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seems to have looked upon himself as the direct agent of the British Government. His journeyings, however, as above intimated, supply us with remarkably rare realities; romantic notions, and elaborate details of excited feeling greatly prevailing even over precise descriptions of nature, or simple sketches of persons and character. Two or three notices, however, must be gleaned from the stately volumes.
The journey to · Khiva from Heraut may be some 600 miles, part of which is over an extended desert, which at the season of the year that it was traversed by the Captain, presented an intensely cold climate, although not without furnishing some variety of experience and certain pleasing reliefs, as the account of one day's trip will illustrate.
It may be interesting to sketch a single day's trip, with all its pleasures and inconveniences. I rise then at midnight, and sit at a blazing fire, sipping tea without milk, until the camels are laden and have started. I then mount and follow them, and as camels walk something less than three miles an hour, soon overtake them. As the cold is intense, and our feet are by this time fully numbed, I alight and spread my carpet, and a large fire is soon made, around which we all sit half an hour. Wood is very abundant, and so dry that when the hoar frost or snow is shaken from it, it kindles instantly. It is likewise so deficient in solidity, that a stem, the thickness of a man's body, is torn up by the roots without difficulty. We now mount again, and proceed in silence, for the path admits not of two abreast, and the freezing of the vapour of the breath, upon one's beard and mustachios, renders the motion of the jaw singularly unpleasant. Indeed, in raising the handkerchief to one's face, it is tangled in a disagreeable manner with the crystals, and the chin has become so brittle, that a very slight titillation is painful. Jupiter is now far above the horizon, and Venus is shining gloriously upon the desoalte wild. And by degrees we perceive the day itself slightly winking in the east, and again we pull up, to light a fire, and to thaw our frozen extremities.
Ere sunrise they again mount and are away.
Now we are close upon the traces of the camels. The slave caravans keep them company;
The hardy Toorcumuns as they trudge along in their clouted, laced boots, and legs wound round with woolen cloths, and their white sheepskin caps heavy with hoar frost, have no cause to envy us, whose knees are cramped with the saddle, and whose feet are again freezing in the morning air. How frosty their cheeks and sharp noses appear, peeping above the cataract of ice which clings to their scanty beards, and below the snowy mass which overhangs their brows. The captive ladies are wisely invisible. They have tucked themselves below the felts of their Kujawurs, and yet, I fear, in spite of all their management, have but a chilly birth.
Next we cite an account of the Captain's entry into Khiva, and of the appearance
of the town.
I dressed accordingly, and was scarcely ready when the master of ceremonies arrived, with his Oozbeg and Toorcumun' horse. He was a fine man, tall and stout, with squarish face, a ruddy complexion, long half-closed eyes, good features, and, merit of merits, a decent beard. He is an Oozbeg, and a good specimen of his race. After an interchange of civilities, we mounted and proceeded toward the city. I had exchanged my Afghaun dress for my only full-dress suit, -an embroidered surtout with golden epaulettes. The master of ceremonies rode beside me, and the horsemen followed in close column, some of them from time to time dashing from the ranks, discharging their fire-arms, and wheeling their horses at speed; my impression of their horsemanship was not favourable. Many of the bridles were richly decorated with gold, silver, and precious stones, which gave them a splendid effect; there were also some very handsome matchlock and firelocks rifles, the fabric of Heraut and Persia. The horses greatly exceed in size those of Hindoostaun. But some where disproportionately small, and I observed none that I should have valued very highly. The Oozbegs and a few of the Toorcumuns, wore the high cylindric Oozbeg cap of black lambskin. I call it cylindric, but it is generally rather larger above than below, so as to be the frustrum of a cone inverted. The larger the cap the more dignified is it considered. The Toorcumuns, however, generally wear their own black lambskin cap, which is smaller, sits close to the head, and ends above, not like the Persian in a point, but slightly rounded. It is a far more convenient head dress than the Dozbeg, but not so graceful as the Persian cap. The horsemen rode in a dense mass, which would have had a more, military effect, had there been any uniformity in their arms.
But some bore spears, others sabres alone, and a few rifles. After riding a couple of miles the town of Khiva appeared on our right, and we entered a country, laid out in gardens and dwellings of the gentry. The houses have all one character, being an enclosure of very lofty clay walls, flanked by ornamental towers at the angles, which give them the appearance of castles. This name (Gullah) they bear at Khiva. The exterior has but one visible opening, which is the entrancé, lying generally between two towers, and being a spacious gateway, flat above, and roofed throughout, to its termination in the court behind the house, or rather within the enclosure. On one side of this a door admits to the men's apartments, and on the other side, the women's quarters are constructed. The walls, built with great regularity of rammed clay, are generally fluted, an effect given them perhaps by the hurdles of straight branches, between which the clay is supported whilst soft, and during the process of ramming. The gardens are surrounded by very low walls of similar construction, allowing the eye to command many estates from a single point of view. The trees are a species of elm, wide, and very shadowy; the poplar, and the plane tree. The appearance of the country is pleasing, but it is too flat for beauty, and I observed that neither grass; weed, nor wild flower will grow upon the banks, although canals from the river plentifully irrigate the whole valley.
This is his sketch of the Khan:
Ullah Koolies Khaun, the present king of Khaurism, is about forty-five years of age, and so far as I can judge, rather under the middle height. His
face is round. The features are high and regular; the expression is the most amiable possible ; but there is an absence of vigour, for which, at the present crisis, nothing can atone, unless it be the powerful interposition of some foreign power. His eyes are long, and not well-opened. His beard is decent; his family having some mixture of Sart blood. He is inclined to be stout. He was seated upon a carpet, and supported by cushions. Before him a wood fire blazed up, sending its smoke and sparks through the skylight of the tent. He shifted his posture from time to time. It was always ungraceful and unkingly. Sometimes cross-legged, sometimes kneeling. sometimes half reclining. His dress was a green cloak, fringed and lined with dark sables, and showing at the waist a gold chain, the exact use of which I know not. On his head was the Oozbeg cylindric cap of black lambskin. He wore no ornament, and his sole insignium of office was a large dagger in a sheath of gold, which lay before him. No guards were visible about the tent, but the doors of the court were guarded. The black tent of felt which he occupied, was of the usual dimensions, i. e. about twenty-four feet in diameter, and quite unadorned, its sole furniture being the carpet and cushions, on which he reclined.
How long Captain Abbot remained in Khiva does not distinctly appear
from his narrative; neither can we state what were the services which he performed while there for any one person or party. This, however, is certain, that he opposed the immediate liberation of the Russians held in slavery in the Khan's kingdom, until he should have negotiated a peace; and accordingly, although apparently upon his own responsibility and self-authoritative tone, he resolved on proceeding to the court of the Muscovite, being excited as usual, it would seem, by some sort of dreamy motive. He says
My position was novel and romantic. I was already the representative of two states, Great Britain and Heraut, at the Court of Khiva. I was now to become in fact, though not in name, the ambassador of a Khaun of Tartary to the Court of the Muscovite. There were, heaven knew, sufficient difficulties and dangers in my path; but it was the path of duty, and I trusted, that in the encounter of obstacles and perils, my birthright as a Briton should be manifest. Such feelings are to be known, perhaps, in full force only by the exile—by him who has lived long and dreary years upon a single, sacred, and most beauteous remembrance, the wealth and honour of his life. I could not sleep that night, but went often into the snow-covered court to gaze upon the stars, and think of the possibility, how faint, yet how precious, that amid my many adventures, some happier wave of destiny might cast me upon my native shore. The 900 miles of snowy desert disappeared before my excited fancy. The difficulties at posts and outposts were all as nothing. I had, in the determination to succeed, a talisman which nothing could impair or confound.
After leaving Khiva the Captain did not keep notes of his observations and movements; nor was it until long after, and on his return to India, that he found leisure to compose the volumes, rely
ing chiefly on the vividness of his imagination and the liveliness of his remembrance of "sensations and emotions." His journey towards Russia was not without adventure, danger, detention, and suffering. But it is with the most extraordinary taste for picturing decapitation and the throes of death that he dwells upon, and ekes out, his reminiscences. For example
I said, baring and offering him my throat, and touching with my finger his sabre, strike away, but save my servants. He shook his head, and intimated that we were safe, but I did not believe him. I returned and watched the rest of the night, determining to throw myself upon the first sword, that there might be no excuse for farther bloodshed. I meditated deeply on death. I imagined to myself its pang. I never could quite reconcile myself to the shape in which it was ever threatening; namely, the crushing together of the brain beneath the hatchet of Ahris Mhatoor. I had selfcontrol, indeed, sufficient not to flinch as he flourished it near me, but a vivid imagination left no rest for the nerves. The sabre stroke had but one terrible accompaniment. The head, when struck off, retains lise until the blood has discharged itself from the vessels of the brain. The eyes open and shut, the lips and muscles move. The system is still complete, the nerves of the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, communicating direct with the brain, &c. This was a man for a diplomatist!
It is beside our purpose to say more, or to go into the particulars of the events and the arrangements belonging to the history of Central Asia, posterior to the fruitless mission of Captain Abbot.
Art. XVI.-- Carstairs' National System of Penmanship. The
Eighth Edition. J. CARSTAIRS. MR. CARSTAIRS claims to be the inventor of the natural and mechanical principles upon which the art of penmanship is truly founded ; and we are persuaded from all that had been previously reported, and also from a perusal of the letter-press before us, together with an examination of the accompanying exercises and plates, that his system is the most simple and original, the soundest and most susceptible to be reduced to useful and constant practice by each and every person,-being capable of accommodating itself to all, whatever may be the occasion,--that has yet been laid before the public. This system has stood the test of many years'; has been extensively adopted; and only requires to be fully and universally understood, to experience as wide and as popular an adoption. Mr. C. is an enthusiast in his profession ; nor without the perseverance, the ardour, and the ingenuity which enthusiasm begets and cherishes, is it likely that he ever could have brought his principles
of penmanship to any considerable degree of ripeness. He looks upon the study of the art as hardly second to any that is secular or mundane; and regards skilfulness in penmanship as being one of the first accomplishments which even a monarch can aspire to. Augustus "taught his own son the art of writing." "Constantine the Great was an admirer and cultivator of the art." " Charles the Fifth, and Charles the Seventh of France, were remarkable for their skill in penmanship." “Mr. Chinnery, who when a youth, was taken into the Treasury, and had the lowest situation in that department, but by paying particular attention to his writing, and being taught very carefully by his father, who was at that time a writing master, the great improvement made at his leisure hours, which was noticed for its peculiar fineness, was the means of his direct advancement, step by step, to the very head situation of the Treasury." We must not be too critical with regard to the construction of this last illustrative passage. Neither is it needful to inform the reader that Mr. Carstairs must mean the department filled by the clerks, and not that occupied by the lords of the governmental establishment.
The history of Mr. Carstairs' system, of his progress towards perfecting it, as well as his exposures and animadversions relative to the old methods, and even some of the novelties of the day, are not uninstructive. For “nearly fifty years of severe, attentive application and study,” has he persevered; his object having all along been to obtain "some regular system of teaching the art, on principles scientifically arranged, and founded on a sure basis, that would be as lasting as time, by bringing into use every natural means which man possesses. He is not one of your six or twelve lesson teachers; neither can he calmly endure to think of a boy expending several years at school in endeavouring to acquire even a formal style, to be laid aside when entering into a house of business, very probably an irregular scrawl succeeding the finest school-hand. Mr. Carstairs, however, undertakes " to teach youth, in a few weeks, the art of writing a bold large hand, and, in the same time, a running or business hand, and to modify the most illegible manuscript of an adult pupil, into a fine, flowing, and regular form of penmanship."
Mr. Carstairs was employed when quite a youth, as an underassistant teacher of writing and common arithmetic, in the county of Durham. He, however, experienced a great deficiency in the command of the hand and the pen, at the same time that he entertained a decided predilection for the art of writing. For years he imagined that all he had to do to attain perfection, "was to study principally to form with symmetry the contours of the letters, and to make them with regularity and precision their proper size and width, and a correct position." But having obtained a situation in a mercantile office, he discovered, when called to transcribe the letters of his