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many respects the most interesting portion of the range, vague

and almost worthless.' Hence to Urusbieh we are led over a series of grass passes at some distance from the main chain. Clouds were once more predominant, and little was seen of the country except the wonderful gorge which leads westwards from Tchegem. During a walk up this cleft our travellers accomplished their single sporting feat—one, however, which, pace the Poet Laureate, we believe to be unique. In the narrowest part of the gorge they came suddenly on a bouquetin, .

caught the wild goat by the hair, and led him back in triumph to the village. At Urusbieh, the next halting-place, the weather, happily, at last mended; we are not surprised, therefore, to find Mr. Grove's impressions of the spot very favourable. The hearty hospitality and intelligence of the chiefs who inhabit it no doubt strengthened the pleasant recollections brought away by the travellers.

From one of these princes' Mr. Grove heard marvellous stories of a vast untrodden forest south of the chain full of beauty and also full of game-deer, wildboar, bouquetin and chamois.' As has been already pointed out, in the Alpine

Journal,' this region is probably identical with the alpine desert’ described by our countryman Mr. Spencer, in a. volume published so long ago as 1838. Mr. Spencer's geography is, as a whole, distressingly vague, but his forest clearly occupies the exact spot where Mr. Grove is inclined to place that of the Urusbieh hunters, that is, the southern spurs of the chain west of Svanety. His description fully bears out . the statements made to Mr. Grove, and he mentions that

every crag was alive with chamois, which, owing to the vast scale of the scenery, appeared about the size of squirrels! The walk up Tau Sultra, a panoramic point (12,000 feet) commanding a superb view of the chain, formed a pleasant prelude to the ascent of Elbruz. Despite first appearances it turned out that the latter mountain had, by the aid of mists, deceived the first English party in making them believe it had but one summit.. • Uno avulso non deficit alter' might well have been the motto.of the chapter in which Mr. Grove records his ascent. To his natural satisfaction Elbruz revealed a second top, probably some feet higher than that climbed in 1868. Thus, instead of merely treading in others footsteps, Mr. Grove was able to complete his predecessors' work and claim the honours of a new ascent. Unfortunately the leader of the party, Mr. A. W. Moore, did not share its crowning success. With singular and self-sacrificing good-nature he had agreed to wait twenty four. hours for some Russian officers who were anxious to share in



the ascent; and this delay proved fatal, for the weather again broke, and a furious windstorm rendered the mountain temporarily inaccessible.

Utchkulan, a large village near the sources of the Kuban, corresponds in position on the west to Urusbieh on the east of Elbruz. There are two routes round the mountain, one over the ice-covered spur connecting it with the central chain, the other across the great rolling downs,' which fall away gradually from the huge volcano towards the northern steppe, where the scenery, if not beautiful, is original in the highest degree,' and the traveller moving from camp to camp of the shepherds, who feed here in summer immense flocks and herds, finds himself, at a day's journey from a gay Russian watering-place, in the midst of the most primitive pastoral life. The inhabitants of Utchkulan seem, with one important exception, specimens of the worst kind of northern Caucasian. Their greedy and contumacious disposition brought our countrymen into great straits. The men of the village, after long delays, broke off the once-concluded negotiations, and it was only through the goodwill and exertions of the chief, who sent round to neighbouring hamlets and collected a troop sufficient to carry the travellers' baggage across the chain, that they were able to proceed. On the march the difficult temper which seems to mark this tribe soon displayed itself. The porters having picked a quarrel over the distribution of the joints of mutton, threatened to desert in a body. Then they lounged at their own pace across the pass, indifferent to all protests.

indifferent to all protests. At the last, however, they appear in a better light. The completion by the travellers of their part of the contract by paying their attendants in full, although they had been dismissed some miles short of the spot agreed on, seems to have touched these hardened consciences. We give the confession and apology of the leader, as reported by Mr. Grove:

"Tell the gentlemen that we feel indeed what noble and honourable persons they are, and how greatly above us. It has been most truly a pleasure to serve them. For those wild, foolish, and miserable words which were spoken two nights ago, we most humbly implore the gentlemen to forgive us.

I did indeed endeavour to restrain the young men, but they were full of folly and violence, and would not listen to me (he had been the worst of them all). Now, in truth, they feel how bad and rude their conduct was (murmurs of assent from the others); and we all pray the gentlemen to forgive us, and to look upon the words spoken as those of mere madmen and idiots, meaning nothing, for madmen and idiots indeed we were when we insulted men so honourable and so much above us. We were dogs and sons of dogs to behave as we did (applause), and indeed the gentlemen may well despise what we said, and look upon it as so much mud, dirt, and mire under their feet (general assent from the rest).'

To reach Lata Mr. Grove had to traverse a rather dull pass, the Nakhar, and the glorious woodland scenery of the Ködor. Both Herr Radde, who once approached Elbruz by this route, and Mr. Grove speak of this valley as a noble specimen of the combination of forest and mountain scenery which distinguishes the Black Sea slopes of the chain. Either this pass or the slightly more westerly Marukh Pass is clearly alluded to in the following passage, which gives a curious picture of the Caucasus in the middle of the fifteenth century :

* From the sea of Bachu unto the sea Maggiore, the streight waie, as it were, by line, is Vc (500) myles. All which grounde is full of mountaignes and valleys, in some places well enhabited by certein Lordes of it (through whose territories no man darr passe for feare of robbyng); but, for the more parte, it is disenhabited. And, if any man wolde determyn to passe that waie, leaving Derbenth, he shulde be constregned first to go through Giorgiana, and then through Mengrelia, on the cost of the sea Maggiore, at a castell called Aluathi, wheare is a mountaigne of so great height that it shall behove him to leave his horse and to clyme up afoote by the rockes, so that betweene ascending and descending he shulde travaill two io'neys, and then entre into Circassia, of the wch I have spoken in the beginneng, and that passaige is only vsed by them that dwell neere it, besides the which in all the said distance there is no passaige knowen, by reason of the difficultie of the places.' *

The Dariel is, it will be noticed, completely ignored by the old traveller. Alua is found on Kiepert's map of the Caucasus close to the Lata of Mr. Grove. Hence an easy ride led the travellers to Soukhoum Kaleh, the term of the journey. But when on the point of quitting Caucasian shores they unluckily caught and carried away with them an unpleasant remembrance in the form of fever. Their experience is a warning that every precaution should be taken in the low-lying districts along the coast, not only by abstaining, according to Mr. Galton's advice, from the ablutions in tempting streams to which Englishmen are by habit inclined, but also by taking preventive doses of quinine.

Mr. Grove does not pretend to offer any very solid information on scientific or political topics. His book is the journal of a holiday tour carefully re-written and thrown into a pleasant literary form. He seems to have made up his mind to be content with recording the facts which came under his own

* Travels of Venetians in Persia, p. 87, Hakluyt Society's Publications for 1873.

notice, and giving a cheerful and vivid picture of a journey in the mountains. In this aim he has fully succeeded under peculiar difficulties. To be accompanied during a tour, necessarily limited in time, by a pillar of cloud which wets you to the skin both by day and night, and blots out what you may never have the chance to see again, is a sore trial to human patience. Bad weather in a mountain inn is vexatious; in a sleeping-bag it must be a good deal more. Yet none of the gloom we might expect is reflected on these pages. When any scenery, can be seen Mr. Grove is always ready to be pleased with it, and to describe it with appreciation; when there is none, and this is only too often the case, he finds a resource in the people amongst whom his party are thrown. The distinguishing merit of the volume lies in its admirable description of the mountain tribes of the northern Caucasus. Their character has, we feel, been studied with care and humorous appreciation, and we are convinced that there is little extenuated and nothing set down in malice in the estimate of them here expressed. This latter quality deserves especial praise. Travellers too often, despite difficulties of language, expect the inhabitants at once to understand and meet their wants, and abuse them whenever they do not. Mr. Grove shows himself superior to this weakness, and even the peculiar provocations of Caucasian indolence and Eastern indifference to time, whatever effect they may have had at the moment, have never succeeded in putting him into a permanent bad temper.

The impression of the northern Caucasian tribes left on our mind is, on the whole, distinctly favourable. The Mohammedan mountaineers whom Russian policy has allowed to remain in the northern Caucasus seem, according to their lights, honest and peaceable men, of whom as subjects any empire might be proud. It is impossible, of course, for a tourist not to be struck and irritated at the oddity of prices being everywhere adapted at a moment's notice to the new demand, so that travellers are in this primitive region constantly imposed on in the most unromantic manner. Possibly the inordinate love of talk frequently referred to by Mr. Grove may in part account for this unexpected difficulty. Where the males of a community have many hours of leisure without literary pursuits they can scarcely be blamed for making the most of any topic that comes within their reach. A bargain may naturally appear to them what a scandal in high life is to idlers nearer home, something too precious to be dismissed under a week at least; and the unreasonable impatience of the traveller in cutting


it short, a selfish luxury which it would be difficult to tax too highly.

The second volume on our table completes without repeating · The Frosty Caucasus.' Herr von Thielmann, was to be expected from a German diplomatist, gives us a great deal of solid matter. None perhaps of the previously published books on the Caucasian provinces contains so large an amount of information for the intending traveller. There is a general account of the Caucasus and its inhabitants, a good sketch of the last wars in Daghestan and the career of Schamy), and an appendix full of excellent practical advice and skeleton routes, which exactly supplies the information Mr. Grove did not care to offer. The author's, travels embraced Persia and Bagdad, and we have here to deal with only one-half of the original German volume, equalling the first volume of the English edition. Herr von Thielmann's journey in the Caucasus lay in great part over tolerably beaten ground. From Kutais he went by the ruins of Ani to Erivan, visited Ararat, returned by the postroad to Tiflis, crossed the Dariel to Vladikafkaz, and thence followed the Russian roads through Daghestan to the Caspian. But he made one or two digressions which give his tour novelty to the English reader, who gets from him a description of the luxuriant hills of the Tzchenis Tzchali,* and of a panorama of the main chain of the Caucasus from one of the spurs overlooking the sources of the Ingur, whence he took a Pisgah-view of the Promised Land of Svanety, without himself venturing among its Philistines. For some startling inaccuracies in the description of the chain seen from this point, it is not the German author, but his translator, who is responsible. The English translation, although generally fluent, requires a careful revision, especially in the descriptive passages. Again, on leaving Tiflis, Herr von Thielmann makes an excursion into the great wine-district of Kakhety, where the Alazan flows at the foot of the forest-girt and snow-capped wall of the eastern Caucasus through a vale rich in vineyards and bright with villages, and amongst low hills covered with beechwoods which astonish Europeans, and to Asiatics are a revelation of undreamt-of beauty. But even while he traverses roads already described, the author is a pleasant companion. His story is

In this instance we follow Von Thielmann's spelling. Caucasian nomenclature is in the utmost confusion. It is impossible always to adopt the German rendering of native names. Captain Telfer's method often produces a result too uncouth and complicated for general use.

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