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.
of babies which was presented to the doctor, many of the Turkish children being so emaciated and such a mass of repulsive sores, that many were sent away as too weak.  Most of them shrieked with fear, but a few came up smiling, one and all comforted by their protector, either Turk, child, or fond mother.  The fathers invariably showed the most distressed concern.  It was a comical sight; outside the rails a motley crowd of interested spectators and waiting children, and in the inclosure the doctor pricking his patients one after the other in a most indifferent manner.  His clerk noted the names, and we, with some of the local grandees, drank tiny cups of coffee and looked on.

The Albanian or Turkish element is very strong in Dulcigno, and they are the only Montenegrin subjects exempt from compulsory military service.  The Montenegrin authorities told us that they were very peaceable and industrious, giving no trouble whatever.  It is, after Podgorica, the largest town in Montenegro, and does a lot of trade in small sailing-boats down the coast.  As many as seventy-five per cent of the men are usually away at sea, carrying the Montenegrin flag as far as Constantinople.  It is quite cut off from the rest of Montenegro, except by a mule track connecting it over a difficult mountain path with Antivari and the rest of the country.  By sea it is connected by the Austrian-Lloyd weekly Albanian Line, and by one or two smaller steamers which occasionally call there, with Cattaro and the Albanian coast towns.

CHAPTER X

We ride to Scutari—­The Albanian Customs officials—­We suffer much from Turkish saddles—­Arrival at Scutari, and again pass the Customs—­“Buon arrivato”—­Scutari and its religious troubles—­The town and bazaar—­A slight misunderstanding, Yes and No—­We return to Rijeka by steamer—­The beauties of the trip—­Wrong change—­The prodigal son’s return, when the fatted calf is not killed.

Before we left Dulcigno it was necessary to have our passports vised by the Turkish Consul, as we intended returning to Podgorica via Scutari.  We had to go through a lot of tedious formality, though the Consul was a most pleasant man, and laughed at the precautions which his orders forced him to take.  But as he supplied us with horses and an escort—­for the path is considered somewhat dangerous—­we resigned ourselves to the inevitable with a good grace.  Our guns and carbines we were forced to send back to Podgorica with Stephan, as the law is very strict against the introduction of firearms into Albania, where, however, even the poorest peasant goes fully armed.  But as strangers our weapons would have been confiscated on the border.  Verily the ways of the Turk are passing strange.

We made a start at four o’clock one morning just as the sun was appearing above the hills, and the day promised to be extremely hot.  Our horses were fairly good, and the man who constituted our guard, an Albanian, seemed a pleasant fellow, which much belied his appearance.  A more villainous-looking face, with half his teeth missing, could hardly be imagined.  However, the whole way he rolled us cigarettes most industriously, rarely taking one from us.  Our saddles were Turkish, and were our first experience of them, and, it is to be hoped, the last.

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