« PreviousContinue »
different sizes—any that could be got, who was working in the field, exas Austria does not favour the impor- change with him. He then undertook tation of warlike materials into Mon- to lead the pony, (the animals here tenegro; and to this disparity of metal do not go pleasantly unless led, and may be ascribed the constant difficulty also by some one they are acquainted which the Montenegrian gunuers ex- with,) which he did in the most desperienced in hitting even the island. perate manner, walking at about seven Still they kept the game alive, the miles an hour. No concern of his Turks not giving one shot for three. what became of the knees of the ocThey appeared to have four guns, but cupant, or with what stones or thorns their biggest was on the platform of they might be brought into collision. the chief tower, a screen of masonry When he came to a precipice in the protecting it from lying entirely open road, and there were many, down he to our position on the hill. They fired jumped tugging the beast after him, also several shells, but they did no and not looking behind once. All damage, exploding high in the air. this time the foal kept jamming up At length the Vladika approached the against its mother. It was soon evibest cannon, anxious to display his dent that the dismissal of this youth skill. He took a long aim, and then and his cattle was a sine qua non, as fired, exulting greatly when the ball cautions were vain. But on a sum struck the stone screenwork at top being offered which he considered of the tower. This was just where he less than his due,, having come about aimed, and it was the best shot by a mile, he took his own part in a manfar that I had seen. A little dust ner most edifying in one so young ; seemed to fly, but no further damage. and had the retainers of our party not The reply of the Turks came prompt- been as well provided as he, I bely, but his highness did not honour lieve he would have pistolled the their skill by even ducking below the whole of us. At length, finding his rampart. It lodged in the side of the efforts fruitless, he sprang on the bill several feet below us. We re- pony, and putting her to her best mained, enjoying the interesting scene pace, was soon out of sight. About and beautiful day, till about one the same time we fell in with two o'clock, when the Montenegrian bat- monks from the convent of Bercelli, teries suspended operations from a who were on their way to pay their temporary failure of ammunition. respects to the Vladika. This was Being desirous of passing the night in fortunate, as we had intended to sleep less crowded quarters than the pre- there. These were the only inmates, vions one, we now took our leave of and had the key of the place with the Vladika, and returned to the ham- them. After treating the party to let we had left in the morning; and brandy, one of them tarned back with having with some difficulty procu- He was an old man, and he had red a pony, we set off to get as far to return a distance of twelve miles; on our road to Cattaro as we could, but he never seemed to give this a not returning by Cettigna, which thought. They were dressed in black would have been round about, but gowns, and high black caps. Our entering the Austrian territory above road lay through a populous district, Badua and Castel Astua–Cattaro at and many were the salutations Pepresent lying to the north-west of us. trarca received, coupled with enThe boy who conducted this same quiries respecting us—long conversapony, (a little mare, with a mule foal tions taking place over miles of interrunning beside her) was the most vening hill and dale. This time, I unmitigated savage I have met with believe, I filled the part of the English on my travels, though not more than ambassador. The outward appearten years old. He was the ugliest ance of our quarters, when we arrived, little urchin I ever w-his only was not prepossessing; but the state clothing was a piece of an old sack of dirt of the best room could hardly and ragged opunkas. After gallop- have been anticipated. Its equal-I ing some distance to meet us, his speak advisedly-could not be founı! mind misgave him as to his pistol, out of the country we were in. and he returned and made his father, floors mouldy and rat-eaten
shelves hanging about containing and the mule a drink, by the fort of every kind of rubbish crusts of Stanivitch. This was formerly a bread, a bit of tallow candle in a convent, and under the dominion of bottle-old cups and glasses in dif- Montenegro; but Austria has lately ferent directions, with the remains of become possessor of it, through, I something in the bottom of every one. believe, a pecuniary arrangement with The only covering on the boards the Vladika. His territory, howwhich formed the bed, was a sheep- ever, at no time reached the sea in skin blanket, very old and dirty, look- any part, though this is not distant ing like the mother of fleas. It would above two or three miles; it was now take a page to mention the manifold a military post. A Moravian captain horrors that presented themselves. was in command, who most politely At length, after a late bad supper, I invited us to stay the night, fearing felt repose desirable, be it where it we should be unable to reach Cattaro; might. We had stipulated, however, however, it was then only four o'clock, for the sole possession of this melan- the day was bright, and the sight of choly dormitory, and having made up the sea encouraged us. Besides, I the best bed I could, turned in with noticed a flea on the collar of his coat. loathing; but the cold made one less We thanked him for his kindness, particular, as it was hard frost, and and persevered on our journey, Our the windows had no shutter or fasten- road lay nearly all on the descent, ing of any kind. I found, however, and while it was good, and the there was one exception to our sole daylight lasted, we hurried forward right of tenure; no other than the old with all speed. At length it became priest himself, whom I had shortly to very rocky and precipitous; and, as get up and let in. Poor man! he had the light soon failed entirely, it benowhere else to go; and having given came necessary to mount the portup his luxurious couch, he proposed manteau, as it was not possible for any for himself to court slumber on the biped to sustain it longer on their head, top of an old chest-it looked hard, and to maintain their equilibrium as certainly, and the poor old man seem- well. From very bad, things got to ed ill at ease. All night. he rested much worse. The track, as well as none. He groaned much, and was the whole country, was composed of afflicted with a cough and its usual angular grey rocks, among which, in results; and in each result he labour- the now total darkness, it became ed long and strenuously, as though put nearly impossible to discern the path. ting his whole soul in it, till a severe These stones had a light appearance, shock on the opposite wall showed and it was desirable to avoid bringing the snccessful issue of his exertions. one's shins in contact with them ; but We did not lie in bed next morning if a spot scemed dark, and might be very long after waking, and by six imagined to be soft ground, it proved o'clock were on our road, expressing to be one of the villanous prickly a firm determination to reach Cattaro bushes of the country. This shrub or perish, sooner than pass another grows all over Albania and Dalmatia, night in a Montenegrian homestead. and, I believe, in Italy; it is low and There was no other mule to be pro- bushy, with abundance of flat round cured to-day, so it was a case of seed; the spines are set both ways, riding and tying with the portmanteau. up and down the twig, and are the When the latter walked, it usually most malignant thorns I ever met did so on the head of the poor woman with. Whatever part of your garwho brought the mule. The remainder ments they catch hold of, from that of our luggage consisted of two car- they have never been known to part. pet-bags, and Spiro and Melo slung Presently our road became inhabited one of these upon each of their guns, by a stream of water, and every step and proceeded merrily. We entered that avoided the stones was anklethe Austrian territory by the village deep in mud. How the mule could of Braitsch. The people hereabouts have got on, as I could not see, I are very poor and ill-off. Our way cannot imagine, but the box which it overlooked the sea; below us lay carried was not seriously damaged. Budua. We halted, to give ourselves The two gnides in their opuokas walked firmly, but the others were but an Albanian bulletin might have tumbling frequently. The female who denied even that. had come with us now fairly “com- Before concluding, a few further pounded,” according to the sporting particulars concerning Montenegro phrase, and gave vent to her suffer- will not be out of place. In former ings in tears and reproaches. This days, as I have observed, they were had, however, a reviving effect upon but a den of mountain thieves, danothers of our party, who were near gerous to each other, and unapproachcompounding themselves—for I had able by strangers. At the present rather been holding out the endurance time, no country can boast superiority of this poor woman, who had walked in either of these respects. Indeed, most of the day with a portmanteau in so small a community, crime is on her head, as an example for imita- rare, from the greater certainty of detion. The town of Cattaro at length tection. I speak nothing, of course, became visible far below us, after of border pastimes with their neighalmost the longest three hours I ever bours; and these, possibly, form a passed. At other times, I might have safety-valve to the pent-up propenbeen tempted to derive amusement sities of the inhabitants. This imfrom the mishaps of my friends under portant change has been brought about similar circumstances ; but at present, within fifty years, but, most of all, some of the party had been reduced during the twelve years that the preto such desperation, that I began sent Vladika has reigned. But the sometimes to doubt the favourable Vladikas who have effected this change, issue of our journey. By nine o'clock actuated by the desire of improving the land gates are closed, and this the condition of their people, have been we had heard already strike. The obliged to barter their independence, sea gate is open for another hour. It in a manner, for Russian gold, in order was not till after this, that, having to give them the means of effecting it. gained the coast road which leads to I am not able to say when the subCattaro from the south, we reached sidizing system first commenced, but the town. There, a boat was requisite at present the Vladika, as well as all to take us over the sea gate; but all the officials and senators, receive their the town boats had long since retired, stipends. That of the Vladika amounts, and it took us at least half an hour I believe, to about eight thousand to awake somebody on board a tra- pounds annually; but this may inbacolo in the harbour. When at clude a small tax of, I think, two shillength we were conveyed to the gate, lings on each household, which is paid a small gratuity to the sentinels by the Montenegrians themselves. Of gained us admission, and a little be- the senators, there are forty who are fore midnight we found ourselves once elected by the communes, and paid by more in our favourite inn. We re- Russia. There is also a force of eight mained some days at Cattaro, arrang- hundred men paid, and residing in ing for our departure. During this different districts, which forms an time, we heard that the Vladika had executive police; but there is nothing at length found his task hopeless, and in the shape of a standing army. The abandoned hostilities. He had been, Vladikas are appointed by the empehowever, a week arriving at such a ror in nepotal succession from the conclusion, and the sound of the can- family of Petrovitch. The present nonade was heard during the whole Vladika received his education at St of the time occupied by our return. Petersburg, and several of his ne. It was a pity to see a worthy poten- phews are now there, from whom his tate of moderate means spending his successor will be chosen. I am not pocket - money so fruitlessly. The acquainted with the amount of temphilanthropist will be glad to learn poral power possessed by the Vladika, that no lives were sacrificed during but I should think it was subject to this protracted siege. The Montene- much restraint. I have heard that, grians, more modest than some of our on more than one occasion in the own neighbours on a late occasion of senate, he has been personally threatvery similar glory, laid claim only to ened during the stormy debates which having wounded one man in the fort; have occurred. Though he is generally popular, it would seem that here, as mark to the enemy. The women even elsewhere, there exists a strong party occasionally assist, and at all times opposed to all reform, and pining for carry the ammunition and supplies. the good old days of general license. I used sometimes to think, when meetThe demeanour of the Montenegrians ing one of these armed urchins, how to their Vladika, though respectful, is ignominious it would be to be robbed free and independent. On meeting by him; and yet, were he only cun. him the hand is raised to the head, ning enough to keep out of arm'sor, if near, they offer to kiss his hand. length, I don't exactly know how it This salutation is paid to any ordinary could be helped. The arms of the priest, and occasionally, through all Montenegrians consist of a long gun, Dalmatia, to a stranger like myself. usually very elegantly mounted, the Russia, it will be seen, reigns as com- stock sbort, and curved like a horse's pletely in Montenegro as though its neck; round his waist is a belt with passes were occupied by her soldiers. cartouch-boxes containing the spare The supplies stopped, all would be ammunition, the cartridges for immeanarchy and confusion. Nor do the diate use being in the pistol-belt in Montenegrians object to this in any front. Here, in a leather case, is a way. Their personal independence is mass of arms which occupy the same in no way compromised, and their relative position to the wearer as the laws and usages remain unaltered. youthful kangaroo to its parent; here There is not a single Russian in Mon- are a brace of pistols with a pointed tenegro, and, only knowing them at a pommel, and a yataghan, which is distance, they regard them at present used in these countries to the entire with hearty good-will. The Vladika, exclusion of the sword, and which, however, who reaps the greatest bene- from its position in the belt, does not fits, has, it would appear, to submit get in the way when walking-the to a certain loss of freedom. During ramrod for the pistols also, which in the past summer he visited Trieste the East is a separate arm, containand Vienna ; and I was informed, on ing sometimes a dagger or a pair of good authority, had desired to go to tongs for adjusting the never-absent England, but had been unable to ob- pipe, and a smaller knife is often slung tain the permission of an emperor who on behind. In ordinary times, a yataseems determined no one shall travel ghan or pistol may be dispensed with ; but himself. The Vladika had cer- but whatever may be the occupation tainly expressed to me a hope that he of man or boy, the gun is never left should visit England some time. There behind, whether ploughing, or cutting can be no doubt that it is well worth wood, or carrying the heaviest burwhile thus to secure the alliance of dens. It is almost extraordinary that the Montenegrians, for they would they should thus encumber themselves, prove a bitter thorn in any collision as, within their own boundary, none either with Turkey or Austria. The are so safe, and their mountains seldom country is divided into twelve military afford them a living mark. I believe jurisdictions, under so many captains, it arises very much from a fondness and every man is bound to serve, for the weapon. The greatest care is though by what power, except incli- taken of it, and it undergoes a comnation, I am sure I do not know. I plete cleaning after every shot. The do not imagine that this has been arms of the people in general present particularly provided for, so willing a striking contrast to their dress. On are they to serve uncalled.
the former they spend most of their The population of Montenegro is at spare money, and they are kept in the present time not short of one hun- great order and cleanliness. The dred and twenty thousand souls. Of warriors, when they take the field, these, more than half would be ser- fight more for plunder than for honour viceable were their own territory in- and glory. The spoils of houses and vaded; for every boy of eight years farm-steads, or the arms or heads of old and upwards carries a gun, and their enemies, (a prisoner is never there is no reason he should not point spared,) all form desirable prizes. It it as straight as an older person, pre- must be remembered their service is senting, at the same time, a smaller chiefly voluntary, and they receive no pay. It is not their tactics to expose head-dresses composed of silver themselves much in battle. The grey coins. None of the people seem to be rocks, which suit well the colour of in the habit of bathing or washing, their dress, afford a shelter, from be- and they do not remove their garments bind which they take well-directed at night. The children have often aim. Every man acts to the best nothing but a shirt. As a nation they of his judgment-usually acute where are healthy and robust, though fevers self-preservation is the law; and occur at certain times in some districts. their great activity and powers of Among the men two casts of features endurance enable them, in their diffi- are general ; the one, known among cult country, to contend with many us as the “ Jack Sheppard face"-the advantages against regular troops. In lower parts rather prominent, and the 1838, during a temporary collision nose short and somewhat turned up, with Austria, they gave as good as the complexion and hair very dark. they received, to say the least; and The other is very different, a bright perhaps it was owing to this that peace colour and high handsome features ; was so soon concluded. In such a yet nearly every person one meets country cavalry is out of the question, belongs to one of these two varieties. and horses are seldom used. The The latter is commonest among the Vladika himself possesses a consider tallest men. They have all very good able stud. The dress of the people— teeth, and their expression is intelliat all seasons the same-consists of a gent and good-humoured. As in feawhite coat of coarse cloth, with gene- ture, so in stature, considerable unirally a blue edging, open in front, and formity appears. Their height averages reaching nearly to the knee. This about five feet ten, with great devebas no buttons, but is fastened round lopment of muscle. The women are the waist by a red sash. They are relatively inferior in looks—they are usually shirtless, and their hardy bo- broad and short, seeming to possess soms brave the storm in all weathers. great strength ; but the labour they Around their shoulders is thrown a undergo, and the burdens they carry, description of plaid, generally of a appear inimical to beauty. They have brown colour, about three feet wide often pleasant countenances and good and six feet long; and from keeping brick-dust complexions. The Servian this in its proper position, a slight or Naski here spoken is considered stoop becomes habitual. They have among the purest dialects of Sclavonic wide drawers of blue serge, or some- —it has a very pleasing sound, being times of the material of their coats, softer and more melodious than the which is thicker; of this also are their Russian. My stay was unfortunately leggings formed. Under the opunkas not long enough to obtain much knowis worn a thick woollen sock; but in ledge of it, and this want will suffiwet weather the men and women ciently account for any errors that usually go barefooted. On their head may appear in my descriptions of what is a small round cap of scarlet or black I did not personally witness; for it cloth. Their custom is to shave the prevented that free intercourse with whole of the face excepting the mus- the people, by which a true insight to taches, as well as the sides and crown their manners can alone be acquired. of the head; but from long neglect, it Their laws seem very simple; he who is often difficult to distinguish the fa- kills is killed-shooting being the mode voured localities. Petrarca, in his of execution. He who robs must make avocation of barber, was in the great- good; and, as few of the people are est request. The costume of the wo- in abject poverty, this is usually done. men does not differ widely, but the Should they fail
, a summary flogging coat is longer, and a petticoat replaces is inflicted. At Cettigna is a small the blue drawers-round their waist prison; I believe there is no other. is a belt of great weight, about three When any one is there contined, he inches wide, and of the thickest lea- trusts entirely to his friends for subther, set with cornelians and other sistence. They are good-humoured, coarse stones, mounted in brass. The obliging, and extremely loquacious; red cap is usual, and the hair is often but their continued spitting is very prettily braided. I have seen some disagreeable. I witnessed no gam
VOL. LVII. XO. CCCII,