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walked his regiment to the river bank outside the wood), but mainly by the small body of men led by Simmons and Dymock across the river, and who, alone and unsupported, carried the battery in reverse. Mr. Oliphant, indeed, himself remarks, that of the Turkish officers generally, the less said the better. Nobody takes much notice of them while fighting is going on; and indeed it is only then, when, in the excitement of the moment, men from Omer Pasha downwards speak the languages which are most familiar to them all, that one discovers how many foreigners there are in the Turkish army, and how really dependent that army is for its triumphs upon them..
After a desultory reconnoissance the whole army moved to Sugdidi, the principal place in Mingrelia. The town itself, which is composed of two streets of wooden houses, shaded by avenues of beech-trees, a square, and the palace of the Princess Dadiane, was deserted. Guards were placed at all the entrances of the palace to protect the property, and sentries were also posted at the church and in the streets. Plunder was strictly prohibited, and was, indeed, as far as the Turks were concerned, limited to a few fowls, but the Abkhasians would seize upon the handsomest boys and the prettiest girls, tear them shrieking from their agonised parents, and, swinging them on their saddle-bow, gallop away with them through the forest.
From Sugdidi all the commissariat animals had to be sent back to Godava, a distance of forty miles, for provisions. This was the beginning of those delays which soon proved fatal to the campaign. The weather was at this time so beautiful, Mr. Oliphant remarks, that they might have continued their march without tents, and thereby rendered available the services of a thousand more baggage-animals; or if the whole army was unable to go in pursuit of the Russians, a division might have pushed on without very much risk, considering the utterly demoralised state of the enemy's troops. That every day was of the utmost value was subsequently proved by the fact, that if they had arrived upon the banks of the Skeniscal two days earlier, they would have reached Kutais in twentyfour hours afterwards.
Sugdidi was, however, too delightful, too seductive a spot, and the camp was not struck till the 15th of November, when the whole army once more moved forward, the Rifles, as usual, leading the way. The road lay through an undulating, well-wooded country, with stockades constructed in available positions to Chetha, where were extensive barracks and depôts of provisions destroyed by the Russians, and which might probably have been saved had the Turks pushed on rapidly after the passage of the Ingur. The following day three hours' march took them to the lovely valley of the Khopi, with monastery of same name perched upon a bank about three hundred feet high overhanging the stream. This fine old ecclesiastical structure dates, according to Dubois de Montpereux, from the thirteenth century. On the 17th, soon after leaving Khopi, they struck the macadamised road which connects Redut Kalah with Kutais and Tiflis. The army did not follow the direct road to Kutais by Utch-Kumursh to Kutais, Mr. Oliphant tells us, in order to keep open direct communication with Redut Kalah. They encamped the same night at Kholoni, upon a hill which overlooked the plain of the Rhion-the ancient Phasis. On the 18th they continued their march along the same well-known and magnificent road, the bridges, however,
having been everywhere destroyed, and they encamped at Sakharbet, upon the river Ziewie, a lovely spot, with a waterfall and ruined castle. From this point the transport animals were again sent baek for provisions, causing a second and fatal delay. Skender Pasha, with a small advance guard, occupied Sinakia, five miles in advance, and after Sugdidi the most considerable place in Mingrelia, and was busily employed in constructing a bridge. Ferhad Pasha also pushed a reconnoissance as far as the Skeniscal, where he had a skirmish with the outposts of the Russians, who had gradually retired until they had placed that river between themselves and the invaders..
Mr. Oliphant, for his part, does not appear to have found the delay tedious. He took long exploratory rides in the neighbourhood in search of poultry and the pieturesque.
The weather had hitherto been so lovely that the country-people believed that the invaders had Providence in their favour; but at last the long-expected rain came, and the first thing it did was to carry away poor Skender's bridge; the next, to sweep down the bridge which had been constructed across the Ziewie, and to cut off all communication between one half the camp and the other. The rain was incessant, and at last, upon the morning of the 2d of December, in the middle of a tremendous storm, the army received the order to march. This was after a fortnight's delay on the Ziewie! The Techoua was crossed the second day by a fragile foot-bridge, pontoons, and a ford with the water up to the men's waists. The army encamped the same night near a small stream; the Rifles, with whom Mr. Oliphant held on, in a muddy field of Indian-corn stubble. The third day they camped at a distance of about two miles from the Skeniscal. All night it poured incessantly. “Never, except in the tropics, and even rarely there,” Mr. Oliphant says, “have I witnessed such a deluge.” A little before dawn the rattle of small arms announced that the weather had not deterred the enemy from attempting a surprise.
Reconnoissances were now carried out to find a ford, but the river was at least two hundred yards broad, and rushed down with a fury that nothing could withstand. Forest trees were tossing upon its boiling surface-islands of vegetable matter were being swept along it. The incessant rains in the mean time reduced the camp to a deplorable state. The tents were flooded, the men literally packed in mud, provisions were running short, ague and fever becoming rife. At length, on the 8th of December, the weather showing no signs of improvement, the order came for retreat. This, while they were within two hours' canter of Kutais, whither after one more struggle at the Skeniscal, or at Mehranie, two miles beyond, where it was said Bebutoff had taken up his position, they might long ago have been in comfortable winter quarters, bad it not been for fatal delay.
As it was, no other course remained but to retreat, for the river had become utterly unfordable. The news of the fall of Kars had also arrived the night before. The Rifles, who were in advance on the march inland, formed the rear-guard on the retreat. They had to be under arms before anybody else, and did not get under canvas until the rest of the army was snug,
“ If Turkish pashas,” Mr. Oliphant remarks, “ are adverse to advaneing, they certainly do not show the same antipathy to retreating, and leaving their men to find their own way. They invariably keep
well ahead; the consequence is an utter absence of order just when it is most necessary.” Upon arriving on the banks of the Abasha, five hundred mounted Georgians made a show of attack, which was repulsed by the Rifles with a loss of about twelve men on the part of the enemy, and no casualty on the side of the Turks. Upon this occasion, Bu Maza, the Algerine chieftain, distinguished himself by getting into the line of fire of both parties
The Cossacks kept on the next day hovering as closely as possible on the rear, and several little traps were formed for them by hiding the Rifles in the bushes. “They were, however,” Mr. Oliphant says, as shy as grouse in October, and only once came within shot.” Horses lying dead by the roadside showed that the work was beginning to tell; while many of the men were so knocked up with fatigue and starvation that they could scarcely crawl along. The Georgians now began to shoot the sentries at night. At length Mr. Oliphant, finding that no glory but a great deal of discomfort was to be gained by linking his fortunes with the Rifles, determined upon leaving his quondam friends in the lurch and pushing ahead as rapidly as possible. Some respite was afforded at Kholoni, but sick and ill, the rain falling incessantly, and with no resources of any kind, Mr. Longworth joined Mr. Oliphant in an attempt to effect their escape
thence to Redut Kalah. It was a painful and laborious journey. They had to plough their way wearily along past waggons hopelessly imbedded in mud, bullocks lying down to die, and files of dispirited soldiers. At Chorga they got the shelter of a pigsty, by first turning out its grunting occupants. It was only twelve miles from Chorga to Redut Kalah, but the road had become almost impassable, and it was not till he was nearly exhausted by illness, cold, wet, fatigue, and starvation, that our traveller, spreading his blankets on a wooden floor, lay and enjoyed the blaze of a genial fire. At Redut Kalah tobacco was also procurable, and when, Mr. Oliphant remarks, “a man has a pipe to smoke and a fire to look at, what can he desire further to render him supremely happy and contented ?" Thus ended Mr. Oliphant's share in the campaign, and which terminated something like the campaign itself, in smoke! There is no doubt that the original cause of failure lay in the delays which occurred in acquiescing in Omer Pasha’s plan, and in sending him the troops and means necessary to ensure success; but owing to a fine season prolonged to an unusually late period of the year, there is also little doubt that with a little more activity and energy, the Sirdar Ekrem might have established his head-quarters at Kutais before the wet season set in, and where he would have received the adhesion of the Princess Dadiane, as well as that of the principal families of Imeritia and Guriel. He would, indeed, by that occupation, have deprived Russia of four provinces (two of which are amongst the most valuable of her possessions beyond the Caucasus), containing altogether a population of about 500,000 souls, and an area double that of the Crimea. But to say as a result of this petty campaign, carried on when the Russian army was engaged before Kars, that it places Omer Pasha before the world as the foremost man of the war, is as unjust to a really meritorious officer, as it is to those other commanders who triumphed over difficulties of a very different erder, by a rare perseverance and the most praiseworthy skill and courage.
MISS COSTELLO'S “LAY OF THE STORK.'
WELCOME as in the cities of the North the return of the storks, welcome to us the reappearance of LOUISA STUART Costello in her singing robes.
She has discarded them too long.t Like the stork, she has been out of sight (not out of mind) for what seems a long winter of our discontent.
The Lay of the Stork is a charming production-happy in design and framework, graceful in expression, musical in cadence and rhythmic How, warm in feeling, elevated and elevating in the casuistry of the conscience, in the ethics of the heart. Imagination inspires the treatment of the story, while a sound practical purpose “solidifies” its character, and a pervading presence of religious feeling sanctifies its very being's end and aim. If only for that section of the poem which, with tasteful exclusion of all personal reference or clap-trap details, pays fervent homage to the mission of Florence Nightingale and her noble sisterhood, like-minded and high-hearted all,—if only for that picture of Scutari,
Where lie the sick on beds of pain,
Unconscious of the scene all light,
The foe and friend, the low, the high,
The Turk, the Arab, mingled lie.
That seem all wants, all pains to know:
As on from couch to couch they go:if but for this commemoration of the Daughters of England, the Lay of the Stork deserves to be had in high and lasting remembrance. But it has other claims to such distinction; other claims, neither feeble nor few.
In a brief introduction we are referred for the origin, or occasional cause of this poem, to the following incident. “A young German lady of eighteen, had a fancy, a few years ago, to discover to what region the storks repaired on quitting a northern climate, and for that purpose attached to the neck of a tame one a letter, in which she begged for an answer from whoever found it, informing her of the place where the bird alighted, and any other particulars attending it. The bird was shot by an Arab, in Syria, and her letter, copied by him, without understanding its language or import, was sent to the Prussian Vice-Consul, at Beyrout, who courteously addressed the desired communication to the young lady.” In an Appendix the correspondence which followed is given,
* The Lay of the Stork. By Miss Louisa Stuart Costello, Author of the “Memoirs of Anne of Brittany,” &c. London: W. and F. G. Cash. 1856.
† We allude, of course, to doings in verse, not prose. In prose writinghistorical, topographical, biographical, and miscellaneous—her labours have been as numerous and agreeable as they are un-laboured.
with a copy of the original letter, as transcribed by the Arab who shot the bird, Aabraim Aaloss by name.
Enough in such an incident for one of Miss Costello's poetical instincts and culture. Given this key-note, her voluntary follows. On this hint she speaks-or sings rather---sings with full heart, and silver-clear soft voice (excellent thing in woman!), the story of Chasida, the Lay of the Stork.
Lila, an orphan maid, dwells alone in a sequestered castle, that rises above a little silent bay of the meandering Neckar. Lila is wealthy, young, and fair; but the happiness of Lila's love is bestowed on no human suitor; a bird is its only recipient—that Stork of which this Lay records the home-joys, the flitting, and the fate. Lila can interpret the glees and catches of every pretty warbling choir of bird voices, and the mystic whisper of the breezes to the waving grass, and the bubble of the waters on the glittering sands; and in her radiant youth she already knows, what 1 Penseroso aspirations would fain secure in time of
And every herb that sips the dew. In vain kinsfolk and friends rally the recluse, and seek to “bring her out," and exchange stork-society and star-gazing for the conventionalism of courtesies and courtship ad libitum. Though a recluse, she is no misanthrope, no soured sentimentalist, absorbed in the luxury of selfish reverie. On the contrary, she scatters bounty with the large-handed freedom that beseems and bespeaks her large-hearted nobility; she can scheme good devices for her suffering fellows, and can bring the good schemes to good effect. Yet is there a hollow spot, and an aching, in that gentle heart of hers. A sense of human vanity presses cruelly at times on all her mind and soul and strength. The position and prospects of her sex puzzle her will. Her own maidenly but exceptional position and prospects—grave matter these suggest of reflection, speculation, pensive moody musings. Her study of Aowers, and skies, and the majesty and mystery of mountains, is all in the hope to learn from then the • spell of happiness,” and to hear from them that one word for which she yearns by day and night. Love she has seen by glimpses, felt by snatches—but where, what is the one full meaning of that one word ?
All things promise love around,
I can prize, can cherish all ;
Nothing answers when I call,
Waiting, shrouded as before. Quousque tandem? How long, how long? Why, reader, thereby hangs the tale of the Stork ; for from the far-away death of the wandering bird is kindled the new life in love of the wistful maiden.
She would fain unravel the mystery that attends the path of the storks. She would fain follow them, in her mind's eye, as, dividing en route, some among them speed back to old Nile, and some to “ Asian rivers lone, by wild sculptured rocks and caves” sacred to India's twice ten-thousand deities. Dear to her is the stork, however wanting in charms of plumage