At Okuta we found our horses and men awaiting our arrival; and after eating a hasty lunch of bread, milk, and blueberries in a little native house, we clambered awkwardly into our saddles, and filed away in a long irregular line through the woods, Dodd and I taking the advance, singing Bonnie Dundee.

We kept continually near the group of mountains which had presented so beautiful an appearance in the morning; but, owing to the forest of birch and mountain ash which clothed the foot-hills, we caught only occasional glimpses between the tree-tops of their white snowy summits.

Just before sunset, we rode into another little native village, whose ingeniously constructed name defied all my inexperienced attempts to pronounce it or write it down. Dodd was good-natured enough to repeat it to me five or six times; but as it sounded worse and more unintelligible every time, I finally called it Jerusalem, and let it go at that. For the sake of geographical accuracy I have so marked it down on my map; but let no future commentator point to it triumphantly as a proof that the lost tribes of Israel emigrated to Kamchatka; I don't believe that they did, and I know that this unfortunate settlement, before I took pity on it and called it Jerusalem, was distinguished by a name so utterly barbarous that neither the Hebrew alphabet nor any other known to ancient literature could have begun to do it justice.

Tired by the unusual exercise of horseback riding, I entered Jerusalem at a walk, and throwing my bridle to a Kamchadal in blue nankeen shirt and buckskin trousers, who saluted me with a reverential bow, I wearily dismounted and entered the house which Viushin indicated as the one we were to occupy.

The best room, which had been prepared for our reception, was a low bare apartment about twelve feet square, whose walls, ceiling, and floor of unpainted birch planks were scoured to a smooth snowy purity which would have been creditable even to the neat housewives of the Dutch paradise of Broek. An immense clay oven, neatly painted red, occupied one side of the room; a bench, three or four rude chairs, and a table, were arranged with severe propriety against the other. Two windows of glass, shaded by flowery calico curtains, admitted the warm sunshine; a few coarse American lithographs hung here and there against the wall; and the air of perfect neatness, which prevailed everywhere, made us suddenly and painfully conscious of our own muddy boots and rough attire. No tools except axes and knives had been used in the construction of the house or of its furniture; but the unplaned, unpainted boards had been diligently scrubbed with water and sand to a delicate creamy whiteness, which made amends for all rudeness of workmanship. There was not a plank in the floor from which the most fastidious need have hesitated to eat. The most noticeable peculiarity of this, as of all the other Kamchadal houses which we saw in southern Kamchatka, was the lowness of its doors. They seemed to have been designed for a race of beings whose only means of locomotion were hands and knees, and to enter them without making use of those means required a flexibility of spinal vertebrae only to be acquired by long and persevering practice. Viushin and Dodd, who had travelled in Kamchatka before, experienced no difficulty in accommodating themselves to this peculiarity of native architecture; but the Major and I, during the first two weeks of our journey, bore upon the fore parts of our heads, bumps whose extraordinary size and irregularity of development would have puzzled even Spurzheim and Gall. If the abnormal enlargement of the bumps had only been accompanied by a corresponding enlargement of the respective faculties, there would have been some compensation for this disfiguration of our heads; but unfortunately "perception" might be suddenly developed by the lintel of a door until it looked like a goose-egg, without enabling us to perceive the very next beam which came in our way until after we had struck our heads against it.

The Cossack who had been sent through the peninsula as an avant-courier to notify the natives of our coming, had carried the most exaggerated reports of our power and importance, and elaborate preparations had been made by the Jerusalemites for our reception. The house that was to be honoured by our presence had been carefully scrubbed, swept, and garnished; the women had put on their most flowery calico dresses, and tied their hair up in their brightest silk handkerchiefs; most of the children's faces had been painfully washed and polished with soap, water, and wads of fibrous hemp; the whole village had been laid under contribution to obtain the requisite number of plates, cups, and spoons, for our supper-table, while offerings of ducks, reindeer-tongues, blueberries, and clotted cream poured in upon us with a profusion which testified to the good-will and hospitality of the inhabitants, as well as to their ready appreciation of tired travellers' wants. In an hour we sat down, with appetites sharpened by the pure mountain air, to an excellent supper of cold roast duck, broiled reindeer-tongues, black-bread and fresh butter, blueberries and cream, and wild-rose petals crushed with white sugar into a rich delicious jam. We had come to Kamchatka with minds and mouths heroically made up for an unvarying diet of blubber, tallow candles, and train-oil; but imagine our surprise and delight at being treated instead to such Sybaritic luxuries as purple blueberries, cream, and preserved rose-leaves! Did Lucullus ever feast upon preserved rose-petals in his, vaunted pleasure-gardens of Tusculum? Never! The original recipe for the preparation of celestial ambrosia had been lost before ever "Lucullus supped with Lucullus"; but it was rediscovered by the despised inhabitants of Kamchatka, and is now offered, to the world as the first contribution of the Hyperboreans to gastronomical science. Take equal quantities of white loaf sugar and the petals of the Alpine rose, add a little juice of crushed blueberries, macerate together to a rich crimson paste, serve in the painted cups of trumpet honeysuckles, and imagine yourself feasting with the gods upon the summit of high Olympus!

As soon as possible after supper, I stretched myself out upon the floor under a convenient table, which answered practically and aesthetically all the purposes of a four-post bedstead, inflated my little rubber pillow, rolled myself up, a la mummy, in a blanket, and slept.

The Major, always an early riser, was awake on the following morning at daylight. Dodd and I, with a coincidence of opinion as rare as it was gratifying, regarded early rising as a relic of barbarism which no American, with a proper regard for the civilisation of the nineteenth century, would demean himself by encouraging. We had therefore entered into a mutual agreement upon this occasion to sleep peacefully until the "caravan," as Dodd irreverently styled it, should be ready to start, or at least until we should receive a summons for breakfast. Soon after daybreak, however, a terrific row began about something, and with a vague impression that I was attending a particularly animated primary meeting in the Ninth Ward, I sprang up, knocked my head violently against a table-leg, opened my eyes in amazement, and stared wildly at the situation. The Major, in a scanty deshabille, was storming furiously about the room, cursing our frightened drivers in classical Russian, because the horses had all stampeded during the night and gone, as he said with expressive simplicity, "Chort tolko znal kooda" - "the devil only knew where." This was rather an unfortunate beginning of our campaign; but in the course of two hours most of the wandering beasts were found, packs were adjusted, and after an unnecessary amount of profanity from the drivers, we turned our backs on Jerusalem and rode slowly away over the rolling grassy foot-hills of the Avachinski volcano.

It was a warm, beautiful Indian summer day, and a peculiar stillness and Sabbath-like quiet seemed to pervade all nature. The leaves of the scattering birches and alders along the trail hung motionless in the warm sunshine, the drowsy cawing of a crow upon a distant larch came to our ears with strange distinctness, and we even imagined that we could hear the regular throbbing of the surf upon the far-away coast. A faint murmurous hum of bees was in the air, and a rich fruity fragrance came up from the purple clusters of blueberries which our horses crushed under foot at every step. All things seemed to unite in tempting the tired traveller to stretch himself out on the warm fragrant grass, and spend the day in luxurious idleness, listening to the buzzing of the sleepy bees, inhaling the sweet smell of crushed blueberries, and watching the wreaths of curling smoke which rose lazily from the lofty crater of the great white volcano. I laughingly said to Dodd that instead of being in Siberia - the frozen land of Russian exiles - we had apparently been transported by some magical Arabian Night's contrivance to the clime of the "Lotus Eaters," which would account for the dreamy, drowsy influence of the atmosphere. "Clime of the Lotus Eaters be hanged!" he broke out impetuously, making a furious slap at his face; "the poet doesn't say that the Lotus Eaters were eaten up themselves by such cursed mosquitoes as these, and they're sufficient evidence that we're in Kamchatka - they don't grow as big as bumblebees in any other country!" I reminded him mildly that according to Walton - old Isaac - every misery we missed was a new mercy, and that, consequently, he ought to be thankful for every mosquito that didn't bite him. His only reply was that he "wished he had old Isaac there." What summary reprisals were to be made upon old Isaac I did not know, but it was evident that Dodd did not approve of his philosophy, or of my attempt at consolation, so I desisted.

Maximof (max-im'-off), the chief of our drivers, labouring under a vague impression that, because everything was so still and quiet, it must be Sunday, rode slowly through the scattered clumps of silver birch which shaded the trail, chanting in a loud, sonorous voice a part of the service of the Greek Church, suspending this devotional exercise, occasionally, to curse his vagrant horses in a style which would have excited the envy and admiration of the most profane trooper of the army in Flanders.

"Oh! let my pray-er be-e-e (Here! you pig! Keep in the road!) set forth as the in-cense; and let the lifting up of my han-n-n-ds be - (Get up! you korova! You old, blind, broken-legged son of the Evil Spirit! Where you going to!) - an eve-n-ing sacrifice: let not my heart be inclined to - (Lie down again, will you! Thwack? Take that, you old sleepy-headed svinya proclatye!) - any e-vil thing; let me not be occupied with any evil works (Akh! What a horse! Bokh s'nim!). Set a watch before my mouth, and keep the do-o-o-r of my lips - (Whoa! You merzavitz! What did you run into that tree for? Ecca voron! Podletz! Slepoi takoi! Chart tibi vasmee!)" - and Maximof lapsed into a strain of such ingenious and metaphorical profanity that my imagination was left to supply the deficiencies of my imperfect comprehension. He did not seem to be conscious of any inconsistency between the chanted psalm and the profane interjections by which it was accompanied; but, even if he had been fully aware of it, he probably would have regarded the chanting as a fair offset to the profanity, and would have gone on his way with serene indifference, fully assured that if he sang a sacred verse every time he swore, his celestial account must necessarily balance!

The road, or rather trail, from Jerusalem turned away to the westward, and wound around the bases of a range of low bare mountains, through a dense forest of poplar and birch. Now and then we would come out into little grassy openings, where the ground was covered with blueberries, and every eye would be on the lookout for bears; but all was still and motionless - even the grasshoppers chirping sleepily and lazily, as if they too were about to yield to the somnolence which seemed to overpower all nature.

To escape the mosquitoes, whose relentless persecution became almost unendurable, we rode on more briskly through a broad, level valley, filled with a dense growth of tall umbelliferous plants, trotted swiftly up a little hill, and rode at a thundering gallop into the village of Korak, amid the howling and barking of a hundred and fifty half-wild dogs, the neighing of horses, running to and fro of men, and a scene of general confusion.

At Korak we changed most of our horses and men, ate an al fresco lunch under the projecting eaves of a mossy Kamchadal house, and started at two o'clock for Malqua, another village, fifty or sixty miles distant, across the watershed of the Kamchatka River. About sunset, after a brisk ride of fifteen or eighteen miles, we suddenly emerged from the dense forest of poplar, birch, and mountain ash which had shut in the trail, and came out into a little grassy opening, about an acre in extent, which seemed to have been made expressly with a view to camping out. It was surrounded on three sides by woods, and opened on the fourth into a wild mountain gorge, choked up with rocks, logs, and a dense growth of underbrush and weeds. A clear cold stream tumbled in a succession of tinkling cascades down the dark ravine, and ran in a sandy flower-bordered channel through the grassy glade, until it disappeared in the encircling forest. It was useless to look for a better place than this to spend the night, and we decided to stop while we still had daylight. To picket our horses, collect wood for a fire, hang over our teakettles, and pitch our little cotton tent, was the work of only a few moments, and we were soon lying at full length upon our warm bearskins, around our towel-covered candle-box, drinking hot tea, discussing Kamchatka, and watching the rosy flush of sunset as it slowly faded over the western mountains.

As I was lulled to sleep that night by the murmuring plash of falling water, and the tinkling of our horses' bells from the forest behind our tent, I thought that nothing could be more delightful than camp life in Kamchatka.

We reached Malqua on the following day, in a generally exhausted and used-up condition. The road had been terribly rough and broken, running through narrow ravines blocked up with rocks and fallen trees, across wet mossy swamps, and over rugged precipitous hills, where we dared not attempt to ride our horses. We were thrown repeatedly from our saddles; our provision-boxes were smashed against trees, and wet through by sinking in swamps; girths gave way, drivers swore, horses fell down, and we all came to grief, individually and collectively. The Major, unaccustomed as he was to these vicissitudes of Kamchatkan travel, held out like a Spartan; but I noticed that for the last ten miles he rode upon a pillow, and shouted at short intervals to Dodd, who, with stoical imperturbability, was riding quietly in advance: "Dodd! oh, Dodd! haven't we got most to that con-found-ed Malqua yet?" Dodd would strike his horse a sharp blow with a willow switch, turn half round in his saddle, and reply, with a quizzical smile, that we were "not most there yet, but would be soon!" - an equivocal sort of consolation which did not inspire us with much enthusiasm. At last, when it had already begun to grow dark, we saw a high column of white steam in the distance, which rose, Dodd and Viushin said, from the hot springs of Malqua; and in fifteen minutes we rode, tired, wet, and hungry, into the settlement. Supper was a secondary consideration with me that night. All I wanted was to crawl under a table where no one would step on me, and be let alone. I had never before felt such a vivid consciousness of my muscular and osseous system. Every separate bone and tendon in my body asserted its individual existence by a distinct and independent ache, and my back in twenty minutes was as inflexible as an iron ramrod. I felt a melancholy conviction that I never should measure five feet ten inches again, unless I could lie on some Procrustean bed and have my back stretched out to its original longitude. Repeated perpendicular concussions had, I confidently believed, telescoped my spinal vertebrae into each other, so that nothing short of a surgical operation would ever restore them to their original positions. Revolving in my mind such mournful considerations, I fell asleep under a table, without even pulling off my boots.