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THE Government of Russia is suspicious of all strangers. Any one who would enter that empire must have his passport ready, in due form, and his baggage free from everything resembling dynamite.
Thus prepared, we went on board the Austrian-Lloyd vessel, in the Bosphorus, and steamed out into the Black Sea. It seemed as if we had plunged into an unknown world, for we had few fellow passen- gers.
None of the officers could speak English with sufficient fluency to make conversation in that language very brisk; and my own French was no more available than their English. We had comfortable quarters, how- ever, a good table, and fair weather; so that the five days were not unenjoy- able.
It was a beautiful, clear morning when we drew near Batoum, where we must leave the vessel. This town, which has the finest harbor at the east end of the Black Sea, lies along the low curved shore; and beyond it rise the beautiful mountains which form the extreme spurs of the Taurus range on the south, and the Caucasus to the east.
Some of the higher peaks were covered with snow, and so lent a graver aspect to the scene. It was still early morning when we dropped anchor, and the port officers came promptly to examine the ships papers.
We watched the proceedings with interest, and expected soon to be on shore; but suddenly a change appeared in the captains face, and, although we could not hear the conver- sation, we saw that he was troubled, and that the officers from shore were preparing to return and leave us alone.
Another token was only too plain. The dreaded yellow flag went slowly up to the mast-head. For some unknown reason, we were evidently in quarantine. We soon learned that the Russian consul at Constantinople had designated our vessel as from Copyright, x, by the New England Magazine Company, Boaton.
Italy, where cholera was raging. The captain did not read Russian, and was not aware of the mistake until he presented his papers at Batoum, and found himself condemned to a ten-days detention in quarantine.
It was not a cheerful prospect. The day did not seem one-half so bright as before. Never did the telegraph seem such a blessing; for it was hoped that a telegram to Constantinople would correct the mistake and release us.
We passed the day on deck, enjoying as well as we could the delightful air, and beautiful views of sea and mountain.
At sundown, the officers returned, the yellow flag was lowered, our passports were demanded, and we were free to go ashore. What a sense of relief!
We were glad to be in that Russian town, even though its people were all strangers, and its language unintelligible to us. Batoum is in a transition stage. It is one of the points which were transferred from Turkish to Russian control by the Berlin treaty, in i Already it shows the effects of the change.
Many new houses have been erected, the streets have been straightened, and some of them are paved. The old part of the town is gradually disappearing before the advance of improvement, and the activity of business enterprise appears at every turn.
On leaving Batoum, we had our first experience on a Russian railway. The cars are unlike ours in America.
They resemble the Swiss carriages more than any I have seen elsewhere. The car is entered from the side, by a door close to the end.Carnival cruise deals and cruise packages to the most popular destinations.
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