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Once more in Corfu — Battle of Eggs in Lent — Military Sports — Bishop Heber's Widow—A Murder in Corfu-Horse-race won by a Greek—British Generosity—Sham Siege at Wido—An Exalted Wit and Beauty—Foundling Hospital–Sail for Ithaca—Sappho's Leap—Harbour of Vathy—Castle of Ulysses—A Descendant of the latter —Fountain of Arethusa—Ithaca a Land of Rocks and Goats—A welcome Fountain—“What you please”—A beautiful Walk in Santa Maura—The Right Man in the Right Place—The Resident of Santa Maura—Mother versus Father—The Father of the R. C. Archbishop—Knowledge of Greek betrayed by a Smile–Ascension Hill Festa—A pretty Night Scene—Resolve to visit Athens—The indispensable Agent of the British.
ON the 11th of April, 1863, I was once more located in Corfu. Contrasting the latter with Cephalonia, I was more than ever struck with its unrivalled beauty. An equally agreeable contrast was presented by the bustle and liveliness of the people, the numbers of carriages and equestrians, and the social gaiety of the place. It was quite a relief from the monotony and tranquillity of Argostoli. Nevertheless, I missed my many Greek friends of the latter town; and associating now chiefly with my own countrymen, I returned almost entirely to the ordinary routine of colonial life. I landed on the Saturday forenoon after the annual discharge of crockery had just taken place; thus missing my opportunity of again witnessing this curious old Custom. The following day (the Greek Easter Sunday) I dined with Sir Spiridion and Lady Valaoriti. Although it was Lent, and the entertainment chiefly consisted of orthodox dishes, yet good meat was provided for the heretics. Everything was nicely cooked in a Greco-Russo fashion. The company consisted about equally of Greeks and English. One of the dishes was full of coloured eggs, which were used in the following manner. Every one pressed his egg against that of his neighbour, and the person whose egg was broken in the encounter was considered defeated. I suffered several reverses, till I discovered that half of the eggs were boiled hard, and the other half soft. The initiated, who knew how to select them, therefore easily gained the victory. Fish, eggs, and vegetables, cooked in various agreeable ways, formed, with fruits and sweetmeats, the principal dishes. But the mutton, for those allowed to eat it, was very good and tender. More excellent specimens of Protectionist Ionians than the host and hostess it would be difficult to find, whether as regards manners and appearance, or ability and accomplishments. On the 15th and 20th of April there were foot races and athletic sports for the soldiers of the garrison, which took place on the drill-ground out.
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side of the town, under the patronage of the General. Some distinguished English visitors were present; amongst whom were the Duchess of Montrose and her daughter, Lady Olivia Graham. Lady Valsa: machi was also there, and greatly lamented to me the intended cession of the Islands; the fact of which she could scarcely believe. Although now a Greek by marriage, the widow of Bishop Heber was naturally grieved at the severing of the last political tie which bound her to her native country. This estimable and amiable lady dedicates her time to charitable purposes, in the cause of which she enlisted the English residents; the loss of whose aid she will of course sadly miss.
About this time, Captain Baillie (brother to the Earl of Haddington), Captain of H.M.S. Trafalgar, acquainted me with the murder of a Greek wineshop-keeper in the town. He had been found lying dead in the street, alongside of a drunken English sailor. The latter was at first suspected of being the murderer. It was afterwards discovered that a Greek boy aided by his uncle had been the real culprit; and that the uncle had placed the corpse close to the sleeping sailor, on purpose to inculpate the latter. He had then taken his victim's keys, and carried off all his money out of the till. It was with considerable difficulty, and after the lapse of some time, that the murderers were arrested, and eventually hanged on the glacis in front of Fort Abraham.
In the month of April, a deputation from Athens, on its way to congratulate the Prince of Denmark, and headed by Admiral Canaris, touched at Corfu, where it created great excitement, and received a popular and enthusiastic ovation.
On the 22nd of April, the Lord High Commissioner, in H.M.S. Caradoc, started on his tour of the Islands, where, by all accounts, he was everywhere very coldly received. On the same day the races commenced at Corfu. The first day was a great triumph for the Greeks. For the principal race was won by a horse called “Bella,” the property of Doctor Wrassopulo, and which was ridden by Count Andrucelli. The Count came in first in all the three heats of this race. In the second heat, however, he crossed a horse ridden by an English officer. By that act he was, according to strict rule, incapacitated both for claiming the second heat and for running in the third. But the English officers, well knowing the great discontent that would arise amongst the Greeks if a rule were enforced which they could not understand, decided that the Count should be allowed to run for the third heat, and that the second should count for nothing. Count Andrucelli won the race, and Dr. Vrassopulo carried off the cup. But the unsports. man-like decision caused some confusion in the betting arrangements, and considerable dissatisfaction to many of the English. I was glad, how
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ever, that the more generous course had prevailed, and that the Greeks had been given the satisfaction of seeing a compatriot carrying off the first honors at essentially English sports. During the races, I received many compliments, regarding the flattering proofs of affection that had been given to me on leaving Cephalonia; and which appeared to make considerable sensation from the rarity of the circumstance as regarded the English in general. On the 9th of May, there was a sham siege and assault carried on in the island of Wido; where a good luncheon was laid out in the tents for the officers and their visitors. The affair, though well arranged, was on a small scale; as only a part of the garrison of Corfu reinforced, for the occasion, the troops at Wido. But from the picturesque nature of the ground, the attack and defence manoeuvres formed a pleasing spectacle, which even ladies could appreciate. The interest was increased by the fact, that some degree of risk was incurred by the troops; as the scaling ladders employed in the attack did not quite reach to the top of the ditch. But as regarded this difficulty no accident occurred. An artilleryman, however, was by the hasty discharge of a gun accidentally blown into the ditch of the principal work; and the poor fellow died a few hours later in the Wido Hospital. Amongst the spectators of the sham fight was the young and beautiful Princess of Montenegro, who