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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author






WE anchored here at Yalta, Russia, two or three days
ago. To me the place was a vision of the Sierras.
The tall, gray mountains that back it, their sides bristling with
pines—cloven with ravines—here and there a hoary rock towering
into view—long, straight streaks sweeping down from
the summit to the sea, marking the passage of some avalanche
of former times—all these were as like what one sees in the
Sierras as if the one were a portrait of the other. The little
village of Yalta nestles at the foot of an amphitheatre which
slopes backward and upward to the wall of hills, and looks as
if it might have sunk quietly down to its present position from
a higher elevation. This depression is covered with the great
parks and gardens of noblemen, and through the mass of green
foliage the bright colors of their palaces bud out here and there
like flowers. It is a beautiful spot.

We had the United States Consul on board—the Odessa
Consul. We assembled in the cabin and commanded him to
tell us what we must do to be saved, and tell us quickly. He
made a speech. The first thing he said fell like a blight on
every hopeful spirit: he had never seen a court reception.
(Three groans for the Consul.) But he said he had seen receptions
at the Governor-General's in Odessa, and had often listened
to people's experiences of receptions at the Russian and
other courts, and believed he knew very well what sort of
ordeal we were about to essay. (Hope budded again.) He
said we were many; the summer-palace was small—a mere


Page 391
mansion; doubtless we should be received in summer fashion
—in the garden; we would stand in a row, all the gentlemen
in swallow-tail coats, white kids, and white neck-ties, and the
ladies in light-colored silks, or something of that kind; at the
proper moment—12 meridian—the Emperor, attended by his
suite arrayed in splendid uniforms, would appear and walk
slowly along the line, bowing to some, and saying two or three
words to others. At the moment his Majesty appeared, a universal,
delighted, enthusiastic smile ought to break out like a
rash among the passengers—a smile of love, of gratification,
of admiration—and with one accord, the party must begin to
bow—not obsequiously, but respectfully, and with dignity; at
the end of fifteen minutes the Emperor would go in the house,
and we could run along home again. We felt immensely relieved.
It seemed, in a manner, easy. There was not a man
in the party but believed that with a little practice he could
stand in a row, especially if there were others along; there
was not a man but believed he could bow without tripping on
his coat tail and breaking his neck; in a word, we came to
believe we were equal to any item in the performance except
that complicated smile. The Consul also said we ought to
draft a little address to the Emperor, and present it to one of
his aides-de-camp, who would forward it to him at the proper
time. Therefore, five gentlemen were appointed to prepare
the document, and the fifty others went sadly smiling about
the ship—practicing. During the next twelve hours we had
the general appearance, somehow, of being at a funeral, where
every body was sorry the death had occurred, but glad it
was over—where every body was smiling, and yet broken-hearted.

A committee went ashore to wait on his Excellency the Governor-General,
and learn our fate. At the end of three hours
of boding suspense, they came back and said the Emperor
would receive us at noon the next day—would send carriages
for us—would hear the address in person. The Grand Duke
Michael had sent to invite us to his palace also. Any man
could see that there was an intention here to show that Russia's


Page 392
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 392. In-line Illustration. Image of two figures looking out at a small harbor. The caption reads, "YALTA, FROM THE EMPEROR'S PALACE."] friendship for America was so genuine as to render even her
private citizens objects worthy of kindly attentions.

At the appointed hour we drove out three miles, and assembled
in the handsome garden in front of the Emperor's palace.

We formed a circle under the trees before the door, for there
was no one room in the house able to accommodate our threescore
persons comfortably, and in a few minutes the imperial
family came out bowing and smiling, and stood in our midst.
A number of great dignitaries of the Empire, in undress uniforms,
came with them. With every bow, his Majesty said a
word of welcome. I copy these speeches. There is character
in them—Russian character—which is politeness itself, and the
genuine article. The French are polite, but it is often mere
ceremonious politeness. A Russian imbues his polite things
with a heartiness, both of phrase and expression, that comples


Page 393
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 393. In-line Illustration. Image of a middle-aged man in military uniform. The caption reads, "EMPEROR OF RUSSIA."] belief in their sincerity. As I was saying, the Czar punctuated
his speeches with bows:

“Good morning—I am glad to see you—I am gratified—I
am delighted—I am happy to receive you!”

All took off their hats, and the Consul inflicted the address
on him. He bore it with unflinching fortitude; then took the
rusty-looking document and handed it to some great officer or
other, to be filed away
among the archives of
Russia—in the stove. He
thanked us for the address,
and said he was
very much pleased to see
us, especially as such
friendly relations existed
between Russia and the
United States. The Empress
said the Americans
were favorites in Russia,
and she hoped the Russians
were similarly regarded
in America.
These were all the speeches
that were made, and I
recommend them to parties who present policemen with gold
watches, as models of brevity and point. After this the Empress
went and talked sociably (for an Empress) with various
ladies around the circle; several gentlemen entered into a disjointed
general conversation with the Emperor; the Dukes
and Princes, Admirals and Maids of Honor dropped into free-and-easy
chat with first one and then another of our party, and
whoever chose stepped forward and spoke with the modest
little Grand Duchess Marie, the Czar's daughter. She is fourteen
years old, light-haired, blue-eyed, unassuming and pretty.
Every body talks English.

The Emperor wore a cap, frock coat and pantaloons, all of
some kind of plain white drilling—cotton or linen—and sported


Page 394
no jewelry or any insignia whatever of rank. No costume
could be less ostentatious. He is very tall and spare, and a
determined-looking man, though a very pleasant-looking one,
nevertheless. It is easy to see that he is kind and affectionate.
There is something very noble in his expression when his cap
is off. There is none of that cunning in his eye that all of us
noticed in Louis Napoleon's.

The Empress and the little Grand Duchess wore simple suits
of foulard (or foulard silk, I don't know which is proper,) with
a small blue spot in it; the dresses were trimmed with blue;
both ladies wore broad blue sashes about their waists; linen
collars and clerical ties of muslin; low-crowned straw-hats
trimmed with blue velvet; parasols and flesh-colored gloves.
The Grand Duchess had no heels on her shoes. I do not know
this of my own knowledge, but one of our ladies told me so.
I was not looking at her shoes. I was glad to observe that she
wore her own hair, plaited in thick braids against the back of
her head, instead of the uncomely thing they call a waterfall,
which is about as much like a waterfall as a canvas-covered
ham is like a cataract. Taking the kind expression that is in
the Emperor's face and the gentleness that is in his young
daughter's into consideration, I wondered if it would not tax
the Czar's firmness to the utmost to condemn a supplicating
wretch to misery in the wastes of Siberia if she pleaded for
him. Every time their eyes met, I saw more and more what
a tremendous power that weak, diffident school-girl could
wield if she chose to do it. Many and many a time she might
rule the Autocrat of Russia, whose lightest word is law to seventy
millions of human beings! She was only a girl, and she
looked like a thousand others I have seen, but never a girl
provoked such a novel and peculiar interest in me before. A
strange, new sensation is a rare thing in this hum-drum life,
and I had it here. There was nothing stale or worn out about
the thoughts and feelings the situation and the circumstances
created. It seemed strange—stranger than I can tell—to
think that the central figure in the cluster of men and women,
chatting here under the trees like the most ordinary individual


Page 395
in the land, was a man who could open his lips and ships
would fly through the waves, locomotives would speed over the
plains, couriers would hurry from village to village, a hundred
telegraphs would flash the word to the four corners of an Empire
that stretches its vast proportions over a seventh part of
the habitable globe, and a countless multitude of men would
spring to do his bidding. I had a sort of vague desire to examine
his hands and see if they were of flesh and blood, like
other men's. Here was a man who could do this wonderful
thing, and yet if I chose I could knock him down. The case
was plain, but it seemed preposterous, nevertheless—as preposterous
as trying to knock down a mountain or wipe out a continent.
If this man sprained his ankle, a million miles of
telegraph would carry the news over mountains—valleys—
uninhabited deserts—under the trackless sea—and ten thousand
newspapers would prate of it; if he were grievously ill, all
the nations would know it before the sun rose again; if he
dropped lifeless where he stood, his fall might shake the
thrones of half a world! If I could have stolen his coat, I
would have done it. When I meet a man like that, I want
something to remember him by.

As a general thing, we have been shown through palaces by
some plush-legged filagreed flunkey or other, who charged a
franc for it; but after talking with the company half an hour,
the Emperor of Russia and his family conducted us all through
their mansion themselves. They made no charge. They
seemed to take a real pleasure in it.

We spent half an hour idling through the palace, admiring
the cosy apartments and the rich but eminently home-like
appointments of the place, and then the Imperial family bade
our party a kind good-bye, and proceeded to count the spoons.

An invitation was extended to us to visit the palace of the
eldest son, the Crown Prince of Russia, which was near at
hand. The young man was absent, but the Dukes and Countesses
and Princes went over the premises with us as leisurely
as was the case at the Emperor's, and conversation continued
as lively as ever.


Page 396

It was a little after one o'clock, now. We drove to the
Grand Duke Michael's, a mile away, in response to his invitation,
previously given.

We arrived in twenty minutes from the Emperor's. It is a
lovely place. The beautiful palace nestles among the grand
old groves of the park, the park sits in the lap of the picturesque
crags and hills, and both look out upon the breezy
ocean. In the park are rustic seats, here and there, in secluded
nooks that are dark with shade; there are rivulets of
crystal water; there are lakelets, with inviting, grassy banks;
there are glimpses of sparkling cascades through openings in
the wilderness of foliage; there are streams of clear water
gushing from mimic knots on the trunks of forest trees; there
are miniature marble temples perched upon gray old crags;
there are airy lookouts whence one may gaze upon a broad
expanse of landscape and ocean. The palace is modeled after
the choicest forms of Grecian architecture, and its wide colonnades
surround a central court that is banked with rare
flowers that fill the place with their fragrance, and in their
midst springs a fountain that cools the summer air, and may
possibly breed mosquitoes, but I do not think it does.

The Grand Duke and his Duches came out, and the presentation
ceremonies were as simple as they had been at the
Emperor's. In a few minutes, conversation was under way, as
before. The Empress appeared in the verandah, and the little
Grand Duchess came out into the crowd. They had beaten
us there. In a few minutes, the Emperor came himself on
horseback. It was very pleasant. You can appreciate it if
you have ever visited royalty and felt occasionally that possibly
you might be wearing out your welcome—though as a
general thing, I believe, royalty is not scrupulous about discharging
you when it is done with you.

The Grand Duke is the third brother of the Emperor, is
about thirty-seven years old, perhaps, and is the princeliest
figure in Russia. He is even taller than the Czar, as straight
as an Indian, and bears himself like one of those gorgeous
knights we read about in romances of the Crusades. He looks


Page 397
like a great-hearted fellow who would pitch an enemy into the
river in a moment, and then jump in and risk his life fishing
him out again. The stories they tell of him show him to be
of a brave and generous nature. He must have been desirous
of proving that Americans were welcome guests in the imperial
palaces of Russia, because he rode all the way to Yalta and
escorted our procession to the Emperor's himself, and kept his
aids scurrying about, clearing the road and offering assitance
wherever it could be needed. We were rather familiar with
him then, because we did not know who he was. We recognized
him now, and appreciated the friendly spirit that
prompted him to do us a favor that any other Grand Duke in
the world would have doubtless declined to do. He had plenty
of servitors whom he could have sent, but he chose to attend
to the matter himself.

The Grand Duke was dressed in the handsome and showy
uniform of a Cossack officer. The Grand Duchess had on a
white alpaca robe, with the seams and gores trimmed with
black barb lace, and a little gray hat with a feather of the same
color. She is young, rather pretty modest and unpretending,
and full of winning politeness.

Our party walked all through the house, and then the nobility
escorted them all over the grounds, and finally brought
them back to the palace about half-past two o'clock to breakfast.
They called it breakfast, but we would have called it
luncheon. It consisted of two kinds of wine; tea, bread,
cheese, and cold meats, and was served on the centre-tables in
the reception room and the verandahs—any where that was
convenient; there was no ceremony. It was a sort of picnic.
I had heard before that we were to breakfast there, but Blucher
said he believed Baker's boy had suggested it to his Imperial
Highness. I think not—though it would be like him. Baker's
boy is the famine-breeder of the ship. He is always hungry.
They say he goes about the state-rooms when the passengers
are out, and eats up all the soap. And they say he eats
oakum. They say he will eat any thing he can get between
meals, but he prefers oakum. He does not like oakum for


Page 398
dinner, but he likes it for a lunch, at odd hours, or any thing
that way. It makes him very disagreeable, because it makes
his breath bad, and keeps his teeth all stuck up with tar.
Baker's boy may have suggested the breakfast, but I hope he
did not. It went off well, anyhow. The illustrious host
moved about from place to place, and helped to destroy the
provisions and keep the conversation lively, and the Grand
Duchess talked with the verandah parties and such as had satisfied
their appetites and straggled out from the reception

The Grand Duke's tea was delicious. They give one a lemon
to squeeze into it, or iced milk, if he prefers it. The former is
best. This tea is brought overland from China. It injures
the article to transport it by sea.

When it was time to go, we bade our distinguished hosts
good-bye, and they retired happy and contented to their apartments
to count their spoons.

We had spent the best part of half a day in the home of
royalty, and had been as cheerful and comfortable all the time
as we could have been in the ship. I would as soon have
thought of being cheerful in Abraham's bosom as in the palace
of an Emperor. I supposed that Emperors were terrible people.
I thought they never did any thing but wear magnificent
crowns and red velvet dressing-gowns with dabs of wool sewed
on them in spots, and sit on thrones and scowl at the flunkies
and the people in the parquette, and order Dukes and Duchesses
off to execution. I find, however, that when one is so
fortunate as to get behind the scenes and see them at home
and in the privacy of their firesides, they are strangely like
common mortals. They are pleasanter to look upon then than
they are in their theatrical aspect. It seems to come as natural
to them to dress and act like other people as it is to put
a friend's cedar pencil in your pocket when you are done using
it. But I can never have any confidence in the tinsel kings of
the theatre after this. It will be a great loss. I used to take
such a thrilling pleasure in them. But, hereafter, I will turn
me sadly away and say;


Page 399

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 399. In-line Illustration. Image of a king in a jeweled crown and fur-trimmed robes pointing at a kneeling courtier. A knight with an axe raised looks on. The caption reads, "TINSEL KING."]

“This does not answer—this isn't the style of king that I
am acquainted with.”

When they swagger around the stage in jeweled crowns and
robes, I
shall feel
bound to
that all the
that ever I
was personally

with wore
the commonest
of clothes,
and did not
And when
they come
on the stage
by a vast
of supes in
and tin breastplates, it will be my duty as well as my pleasure
to inform the ignorant that no crowned head of my acquaintance
has a soldier any where about his house or his person.

Possibly it may be thought that our party tarried too long,
or did other improper things, but such was not the case. The
company felt that they were occupying an unusually responsible
position—they were representing the people of America,
not the Government—and therefore they were careful to do
their best to perform their high mission with credit.

On the other hand, the Imperial families, no doubt, considered


Page 400
that in entertaining us they were more especially entertaining
the people of America than they could by showering
attentions on a whole platoon of ministers plenipotentiary;
and therefore they gave to the event its fullest significance, as
an expression of good will and friendly feeling toward the entire
country. We took the kindnesses we received as attentions
thus directed, of course, and not to ourselves as a party.
That we felt a personal pride in being received as the representatives
of a nation, we do not deny; that we felt a national
pride in the warm cordiality of that reception, can not be

Our poet has been rigidly suppressed, from the time we let
go the anchor. When it was announced that we were going
to visit the Emperor of Russia, the fountains of his great deep
were broken up, and he rained ineffable bosh for four-and-twenty
hours. Our original anxiety as to what we were going
to do with ourselves, was suddenly transformed into anxiety
about what we were going to do with our poet. The problem
was solved at last. Two alternatives were offered him—he
must either swear a dreadful oath that he would not issue a
line of his poetry while he was in the Czar's dominions, or else
remain under guard on board the ship until we were safe at
Constantinople again. He fought the dilemma long, but yielded
at last. It was a great deliverance. Perhaps the savage
reader would like a specimen of his style. I do not mean this
term to be offensive. I only use it because “the gentle reader”
has been used so often that any change from it can not but be

“Save us and sanctify us, and finally, then,
See good provisions we enjoy while we journey to Jerusalem.
For so man proposes, which it is most true,
And time will wait for none, nor for us too.”

The sea has been unusually rough all day. However, we
have had a lively time of it, anyhow. We have had quite a
run of visitors. The Governor-General came, and we received
him with a salute of nine guns. He brought his family with
him. I observed that carpets were spread from the pier-head


Page 401
to his carriage for him to walk on, though I have seen him
walk there without any carpet when he was not on business.
I thought may be he had what the accidental insurance people
might call an extra-hazardous polish (“policy”—joke, but not
above mediocrity,) on his boots, and wished to protect them,
but I examined and could not see that they were blacked any
better than usual. It may have been that he had forgotten his
carpet, before, but he did not have it with him, anyhow. He
was an exceedingly pleasant old gentleman; we all liked him,
especially Blucher. When he went away, Blucher invited him
to come again and fetch his carpet along.

Prince Dolgorouki and a Grand Admiral or two, whom we
had seen yesterday at the reception, came on board also. I
was a little distant with these parties, at first, because when I
have been visiting Emperors I do not like to be too familiar
with people I only know by reputation, and whose moral characters
and standing in society I can not be thoroughly acquainted
with. I judged it best to be a little offish, at first.
I said to myself, Princes and Counts and Grand Admirals are
very well, but they are not Emperors, and one can not be too
particular about who he associates with.

Baron Wrangel came, also. He used to be Russian Ambassador
at Washington. I told him I had an uncle who fell
down a shaft and broke himself in two, as much as a year before
that. That was a falsehood, but then I was not going to
let any man eclipse me on surprising adventures, merely for
the want of a little invention. The Baron is a fine man, and
is said to stand high in the Emperor's confidence and esteem.

Baron Ungern-Sternberg, a boisterous, whole-souled old nobleman,
came with the rest. He is a man of progress and
enterprise—a representative man of the age. He is the Chief
Director of the railway system of Russia—a sort of railroad
king. In his line he is making things move along in this country.
He has traveled extensively in America. He says he has
tried convict labor on his railroads, and with perfect success.
He says the convicts work well, and are quiet and peaceable.
He observed that he employs nearly ten thousand of them now.


Page 402
This appeared to be another call on my resources. I was equal
to the emergency. I said we had eighty thousand convicts
employed on the railways in America—all of them under sentence
of death for murder in the first degree. That closed
him out.

We had General Todtleben (the famous defender of Sebastopol,
during the siege,) and many inferior army and also navy
officers, and a number of unofficial Russian ladies and gentlemen.
Naturally, a champagne luncheon was in order, and
was accomplished without loss of life. Toasts and jokes were
discharged freely, but no speeches were made save one thanking
the Emperor and the Grand Duke, through the Governor-General,
for our hospitable reception, and one by the Governor-General
in reply, in which he returned the Emperor's
thanks for the speech, etc., etc.