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who, with the exception of religious instruction, were on the same educational footing in all respects as the Kirghiz scholars. The club, a small room where weekly dance and card parties were held, scarcely large enough to hold half a dozen ladies in crinolines, M. Pashino hints, but as the Fort could not muster more than half that number, this was perhaps, of little consequence. Here, later in the day, he saw some games at chess played on boards of card-paper, the chess-men being exquisitely modelled in fine white flour! Also, the dock of the Aral flotilla, concerning which strange to say he tells us nothing whatever; and lastly, a very fine garden on the bank hardby, belonging to the commander of the flotilla, containing some vines six feet high, which in the preceding year had produced forty poods or fourteen cwt. of the finest grapes, a fact deserving notice as significant of the agricul. tural capabilities of this part of the country. At an evening party at the commandant's house, M. Pashino met the Fort chaplain, Father Alexander Pobedonoscheff, whose reputation as an experimental agriculturalist, he tells us, is known far and wide, even amongst the Kirghiz, and whose views upon this subject he gives at some length. And so the day ended.
Upon the whole, the picture of detachment life at Fort No. 1, is a homely and agreeable one, and we readily believe that it was with a feeling of sincere regret that M. Pashino took leave of his kind entertainers, and resumed his journey on the following morning.
The road betwixt Forts No. 1 and 2 follows the right-bank of the river pretty closely, over ground which although not exactly hilly can yet scarcely be described as flat. Much of it is salt-marsh, at this season dotted over with pools whose frozen surfaces were amongst the few remaining signs of winter. The snow had all disappeared. Now and again came the posthouses or huts, occupied by a couple of Cossacks and their families, sometimes standing alone, sometimes in company with a few Nomade huts, outlying posts of the migratory hordes of Kirghiz who roam the Russian territory, from the deserts of Siberia to the banks of the Syr Daria. This portion of the journey, in length about one hundred and thirty English miles divided into eight post stages, presented little variety.
Each succeeding morning, M. Pashino tells us, brought the same scene before the eyes of the traveller with his matitunal cup of coffee, the Kirghiz equipage, the Kirghiz teams, the grand but unspeakably wearisome monotony of the steppe, flecked here and there with snowy blossom-like patches, formed by distant grazing herds of cinnamon-coloured and white skewbald cattle. From Fort No. 1 he was accompanied by a Cossack escort, and a noticeable effect of their presence was the reduction of the charge for post-horses from two and a half to one and a half kopecks per horse per mile.
The Cossacks have a great contempt for the Kirghiz, but we do not find in M. Pashino's pages any evidence of positive ill. feeling between them. One fertile source of bad blood would seem to be wanting. The Nomade tribes in those portions of the country which have been occupied by the Russian troops, he tells us, are remarkable, not only for the absence of all Mahommedan prejudice, but of any pretence to chastity among their women. Single females of all ages are common, and the married ones are blessed with the most facile of husbands. But we must return to the route. At one point, the road, perhaps we should rather say the track, traversed a wide reach of the river, over whose frozen surface the travellers had to pass on foot in the chill morning air, wrapped in their fur coats, shivering and floundering for a couple of versts over two glassy fields of semi-transparent indigo.coloured ice.
The extraordinary abundance of birds was a very striking feature here, contrasting most forcibly with the utter dearth of every other discription of animated existence. Partridges, a species of “hazel grouse," pheasants, quails, &c., were found by the way-crows and vultures hovered warily overhead-above all was observable the incredible number of wild-fowl. This, the Kirghiz predicted, betokened the speedy breaking up of the river.
“ See! even the gulls have come up,” said they, and the prediction eventually proved to be correct.
A native, in describing the abundance of wild-fowl hereabouts, once told M. Pashino that “in spring time their numbers darkened the noon-day sun," and he adds that this observation was indeed scarcely an exaggeration, the quantity was truly prodigious. Long files of wild-geese speckled the clear blue sky ; beneath them, clamorous flights of wild-ducks noisily winged their way northwards in less orderly array; whilst the numbers on wing were far exceeded by those reposing upon the banks of the river or huddled together on the pools formed by the melting of the snow.
M. Pashino does not appear to be much of a sportsman, but he tells us, he had with him an "attendant" embued with a love of sport, who despite the pace at which the cortège was moving lost no opportunity of slipping off to indulge his game-destroying proclivities.
This attendant is, we presume, the “party," if we may be permitted so to designate bim, depicted by the artist on another occasion, in a tasteful quasi-military uniform similar to that worn a few years back by our own out-pensiouers, on his knees, stalking a cockpheasant, to the extreme astonishment of an extraordinary looking dog. In the present instance the travellers had no dog ; the retrieving was performed by the Cossacks of the escort. Nevertheless, the exertions of the attendant aforesaid were re
in findings who after travellers wethe morning,
warded by a heavy bag, and the vehicles arrived at Fort No. 2, laden inside and out like poulterers' carts.
Fort No. 2 was reached early in the morning, while the garrison was yet asleep. The travellers were met on the drawbridge by the sentry, who after a seemingly interminable search, succeeded in finding the key, or rather the soldier who kept the key of the travellers' quarters in which M. Pashino was forthwith installed—a fairish room, which evidently had not been entered for months. Long festoons of spiders' webs hung from corner to corner, and the walls and floor were covered with dust. But these impediments were speedily set aside, and the never failing samovar prepared. Immediately afterwards, two soldiers entered bearing on their backs huge crackling trusses of dried reeds, the fuel of the country, which they cast on the floor blocking up the greater part of the apartment. But before the samovar was ready, the commandant put in his appearance with an invitation to M. Pashino to become his guest. Those who have travelled along the Syr Darian route, it is added, will readily believe that the invitation was soon accepted, and in M. George Michaelovitch, and Madaine Kasaroff, a host and hostess were found possessing every quality a traveller could desire. The day passed very agreeably—the intervals of business, that is to say, the times betwixt meals, being passed in conversation, and in looking over some recent files of the Invalide Russe.
Fort No. 2 stands on the right bank of Syr Daria, upon the supposed site of the ancient Karmaksu, near the confluences of two small tributaries. It has a far more commanding appearance than Fort No. 1, which is mainly due to the presence of a sort of loop-holed caponniere of burned-bricks erected at the north-west angle, and visible at some distance from the post. The opposite bank of the river consists of low-lying flats of coarse grass, intermingled with patches of sand and shingle destitute of vegetation. Within the fort itself, the utmost care in cultivation and irrigation had hitherto failed in rearing a single shrub, as for more than half the year the soil is literally baked by the sun. There is no settlement here. The population comprised the conmandant and his wife, a subaltern, a doctor, and seventy soldiers. Chaplain there was nove, and the building designed for a church bad neither inconostasis nor altar. There were no shops, necessaries of every description being procured from Fort No. 1, or from the trading caravans. Fish are very abundant, and are caught with spears and nets, but few of the Cossacks take kindly to this pursuit. M. Pashino refers to the Syr-Daria as a dull leaden-looking volume of water, a peculiarity possibly caused at this season by the melting of the snow; but at least one of its tributaries in this neighbourhood, he describes as having a stony bottom and marvellously blue clear water. We learn that besides abundance of large pike, which are found among the reeds, there
of sand W;lying
are great quantities of an excellent small fish, a species of shad. It is mentioned as a memorable event in the annals of the fort, that a single specimen of the sterlet that bonne bouche of Russian epicures, was caught there in the Syr-Daria in the year 1864. '
In accordance with the predictions of the Kirghiz, the river broke up during the night; and on the succeeding morning M. Pashino was on his way to Fort Perovski.
The distance between Fort No. 2 and Fort Perovski is one hundred and thirty-four and a quarter versts or about one hundred English miles. It is divided into five post-stages. The lastnamed post was reached late on the 29th March, and the travellers put up for the night in a Kirghiz settlement in its neighbourhood.
Fort Perovski, so named after the well-known Russian Commander, was built in 1853. It 1866 it was, according to our author, “a sorry specimen of the Steppe defences.” The entrance was through a tumble-down gateway formed of large balks of timber which had been originally brought from Orenburg, at a cost of twenty-five to forty roubles, or £3 158 to £6 each. The interior presented an irregular assemblage of one-storied dwellings and shops. One of the largest bungalows served as the Military Lieutenant-Governor's residence, and part of it as the quarters of the main-guard. Besides having a Commandant and Garrison Staff, Fort Perovski is the residence of the Military LieutenantGovernor of the district, and of a Natscholnick or civil-commissioner who exercises magisterial functions over the Kirghiz, and superintends the collection of the tax. The latter amounts to four roubles or twelve shillings English, per hut.
Many of the Kirghiz pay in sheep, but these never find their way into the hands of the Commissioner ; they remain with the chiefs, who collect the tax and hand over the sum they represent to the authorities. The magisterial duties are light, as the majority of the Kirghiz prefer to settle their disputes before their own chiefs, in accordance with the “yeca” or precepts of GenghizKhan. The more truculent portions of this traditional code are stated to have been ameliorated of late years in imitation of the Russian system. Kirghiz infringements of Russian laws are usually visited with fines, but the amount collected annually from this source is small.
Inquiries as to the aniount of commercial business transacted at Fort Perovski show returns little, if at at all, inferior to those of Fort No. 1. Here, however, it is chiefly with the return caravans. The estimated annual value of the trade of Fort Perovski is over 80,000 roubles (£12,000). A good deal is done in articles of Russian manufacture, such as ironware goods, which the Kirghiz have only lately learned to prefer to those of the Bokharian make.
. The necessaries of life were very dear at the time of M. Pashino's visit. As an instance in point, he quotes the price of of sugar - eighteen roubles the pood, or eighteenpence the pound.
The climate is magnificent save for one drawback not unseldom associated with the vicinity of large streams, the plague of gnats, wbich here attack men aud horses alike. It is the custom in the summer season, to protect the latter with white linen clothing on this account.
The soldiers and their families are accommodated inside the Fort. Upon discharge, they frequently take up their abode in an extensive suburb outside the defences. The adjacent banks of the river are lined with melon grounds, and vegetable gardening is carried on to a considerable extent and with good success. Regard. ing the advantages of soil and climate, and the apparent possibility of establishing extensive fisheries here, M. Pashino is disposed to think that Fort Perovski would be an important point in any scheme for the military colonization of the Syr Daria-a project which, he believes, if carefully carried out with a due regard to the non professional antecedents of the discharged soldiers selected as settlers, so as to secure those best fitted for the pursuits of agriculturists and fishermen, would be likely effectually to develop the resources of the country.
(To be concluded in our next.)
project to the nonsektlers, so anal fis
CONTRABAND OF WAR.
(Concluded.) Following the method of German jurisconsults who distinguish between the subject, the object, and the action, a method which M. Basily is disposed to think might be advantageously adopted in the consideration of questions of international law, we have now to investigate the action of contraband of war, that is to say, the acts which constitute an infraction of neutrality in regard thereof, and the means of repressing the same.
The carriage of contraband of war by sea constitutes the act of contraband. This definition, M. Basily tells us, is based upon the following considerations :
“I. It is not the general commerce of these articles, but their carriage into a belligerent port which is to be regarded as an infrac. tion of the laws of neutrality. Here some publicists distinguish between active commerce and passive commerce.
“Neutrals are morally bound not to supply any article of contraband of war to a belligerent. But to sell these articles upon neutral territory is not the same as to supply them to a belligerent.