constantinople warned us to be very careful about
    our passports, see that they were strictly 'en regle', and never to
    mislay them for a moment: and they told us of numerous instances of
    Englishmen and others who were delayed days, weeks, and even months, in
    Sebastopol, on account of trifling informalities in their passports, and
    for which they were not to blame. I had lost my passport, and was
    traveling under my room-mate's, who stayed behind in Constantinople to
    await our return. To read the description of him in that passport and
    then look at me, any man could see that I was no more like him than I am
    like Hercules. So I went into the harbor of Sebastopol with fear and
    trembling--full of a vague, horrible apprehension that I was going to be
    found out and hanged. But all that time my true passport had been
    floating gallantly overhead--and behold it was only our flag. They never
    asked us for any other.

    We have had a great many Russian and English gentlemen and ladies on
    board to-day, and the time has passed cheerfully away. They were all
    happy-spirited people, and I never heard our mother tongue sound so
    pleasantly as it did when it fell from those English lips in this far-off
    land. I talked to the Russians a good deal, just to be friendly, and
    they talked to me from the same motive; I am sure that both enjoyed the
    conversation, but never a word of it either of us understood. I did most
    of my talking to those English people though, and I am sorry we can not
    carry some of them along with us.

    We have gone whithersoever we chose, to-day, and have met with nothing
    but the kindest attentions. Nobody inquired whether we had any passports
    or not.

    Several of the officers of the Government have suggested that we take the
    ship to a little watering-place thirty miles from here, and pay the
    Emperor of Russia a visit. He is rusticating there. These officers said
    they would take it upon themselves to insure us a cordial reception.
    They said if we would go, they would not only telegraph the Emperor, but
    send a special courier overland to announce our coming. Our time is so
    short, though, and more especially our coal is so nearly out, that we
    judged it best to forego the rare pleasure of holding social intercourse
    with an Emperor.

    Ruined Pompeii is in good condition compared to Sebastopol. Here, you
    may look in whatsoever direction you please, and your eye encounters
    scarcely any thing but ruin, ruin, ruin!--fragments of houses, crumbled
    walls, torn and ragged hills, devastation every where! It is as if a
    mighty earthquake had spent all its terrible forces upon this one little
    spot. For eighteen long months the storms of war beat upon the helpless
    town, and left it at last the saddest wreck that ever the sun has looked
    upon. Not one solitary house escaped unscathed--not one remained
    habitable, even. Such utter and complete ruin one could hardly conceive
    of. The houses had all been solid, dressed stone structures; most of
    them were ploughed through and through by cannon balls--unroofed and
    sliced down from eaves to foundation--and now a row of them, half a mile
    long, looks merely like an endless procession of battered chimneys. No
    semblance of a house remains in such as these. Some of the larger
    buildings had corners knocked off; pillars cut in two; cornices smashed;
    holes driven straight through the walls. Many of these holes are as
    round and as cleanly cut as if they had been made with an auger. Others
    are half pierced through, and the clean impression is there in the rock,
    as smooth and as shapely as if it were done in putty. Here and there a
    ball still sticks in a wall, and from it iron tears trickle down and
    discolor the stone.

    The battle-fields were pretty close together. The Malakoff tower is on
    a hill which is right in the edge of the town. The Redan was within
    rifle-shot of the Malakoff; Inkerman was a mile away; and Balaklava
    removed but an hour's ride. The French trenches, by which they
    approached and invested the Malakoff were carried so close under its
    sloping sides that one might have stood by the Russian guns and tossed a
    stone into them. Repeatedly, during three terrible days, they swarmed up
    the little Malakoff hill, and were beaten back with terrible slaughter.
    Finally, they captured the place, and drove the Russians out, who then
    tried to retreat into the town, but the English had taken the Redan, and
    shut them off with a wall of flame; there was nothing for them to do but
    go back and retake the Malakoff or die under its guns. They did go
    back; they took the Malakoff and retook it two or three times, but their
    desperate valor could not avail, and they had to give up at last.

    These fearful fields, where such tempests of death used to rage, are
    peaceful enough now; no sound is heard, hardly a living thing moves about
    them, they are lonely and silent--their desolation is complete.

    There was nothing else to do, and so every body went to hunting relics.
    They have stocked the ship with them. They brought them from the
    Malakoff, from the Redan, Inkerman, Balaklava--every where. They have
    brought cannon balls, broken ramrods, fragments of shell--iron enough to
    freight a sloop. Some have even brought bones--brought them laboriously
    from great distances, and were grieved to hear the surgeon pronounce them
    only bones of mules and oxen. I knew Blucher would not lose an
    opportunity like this. He brought a sack full on board and was going for
    another. I prevailed upon him not to go. He has already turned his
    state-room into a museum of worthless trumpery, which he has gathered up
    in his travels. He is labeling his trophies, now. I picked up one a
    while ago, and found it marked "Fragment of a Russian General." I
    carried it out to get a better light upon it--it was nothing but a couple
    of teeth and part of the jaw-bone of a horse. I said with some asperity:

    "Fragment of a Russian General! This is absurd. Are you never going to
    learn any sense?"

    He only said: "Go slow--the old woman won't know any different." [His
    aunt.]

    This person gathers mementoes with a perfect recklessness, now-a-days;
    mixes them all up together, and then serenely labels them without any
    regard to truth, propriety, or even plausibility. I have found him
    breaking a stone in two, and labeling half of it "Chunk busted from the
    pulpit of Demosthenes," and the other half "Darnick from the Tomb of
    Abelard and Heloise." I have known him to gather up a handful of pebbles
    by the roadside, and bring them on board ship and label them as coming
    from twenty celebrated localities five hundred miles apart. I
    remonstrate against these outrages upon reason and truth, of course, but
    it does no good. I get the same tranquil, unanswerable reply every time:

    "It don't signify--the old woman won't know any different."

    Ever since we three or four fortunate ones made the midnight trip to
    Athens, it has afforded him genuine satisfaction to give every body in
    the ship a pebble from the Mars-hill where St. Paul preached. He got all
    those pebbles on the sea shore, abreast the ship, but professes to have
    gathered them from one of our party. However, it is not of any use for
    me to expose the deception--it affords him pleasure, and does no harm to
    any body. He says he never expects to run out of mementoes of St. Paul
    as long as he is in reach of a sand-bank. Well, he is no worse than
    others. I notice that all travelers supply deficiencies in their
    collections in the same way. I shall never have any confidence in such
    things again while I live.
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