+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

reminds us of the stately manner in which the
Crown was carried about, when the White
Tower was on fire.


TRUE yachting takes a man a bit about the
world. Last August, I left Cowes, one of a
party in a yacht, which, if nobody objects, I will
call the Scowler. The party consisted, as to
its heads, of three men: 1. Myself, not to be
described by myself. 2. Francis Silvertop, a
man of fashion, and a crack shot over the
Moors. 3. Major Blaze, a card accustomed
to turn up in unaccustomed places, and
tremendously experienced in foreign sports. We
all carried our guns, a taste for game being a
common weakness with us. After a few days
spent at Malta, we steered Eastward; and
one fine afternoon, towards the end of October,
cast anchor in Corfu Bay.

Shooting is not to be enjoyed in Corfu
itself; for every Greek who has a gun, and
can beg, borrow, or steal powder and shot, is
watchful to bag any luckless specimen of game
that he may chance to see or hear of in the
swampy ground of the valleys, or the drier
elevations of the olive groves. The shooting
which will bring an Englishman to Corfu,
is to be had on the opposite shoresthe coasts
of Albania, the classic regions of Thessaly;
and there, during the winter, he may have
the finest shooting, perhaps, in the world.

The Sanitar Boat visited the Scowler: the
harbour-master satisfied himself touching
the clean "bill of health" from Malta: my
two friends went ashore with me; called at
the palace of the Lord High Commissioner;
dined at the said palace; made the acquaintance
of the best fellows in the garrison; and
nothing remained to hinder us from spending
one day in Albania. Neither Silvertop nor
myself had ever been there before; Major
Blaze had. We had accepted the friendly
offer of a brown-visaged, red-night-capped,
dark-whiskered Corfiote to act as pilot, and
were all prepared to start, when the Major
puzzled us, at starting, with a pull upon his
old experience: "Is the Guardiano on board,
Peter?" was his first inquiry. "Yes, signor."
"And the dogs?" "Yes." So the boat was
shoved off, and glided from the ditch into the
open bay of Corfu. We were soon on board
the Scowler; and on the deck found an
odd-looking figure, dressed in coarse rifle-
green cloth, his shoulders protected by a
short capote, or shaggy cloak, with arms, and
his dark-mustachioed face topped with a
geranium-coloured cap. This was the
Guardiano, a Corfu policeman. One of these
gentlemen accompanies every shooting party from
Corfu into Albania, to see that there shall
be no risk incurred of taking the infection
of the much-dreaded plague, by handling
forbidden things. "To bed, now," said the
Major; "we shan't rest to-morrow.
Butrinto, Peter." "Butrinto! vera good, sir,"
was the pilot's reply. Butrinto was our
destination; a place once of note under its
classical name of Buthrotum, and now as
celebrated for the variety of its game and its
woodcocks, as Cateito, a little further down
the coast, is for its snipe-marshes.

The Scowler was soon running for the
Albanian shore, before a pleasant breeze. The
night was somewhat chilly; but the stars
were bright, and the shore-lights from Corfu
glistened in long streaks on the tideless waters
of the Adriatic. We rounded the little island
of Vido, that lies in the middle of the bay,
crowned with enormously strong fortifications,
whose guns, should their proprietors
so will it, could lay all Corfu town in ashes;
the Guardiano lay curled up asleep in the
fore hatchway; and, as we stood across what
is called the Northern Passage, I turned in
with my companions.

Morning discovered us at anchor in the
Bay of Butrinto; the Major was on deck,
looking about first for weather signs, and
then for scenery. "By jingo, this is very
fine!" Before us lay the Albanian shore,
with a wide valley running up between
two chains of hills clad with verdure, and
running into other chains, which intermingled
till they were lost in the blue distance.
On the side of one hill, some way off,
were the white walls of a straggling Albanian
village. Near the shore was an old ruined
castle, now tenanted by a Turkish Aga, the
sole representative of the supreme authority,
and who consults his best interests by
exhibiting civility, on any needful occasion, to
English sportsmen. Many a hill in the
neighbourhood bore the ruins of a castle or
tower, the relics of the military sway of the
celebrated and notorious Ali Pasha. Almost
the most striking feature of the landscape
was its perfect quiet; no labourer was to be
seen a-field; no herdsman with his flocks;
no hum of population: it was more than
silence; it was desolation to the ear; but,
to the eye, fertility. Behind the yacht, at a
distance, rose the heights of San Salvador, a
mountain on the opposite side of the Bay of
Corfu to that on which the town is built,
and, as it seemed, beyond that the citadel of
Corfu was refracted through the morning
light, and stood above and apart from the
water. A flock of gulls were soaring about,
every now and then making a dash at their
prey in the shallows that ran a long way out
from the shore, while at a little distance,
rested on the water a whole host of wild-
ducks and other water-fowl, with three or
four majestic swans among them, apparently
unconscious of an enemy. These provoked
us to bring up our double-barrelled Mantons,
and paddle quietly towards the game. The
swans and ducks were perfectly at their ease,
and I had raised my gun, when, certain Albanian
fishermen, who were lying in their boats
unnoticed under the shore, threw their heavy
net with an astounding splash. It was all