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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/451

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A LADY'S VISIT TO THE HERZEGOVINIAN INSURGENTS.

sometimes employed on public works; the women receive no education, but are nevertheless subject to the same penalty and incarceration as men. Their ideas of morality are extremely strict, and any breach of decorum is visited with the greatest severity.

Next morning we were awakened betimes by violent storms of rain and wind, for a sou'-wester had set in, bringing with it a thaw. Nothing more dreary could be imagined than the view that greeted us from our bedroom window. A thick mist hung over everything, only allowing glimpses now and then of the wild-looking hills that surround the plain.

On the right rose a round tower, the one whereon Sir Gardiner Wilkinson on his visit to Montenegro had seen the row of Turks' heads hanging, and to which, at his intance, the vladika had removed. To the left lay the new palace, the residence of the prince, with its small piece of garden reclaimed from the surrounding waste, but presenting at that moment only the aspect of mud. Just imagine what were our feelings when, under such circumstances, we received an invitation which was equivalent to a command to dine with the prince that evening! How were we possibly to get across the flooded streets en grande tenue? For such a thing as a carriage has never been seen in Cetigne.

As we were in Montenegro, however, we felt we must do as the Montenegrins do. So, braving the elements, we mounted the little horses that had taken us up the Scala, and trotted across to our destination in time for seven o'clock dinner.

We were soon in the well-lighted, comfortable hall of the palace, where with great difficulty we disengaged ourselves of waterproofs and Ulsters; thence we were shown up-stairs between rows of servants in the national dress. After crossing a small but prettily furnished ante-room, with Eastern carpets and parquet floor, we were ushered into the prince's presence. Unfortunately the princess was too ill to appear, but he introduced us to a dear little fellow of seven, his son, who looked quite bewitching in his Montenegrin costume. The prince has this one son and six daughters. Prince Nicholas talks French with perfect fluency. He spent two years in France, and "all those two years I sighed to be back in Montenegro," he said; adding, "We Montenegrins suffer dreadfully from homesickness when we are away. There is no pleasure in the world to me like hunting the chamois or the deer on my native hills, and feeling that I am amongst my own people."

After a very good dinner, followed by a capital talk, we took leave of our kind host, and returned to our own quarters. The next day the weather was so frightful that it was not possible to dream of returning. So we remained indoors, except when hunger forced us out to get our meals at the hotel. Sunday, however, was nice and bright, and although the ground was rather slippery, we decided on retracing our steps; so, accompanied by a number of the inhabitants who came to bid us farewell and godspeed, we set out on our six hours' journey home, highly delighted at having seen Montenegro, with its quaint institutions and half-civilized people, and wondering if it be destined to remain in the condition it now is, or to be the head at some future date of a large and powerful Slav principality in the heart of Europe.

THE INSURGENT CAMP.

Castel-Nuovo is situated at the entrance of the Bocche di Cattaro, on the border of the Austrian, and what used to be Turkish, territory; but the latter is now in the hands of the insurgents.

Castel-Nuovo itself is at present the headquarters of the Slav committee, and the whole town is in a state of excitement. The marketplace was full of fighting men, buying for Peko's and Socica's camp. The latter was stationed at about two hours' distance, the former two hours farther on. When we asked if we could visit them, "Nothing was easier," we were told; "as the ascent to Lutitz, their headquarters, although steep, was not long." At last, then, our wish to see the insurgent chiefs in their own camp, surrounded by the fighting portion of the Herzegovinians, was to be gratified. One of the poor fellows we had met in the hospital at Ragusa immediately offered his horse, and said "he would act as guide to the place." The only difficulty was how to procure a lady's saddle. Such a thing had never been heard of at Castel-Nuovo. We were not to be defeated in our object, however, and managed, with the help of our kind friend, to whom the horse belonged, to rig out a sort of affair, to which it was, at least, possible to hold on. Luckily, the head of the Slav committee at Castel-Nuovo was going to the camp himself that day, and he offered to accompany us and act as interpreter.

The road lay up a valley, with a mag-