The Land of the Black Mountain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Land of the Black Mountain.

It became very monotonous after a few hours—­should we go for three hundred yards without a stop of five or ten minutes, it was a matter for comment.  We began to feel alarmed, fearing worse things.

Rijeka we reached at eight p.m. instead of five, and we sent another wire, stating our arrival to be uncertain, if not improbable.

We seriously contemplated staying the night, but an appointment next morning forced us to give up this idea.

After an hour’s rest we proceeded.  The same weary repetition was resumed, either the near side horse lashed out violently and remained hung over a trace, or the axle boom or something broke.

We dozed, and I awoke from a sudden jar to find the driver sound asleep, the horses wandering aimlessly along, a precipice of many hundred feet below us on one side.  The road takes sharp turns every hundred yards, rendering it impossible to see far ahead, and traffic even at night is not uncommon.  Drivers shout when nearing a corner, particularly on coming downhill, which they do at a great pace.  I shuddered at the thought of a carriage dashing suddenly round a corner upon us as we painfully climbed, for our driver slept soundly.  I even shouted in his ear, but in vain.  Then I struck him, and with effect.  Inured as we were already by the dangers of that drive, we slept no more.

I looked at my watch; it was one o’clock.  In another hour the look-out hut of Bella Vista loomed up indistinctly, and we thought of that grand view of the Lake of Scutari and the mountain panorama to be seen from there.

We stopped all the way down into Cetinje, at intervals, and had a long wait actually in the town itself while the driver hunted up a friend and borrowed a spanner.

At three a.m. we arrived, and refused the offer of our driver to take us down to Cattaro next day.  He assured us that everything would be in order by the afternoon.  But we declined, even though he made us a cheap offer, below the ordinary price.  We had no more confidence in him or his carriage, or his wonderful kicking horse—­in fact, we gave quite a curt and rude refusal, when he pressed the matter.

Safe inside the old-fashioned hostelry of Reinwein, we thanked Providence for our safe arrival.  We had been through a few dangerous experiences during our sojourn in the Land of the Black Mountain, but none worse than this.

The carriage was small, and we suffered agonies from cramp; every moment we expected to see it fall to pieces; one of the horses lashed out violently, narrowly missing the face of the driver, if only touched with the whip, every time hitching itself over a trace and threatening to kick the decrepit structure behind it to bits; the devilish anger of the man, his lurid and comprehensive cursing in that soft voice, the danger of dashing over a precipice, constituted a journey which we fervently pray may never again fall to our lot.

CHAPTER XX

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The Land of the Black Mountain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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