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A PRETTY NIGHT SCENE. 211
displaying views of the bay and citadel on one side, and of the Hyllaic harbour on the other, formed a whole indescribably charming.” The festa commenced on the evening of the 20th of May, and lasted the whole of the next day. The crowds of carriages and of pedestrians that visited the scene were truly astonishing. I first visited it at 11 o'clock on Wednesday night on horseback, and was taken by surprise at the brilliancy of the affair. The open space on the top of the hill was nearly encircled with booths gaily illuminated, and containing various kinds of small merchandise for sale, as well as sweetmeats and refreshments. The surrounding trees were lit up with lamps, and every part of the grounds was swarming with both sexes. The carriages were not permitted to advance beyond a certain point. Even on horseback I found myself so much in the way that night, amidst the dense crowds, that I did not remain very long. The next day the general attendance was still greater, being augmented by nearly all the English, few of whom were present the previous night. The playing of a regimental band also added to the attractions of the second day. The chief amuse. ments of the people consisted in the indefatigable dancing of the Sirto and the Romaika, whilst the ladies and gentlemen walked about or sat eating ices under the olive trees. The rich dresses, goldembroidered jackets, and picturesque caps of the peasants, especially of the females, gave a national aspect to the exhilarating scene. For strangers who desire during a brief visit to see at a glance the gentry and peasantry of Corfu, no better opportunity could be found than the attendance at the annual Ascension Hill Festa. Being now about to proceed to England, I determined (however much it deviated from the shortest road) to visit Athens by the way. My first operation was to apply to that indispensable agent of the British, Mr. James Taylor. He procured for my friend and me the passports and also the permits, without which even an English official could not leave these Austrian-like governed Islands; and he also recommended to me the best manner in which to prosecute my journey.
* This forms the subject of one of Mr. Lear's beautiful sketches of the Ionian Islands, lately published in London.
Strongly advised not to proceed to Athens—A discouraging Meeting—Touch at Cephalonia—Put in at Zante—A queer Message—The Chief Justice of Zante-Count Lunzi—A valuable Compliment—A valued visiting Card— Frequent Assassinations in Zante—Missolonghi-One of Otho's Colonels— Patras—H.M.S. Liffey–National Guards—Casino—Find myself known at Patras—An imprudent Othoist—A “paunch full of Otho'—My Health drunk as a Philhellene—Vostizza—A charming Greek Lady–The Greek Women of Antiquity—Galaxidia and Salona—A Walk more picturesque than safe—Corinth—Isthmus—Kalamaki—A strange Scene—A cool Sergeant—Reappearance of our fair Fellow-Traveller—Arrive at the Piraeus— Athens under the Provisional Government—Recovery of Stolen Property— The Parthenon—Palliation of the Earl of Elgin's Conduct—Amphitheatre of Dionysius—My Guide at fault—Temples of Theseus and Jupiter Olympus —Fine View from the Hotel Window – State of the Greek Army—The House of Assembly—The ex-Queen's Farm—Russian Intrigues—Intriguing for the sake of Practice — How triumphantly I might have returned to Corfu-A popular Embassy–My Visit to Athens fortunate—The Greeks should cherish their new King.
ON the 30th of May Captain T and I started for Athens in the steamer Byzantium. Such was the then disorganized state of the capital of Greece, and of its rabble army (a detachment of which had lately committed a horrible outrage in Athens), that I was strongly advised by every one to defer my journey thither for the present. Even my friend T (who had visited Athens before, and therefore did not feel inclined to a second journey attended by personal risk) was silent only in consequence of his previously made promise to accompany me. By the very steamer in which we were to leave Corfu, two officers of the 9th had just returned after having been robbed of everything on the heights of Pentilicus. Nor was this all. Captain Parker, about an hour before we started, called upon me to say that he had received a telegraphic order to proceedinmediately to Patras; from which he concluded that some disturbances were apprehended. All my English friends, high and low, male and female, advised me to abandon my resolution, and to proceed direct to England. But I was determined not to lose the opportunity, which might never return ; as the cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece was likely to prevent my revisiting this part of the world. I therefore turned a deaf ear to all dissuasions. And with regard to my travelling companion, in whose face I distinctly read decided disapprobation of my obstinacy, I adopted the plan of never appearing to doubt that he meant to keep his promise. With regard to danger, I argued that the fact that English officers had been so lately robbed made the re-occurrence of a similar catastrophe extremely unlikely for some time to come. I added that the officers who had been robbed had ventured out of
TOUCH AT CEPHALONIA. 215
Athens; whereas we should take care to keep within the town. To be brief, we started. As we were walking down to the boat, with Sir Spiridion Valaoriti, we met one of the officers lately robbed at Athens, who had just landed from the steamer. It was not a very encouraging meeting. So, especially thought my companion ; who stayed to hear particulars; whilst I passed quickly on to the boat, dreading the effects of discussions. It appears that several brigands, with cocked pistols in their hands, had relieved the officers of their watches and purses, in spite of the warning of their guide, who had proclaimed that they were Englishmen. The robbers were overheard by the former proposing to bind the officers: but eventually the latter were suffered to depart uninjured. Sir Spiridion Valaoriti was acquainted with the captain of the Greek steamer, to introduce me to whom, as well as to see me comfortable, he accompanied us on board. The captain was the first man to impart to us any consolation with regard to our generally condemned expedition. He assured us that he did not think any harm would happen to us if we did not go outside of Athens itself. And as to the Isthmus of Corinth, a strong guard rendered its passage perfectly sectire. We arrived at Cephalonia about six o'clock the following morning, and remained there at anchor till half-past eight. My old friend, the harbour