By Urban Holmes
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The high, bold coast lay hazy and crowned with misty clouds in the early sunlight. ’ A brilliant day coloured the blue waves once more. We had service for all hands on deck. Monday, th – Almost a calm. We sighted the Maryanne, with Major De Salis and a detachment of th Hussars on board. She sailed a week before us, and our having overtaken her is a great triumph to our ship. The Messenian coast lay close to us all day – snow-capped and cloud-wreathed mountains lying in a half indistinct and dreamy haze, a very Eleusinian mystery in themselves.
The interpolations in italic type, in square brackets, are passages from the Duberly manuscript correspondence in the British Library, MSS Add. . References for these passages are given in the Notes and Commentary. Unless otherwise indicated all letters are from Fanny Duberly to Selina and Francis Marx, her sister and brother-in-law. Fanny Duberly’s spelling of all proper names has been used throughout this edition. JOURNAL KEPT DURING THE RUSSIAN WAR: FROM THE DEPARTURE OF THE ARMY FROM ENGLAND IN APRIL 1854, TO THE FALL OF SEBASTOPOL.
The fleas!! These last are really so terrible that several officers have been fairly routed by them, and obliged either to pitch their tents on the common or to sleep on board the ships. No provision whatever has been made for the soldiers; and, if Captain Fraser had not put a basket of provisions in the caïque that took the baggage, neither officers nor men would have broken their fast tonight. The stables into which I went first, of course, are more like the crypt of a church than anything else - dark, unpaved, unstalled, of enormous size, and cool: no straw and no mangers!