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Title: Soyer's Culinary Campaign - Being Historical Reminiscences of the Late War. with The - Plain Art of Cookery for Military and Civil Institutions
Author: Soyer, Alexis, 1809-1858
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                      [Illustration: _The Author._

                _From a Photograph by Bingham, (Paris)_]


                           CULINARY CAMPAIGN.

                            OF THE LATE WAR.


                        THE PLAIN ART OF COOKERY


                           PUBLIC, ETC. ETC.

                            BY ALEXIS SOYER,


                     NEW YORK: 18, BEEKMAN STREET.

               [_The right of translation is reserved._]

                     SAVILL AND EDWARDS, PRINTERS,
                            CHANDOS STREET.

                                 TO THE


                             ETC. ETC. ETC.

                                MY LORD,

 Grateful, indeed, do I feel for the unlimited confidence reposed in me
 by your Lordship during my late Mission in the East, and especially so
    for your kind condescension in permitting me to dedicate to your
Lordship this work, which at once puts the final seal to your Lordship’s
                  appreciation of my humble services.

                    With the most profound respect,
                      I have the honour to remain,
                                My Lord,
            Your Lordship’s most humble and dutiful Servant,
                             ALEXIS SOYER.


The Author of this work begs to inform his readers that his principal
object in producing his “Culinary Campaign” is to perpetuate the
successful efforts made by him to improve the dieting of the Hospitals
of the British army in the East, as well as the soldiers’ rations in the
Camp before Sebastopol.

The literary portion the Author has dished up to the best of his
ability; and if any of his readers do not relish its historical
contents, he trusts that the many new and valuable receipts, applicable
to the Army, Navy, Military and Civil Institutions, and the public in
general, will make up in succulence for any literary deficiencies that
may be found in its pages.

At the same time, the Author takes this opportunity of publicly
returning his most grateful thanks to the late authorities at the seat
of war for their universal courtesy, friendship, and great assistance,
without which success would have been an impossibility.


CHAP.                                                             PAGE

ITS CONSEQUENCES                                                     1

I. BY RAIL AND COACH TO VIRGINIA WATER                              13

II. A SUMMONS TO STAFFORD HOUSE                                     29

III. OFF TO THE WAR                                                 36

IV. DELIGHTS OF TRAVEL                                              49

V. COMFORT ON SHORE AND PENANCE AT SEA                              57

VI. THE LAND OF THE MOSLEM                                          70


VIII. FIRST VIEW OF THE SCENE OF ACTION                             91

IX. COMMENCEMENT OF THE CULINARY CAMPAIGN                          101

X. A TOUR ROUND THE KITCHENS                                       111

XI. FIRST OPERATIONS                                               124

XII. THE SCUTARI MISSION ACCOMPLISHED                              134

XIII. DEPARTURE FOR THE CRIMEA                                     147



XVI. A NEW ENEMY                                                   191


XVIII. A UNIVERSAL CALAMITY                                        213

XIX. HAPS AND MISHAPS IN CAMP                                      227

XX. EXPEDITIONS ON HORSE AND ON FOOT                               239

XXI. MATTERS GRAVE AND GAY                                         250

XXII. PREPARATIONS FOR ANOTHER TRIP                                266

XXIII. OUR STEAM VOYAGE IN THE “LONDON”                            289

XXIV. THREE WEEKS AT SCUTARI                                       297


XXVI. MY SECOND TRIP TO THE CRIMEA                                 325

XXVII. CAMP LIFE AT HEAD-QUARTERS                                  334

XXVIII. MY GREAT FIELD-DAY                                         350

XXIX. THE EIGHTH OF SEPTEMBER                                      364

XXX. FALL OF THE DOOMED CITY                                       375

XXXI. ILLNESS AND CHANGE OF SCENE                                  385

XXXII. CAMP OF THE FOURTH DIVISION                                 400

XXXIII. HOSTILITIES AT TABLE                                       415

XXXIV. CRIMEAN FESTIVITIES                                         433



ADDENDA                                                            513


In page 6, _for_ “Little Jack,” _read_ “Little Ben.”

Page 32, line 12, _for_ “I think,” _read_ “She thinks.”





[Illustration: Title Page]



     Old Drury--Juvenile mirth--A sudden arrest--An invitation--No
     excuse--Getting home--Mind your pockets--A trip to the
     “Wellington”--An intelligent waiter--Reading the news--A sudden
     inspiration--Letter to the _Times_--The stupid waiter again--Little
     Jack--Supper fare--Receipts--Tough kidneys--How to cook
     them--Kidneys _à la_ Roberto Diavolo--Kidneys _à la brochette_--New
     bill of fare for London Suppers.

“Hurrah! hurrah! bravo! bravo!” For a few minutes rounds of applause and
shouts of laughter from the juveniles were heard and loudly re-echoed
throughout the vast cupola of Old Drury, sending home the delighted
spectators, in fits of sneezing and coughing, through a variegated
atmosphere. Sir Henry W----, turning to me, exclaimed, “Hallo, Mr.
Soyer, the pantomime is over early this evening!” and looking at his
watch, continued, “Why, it is only half-past eleven o’clock.”

“Yes, Sir Henry; but quite late enough for children, who after this time
begin to mingle gaping with laughter.”

“True enough,” replied Sir Henry; “it is painful to see those dear
cherubs kept at the theatre till midnight, or even later. Have you been
long here?”

“No,” I replied, “only a few minutes; just time enough to witness the
grand finale, and to hear the screaming and laughter of the children,
which to me is always very amusing.”

“Very true, very true; I am of your opinion, and never tire of
children’s mirth.”

In a few minutes the theatre was nearly emptied of spectators, but still
full of smoke. Considering myself that evening as free as a butterfly on
a spring morning, though unable, like that light-hearted insect, to
flit from flower to flower, I was trying to escape, with the swiftness
of an eel, down the gigantic and crowded staircase, hoping to get off
unobserved, as I had to start early in the morning for the country, when
suddenly a friendly hand pressed me forcibly by the arm. The owner of
the same cried, “Stop! stop! my friend; I have been hunting all over the
theatre for you.” I at once recognised an old Devonshire acquaintance,
whom I was indeed much pleased to see, having received a most kind
reception from him at my last visit to that delightful county--so justly
named the garden of England.

“Well, my dear sir,” said he, “myself and several acquaintances of yours
are here for a few days, and have ordered a supper this evening at the
‘Albion.’ We heard you were at Drury Lane, and I have come to ask you to
join us.”

“I must say it is very kind of you, Mr. Turner; but you must excuse me,
as I am going as far as St. James’s-street, by appointment; besides, I
leave for the country early to-morrow morning. But I shall be happy to
spend to-morrow evening with you and your friends; therefore, I beg you
will apologise for me.”

“To-morrow very likely we shall be off again; we only came for a couple
of days, to breathe the London air, and then return.”

“I beg your pardon--you mean London fog, not air.”

“Why, yes, fog should be the word; but for all that, I love London in
any season; so no excuse--I shall not leave you; you must join us, or
your friend the squire will be greatly disappointed. He came from the
Great Western Hotel this evening on purpose to see you.”

Finding it almost impossible to get out of it, and my friend having
promised we should break up early, I accepted, saying, “You must allow
me to go as far as the ‘Wellington,’ as I have an appointment there; I
will be back in about half-an-hour.”

My incredulous country friend would not grant permission till I had
assured him that I would faithfully keep my promise, and return.

This dialogue took place in the entrance of the vestibule, where a
number of ladies and children were waiting--some for their carriages and
broughams, others for those public inconveniences called cabs. This bevy
of beauty and group of children, the pride of young England, seemed to
interest my provincial friend so much, that I had some trouble to get
him out. It was then nearly twelve o’clock. The front steps were also
crowded; the weather was chilly and damp; a thick yellowish fog,
properly mixed with a good portion of soot, formed a shower of black
pearls, which, gracefully descending through the murky air, alighted,
without asking permission, upon the rosy cheeks of unveiled fair dames,
spotting their visages, if not _à la_ Pompadour or _à la_ Watteau, at
least _à la_ Hogarth. A few steps lower we entered a dense crowd--a most
unpicturesque miscellany of individuals, unclassically called, the
London mob. “Mind your pockets,” said I to my country friend.

“By Jove, it’s too late,” said he, feeling in his pocket--“my
handkerchief is gone!”

“Is that all?” I inquired.

“Well, let me see,” he observed, feeling again: “yes, thank God! my
watch and purse are quite safe.”

“Ah,” I continued, laughing, “the old adage which prompts us to thank
God for all things is quite correct; for you are actually thanking Him
for the loss of your handkerchief.”

“Not at all,” he replied; “I was thanking Him for the safety of my watch
and purse.” After a hearty laugh we parted, he going to the “Albion,”
and I to the “Wellington.”

On my arrival there, I found that my friend had been and was gone. My
intelligent cabby soon brought me back through the dense atmosphere to
that far-famed temple of Comus, at which crowds of celebrities meet
nightly--some to restore themselves internally, others to sharpen their
wits at that tantalising abode of good cheer. Upon entering, I inquired
of a waiter, a stranger to me, if he could inform me where my six
friends intended to sup.

“Yes, sir, directly.” Speaking down the trumpet: “Below! a Welsh rabbit
and fresh toast--two kidneys underdone--scalloped oyster--a chop--two
taters! Look sharp below!” To the barmaid: “Two stouts, miss--one
pale--four brandies hot, two without--one whisky--three gin--pint
sherry--bottle of port!”

“What an intelligent waiter!” thought I, “to have so good a memory.”
Having waited till he had given his orders, I again said, “Pray, my fine
fellow, in which room are my friends going to sup? They have a private
room, no doubt?”

“Yes, sir, a private room for two.”

“No, not for two--for six.”

“Oh! I don’t mean that, sir: I want a rump-steak for two,” said he;
“stewed tripe for one--three grogs--bottle pale Bass.” And off he went
to the coffee-room.

“Plague upon the fellow!” said I to myself.

As the barmaid could not give me any information upon the subject, and I
perceived through a half-opened door on the right-hand side of the bar a
table laid for six, I went in, making sure it was for my friends, and
that they had not yet arrived. Indeed, I had myself returned from my
appointment much sooner than I had expected. I sat down, and was reading
the evening paper, when a waiter came in. “After you with the paper,

“I have done; you may take it.”

“There’s the _Times_, sir, if you have not seen it.”

“No, I have not; let me have a look at it.” After reading one of the
leaders, my attention was drawn to a long article written by the Crimean
correspondent of that journal. When I had read it carefully a second
time, a few minutes’ reflection on my part enabled me to collect my
ideas, and established in my mind a certain assurance that I could, if
allowed by Government, render service in the cooking of the food, the
administration of the same, as well as the distribution of the
provisions. These were matters in which I could detect, through the
description of that eye-witness, the writer of the above-mentioned
article, some change was much needed. I therefore wrote the following
letter to the _Times_, it being then nearly one o’clock in the


     _To the Editor of the Times._

     SIR,--After carefully perusing the letter of your correspondent,
     dated Scutari, in your impression of Wednesday last, I perceive
     that, although the kitchen under the superintendence of Miss
     Nightingale affords so much relief, the system of management at the
     large one in the Barrack-hospital is far from being perfect. I
     propose offering my services gratuitously, and proceeding direct to
     Scutari, at my own personal expense, to regulate that important
     department, if the Government will honour me with their confidence,
     and grant me the full power of acting according to my knowledge and
     experience in such matters.

I have the honour to remain, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

_Feb. 2, 1855._

After despatching this letter, I again inquired about my friends and my
anticipated supper, which for some time had escaped my memory. “Did you
ring, sir?”

“No, I did not, sir, but the bell has;” recognising my stupid waiter.

“Oh, sir! are you here?”

“Of course I am; don’t you see me?”

“Well, sir, your friends have had supper; they inquired everywhere for
you; I told them you could not wait, as you had two ladies to see home
as far as Brompton.”

“You foolish fellow! I never spoke to you about ladies, Brompton, or any
such thing; I merely asked you where my friends were to sup; to which
you replied, ‘Rump-steak for two, tripe for one, two taters, pat of
butter, one pale Bass, and three kidneys for a gentleman, underdone.’”

“No more you did, sir. It was number three who told me to say so; not
you, sir; you’re quite right, sir!”

“I am sure I am right; but as for you, your head is quite wrong!”

“Well, I assure you, sir, we have so much to do at times, we hardly know
what we are about.”

“I don’t think you do,” said I, sharply.

“But I tell you what, sir, they are there still, and you had better go
to them.”

“No, it is too late now; give them this note from me when they go out;
and here is sixpence for yourself, for through your mistake you have
after all rendered me a service. I did not wish to come here this
evening, as I have an early engagement for to-morrow, so I will have a
bit of supper and go home.”

“Well, do, sir; I thank you, and am very glad I have given you
satisfaction at last.”

“Send Little Jack here; he knows what I like for supper.”

“Hallo, Mr. Soyer, everybody in the coffee-room has been inquiring after
you this evening,” said Little Jack upon entering.

“I know; but that foolish waiter who was here just now made such a mull
of everything, that he quite upset our party; I could not get any answer
from him, so I made sure this table was laid out for us, and here I

“No, sir, your friends supped in the coffee-room, and are still there,
if you like to have your supper near them.”

“No, no; give me what you like here.”

“What shall it be, sir? oysters, broiled kidneys, chops, steaks, stewed
tripe, broiled bones?”

“Have you nothing else?”

“Yes, sir, grilled fowl and scalloped oysters; only they will take some
time preparing.”

“Well, give me scalloped oysters, and my favourite Welsh rare-bit, made
in my style--you know; a pint of port wine, and fresh toast for the

“Yes, sir; the cook knows--I’ll tell him it is for you.”

“But how is it you never vary your supper bill of fare? it is very
scanty of choice for such a large tavern as this. I do not mean to
complain, but give a little change now and then, by introducing a few
new dishes.”

“Ah! you’re right, sir; it would please the customers, and be much
better for us waiters, to have something new to offer; but, bless you,
sir! I have been many years in this place, and it was always the same;
and no doubt will remain so for as long again, unless a gentleman like
you takes it in hand--they would then attend to it; but, of course, you
have something else to do.”

“So I have; yet I don’t see why, in my next book upon cookery, I should
not devote a few pages to the London suppers. I intend doing so, and,
when published, I shall be happy to present you with a copy.”

“That will be first-rate, sir; I thank you, and wont I recommend the new
dishes _à la_ Soyer, as some of our customers call them!”

“Well, my man, upon second thoughts, as you seem so anxious about it,
and I am not going to join my friends, give me a pen and ink, and while
supper is preparing, I will write a few practical receipts, which can be
easily introduced without interfering with your duty or the kitchen;
they will, no doubt, prove agreeable to your customers, who are in
general a class of _bon vivants_, fond of good things as well as of
variety in the bill of fare.”

“Here is the pen, paper, and ink, sir.”

“Thank you; come again in about twenty minutes, and they shall be ready;
or, if you are not in a hurry, stay.”

“No, sir, I am not; our supper business is over.”

“Well, now listen: first, I do not intend to criticise your bill of
fare, which is as much varied, if not more so, than that offered at
other large taverns, and it is quite as well executed. Now, respecting
kidneys--you consume a large quantity of them?”

“So we do, sir.”

“Then I will give you a receipt or two for dressing them:--

     No. 1.--Take two kidneys, split them lengthways as close to the
     sinew as possible without parting them; remove the thin skin, lay
     them flat upon the table, and season rather highly with salt and
     pepper; then run them crossways upon a wooden, metal, or silver
     skewer, forcing the sinew upwards; this will prevent their curling
     up again while cooking. Next dip them in some well-beaten eggs, to
     which you have added about a table-spoonful of dissolved butter; or
     rub them over with a paste-brush, which will do it more equally;
     roll them in fine bread-crumbs, and slightly beat them on both
     sides with the flat of your knife to cause the ‘crumbs to stick to
     the kidneys. Put them upon the gridiron, over a sharp fire, at a
     proper distance; they will require from five to eight minutes
     doing, according to size.

     For the uninitiated, the following plan is the best to ascertain
     when they are properly done. Press with the prongs of a fork or the
     point of the knife upon the thick part of the kidney; if done
     through, it will feel firm and elastic to the touch. When the
     kidneys are done, slip them off the skewer on to a hot dish, and
     place in each a piece of butter, _à la maître d’hôtel_, about the
     size of a small walnut; send to table, and by the time it reaches
     the guest, the butter will be half melted; quite so when the kidney
     is cut by the customer, who, by turning the pieces and blending the
     butter with the gravy, will make a rich sauce, and partake of a
     delicious as well as a wholesome dish.

“Partaking of overdone kidneys at night is the forerunner of the

“You’re right, sir; that it is,” said Little Jack; “for at times we have
some left, and keep them warm for supper; and they get as tough as
pieces of leather, when after eating three or four--and I am always very
tired at night--I never can sleep. Now I think of it, the tough kidneys
must be the cause; and if I do sleep, Mr. Soyer, I have such awful
dreams that I feel more fatigued when I rise than when I go to bed.”

“Of course,” I replied, “I am well aware of that; they cannot digest;
therefore, you see the importance of having them properly done.”

“Very much so indeed; I quite understand it now, and perceive that if
they cannot at all times be done to perfection, underdone is much
preferable to overdone. I perfectly understand you, sir; but you see we
require such a quantity.”

“Well, I have only given you the receipt for two. I will now, if you
like, give you the receipt for a hundred.”

“Do, sir; that will suit us better.”

“I suppose they are most in request for supper?”

“Indeed they are, sir.”

“Then, in the course of the day, the cook should prepare a hundred
precisely as the first--viz., ready for cooking. They should be put upon
skewers, two, three, or four in a row; so that, when called for, he has
only to remove them from the larder to the gridiron. About two pounds of
butter _à la maître d’hôtel_ should be prepared and kept in a cool place
to be ready when required. By following this plan, you could easily cook
several hundred during the evening, if called for. Should any remain
unsold, they will keep till the next day, and will only require rolling
in the crumbs again previous to broiling.”

“I see, sir; it will save a great deal of time by having them prepared

“But suppose you had none prepared beforehand, a dozen can soon be got
ready by an active cook. The addition of the dissolved butter to the
eggs keeps the kidneys fresh and moist, and inserting them upon the
skewer retains them flat, and they are cooked more regularly in half the
time; while without the skewer they curl up, and are frequently
underdone on one side and cooked too much on the other.”

“I plainly understand what you mean.”

“These details upon the same subject are perhaps tedious to you.”

“Not at all, sir; I see the importance of them.”

“Well, the other receipts will come quite plain and easy to you. To tell
the truth, I have had those overdone kidneys upon my conscience for some
time. Mind, I do not intend to erase the plain broiled kidneys from the
supper bill of fare, for I am very fond of them when properly cooked.”

“They are very good; and many gentlemen will not have them any other

“Well, I do not blame them, for they are both agreeable and nutritious
that way; but here is another appetizing receipt, which we will call _à
la_ Roberto Diavolo.”

     No. 2.--Put two plain kidneys upon a skewer, and with a paste-brush
     butter them over. Set them upon the gridiron as near the fire as
     possible, for they cannot be done too fast; turn them every minute,
     and when half done season with salt, pepper, and a small spoonful
     of cayenne; chop some gherkins and a little green chillies, if
     handy; or, instead of either, a table-spoonful of chopped picolilli
     with the liquor. Put these on a hot plate, with a tea-spoonful of
     lemon-juice and a pat of butter. Take up the kidneys, and slip them
     burning hot from the skewer to the plate; turn them round four or
     five times in the mixture, and serve immediately. A small piece of
     glaze added to the butter will prove a great addition. Three, four,
     or five minutes will do them, according to the size.

     _Kidneys à la brochette, Paris fashion._

     The Parisian _gourmet_ would not eat a kidney if it was not served
     upon the silver skewer; the only merit of which is, that they keep
     hot longer and look better than when the skewer is omitted; as they
     often shrink, especially if the sinew has not been properly divided
     in the splitting of them.

“As, no doubt, you have something to do, you had better leave me; I will
write a few more receipts. Bring me my supper in a quarter of an hour,
and they will be ready.”

“Very well, sir; I will give a look round and order your supper.”

To the minute Little Jack walked in with the scalloped oysters, which I
must admit looked remarkably tempting. He handed me my supper, but upon
reflection I did not hand him the receipts, only a list of their names,
intending to put them into the cookery-book I had promised him, knowing
well enough that it was not in his power to bring them out. He thanked
me for my lecture on cookery, as he called it, and the following bill of
fare. I paid my bill, and left.

_New Bill of Fare for Tavern Suppers._

     Rump-steak and fried potatoes; ditto with shalot, pimento, and
     anchovy butter. Relishing steak, fillet of beef, à la Parisienne;
     ditto à la Chateaubriand.

     Mutton chops à la bouchère; ditto semi-provençale; ditto Marseilles
     fashion; ditto with relishing sauce.

     Plain cutlets with fried potatoes, à la maître d’hôtel, à la
     Sultana, semi-provençale.

     Lamb chops à la boulangère, à l’Américaine, à la printanière.

     Pork chops with pimento butter, à la Tartare; ditto camp fashion.

     Veal cutlets en papillote; with maître d’hôtel butter; with
     relishing butter; with fried potatoes.

     Kidneys on toast, semi-curried; ditto with sherry or port; ditto
     with champagne. For kidneys à la maître d’hôtel, à la brochette,
     and à la Roberto Diavolo, see Receipts, page 10.

     Stewed and curried tripe; ditto Lyonnaise fashion.

     Lobsters au gratin in the shell; scalloped ditto; curried on toast;
     lobster cutlets; new salad, Tartar fashion; plain salad with
     anchovies; crabs au gratin in the shell; crab salad with eggs.

     Grilled chicken and Sultana sauce; à la Roberto Diavolo, with
     relishing sauce; new broiled devil, Mayonnaise sauce; chicken,
     American fashion.

     Stewed oysters on toast; ditto American fashion, au gratin; fried

     Omelettes with fine herbs, mushrooms, sprue grass, ham, and
     parmesan; poached eggs with cream; ditto with maître-d’hôtel sauce;
     semi-curried, with ham or bacon.

     Buttered eggs with mushrooms, sprue grass, ham with shalots,
     parsley, and chervil.

     Mirrored eggs with tongue, ham, or bacon; curried eggs; ditto with
     onion sauce and tomato sauce.

     Rarebit à la Soyer with sherry or champagne.

     Fried potatoes in slices; ditto with maître-d’hôtel butter; ditto
     with Cayenne pepper.

     Cold asparagus salad, while in season; new potato salad, German
     fashion; ditto, French and haricot beans.[1]

     For receipts in Bill of Fare, see Addenda.

A Hansom cab was waiting at the door, so I jumped in. “Beg your pardon,
sir, I am engaged,” said cabby; “but if you’re not going far, I think I
shall have plenty of time to take you.”

“Do so, my man; I live close by, in Bloomsbury-street, Bedford-square.
Here’s a shilling for you--go ahead, cabby.”

Pst! pst! and off we were. In a few minutes, thanks to the evaporation
of the thick fog and its having left only a feeble skeleton of its
former substance, I found myself at my street door, and was trying for
some time to open it with the wrong key, all the while thinking to
myself what an extraordinary and uncomfortable evening I had passed to
return so late. Perceiving my mistake, I changed the key; opening and
shutting the door violently, I rushed up stairs with the intention of
booking that evening in my daily tablet as one of the most tedious and
uncomfortable I had spent throughout the series of cheerful years
granted to me by a Supreme Power. The fire was out, the supper divided
between my two friends the Angola cats, the servants in bed, the gas
turned off, and the lucifers, I believe, gone to their Mephistophelian



     An early visit--Virginia Water--An eccentric friend--Rail _v._
     coach--Humour of the road--The old coachman--The widow--Sally’s
     trouble--Another surprise--The “Wheatsheaf”--Beautiful
     scenery--Letter from the Duchess of Sutherland.

A most curious dream haunted my mind throughout the night, one of those
indescribable phantasmagorian illusions which set all the vibrations of
the heart at work without moving the frame, or in imagination only,
quite depriving our senses for the time of the true sense of existence.
Scarcely had the first gleam of Aurora peeped through my curtains, than
a double knock was heard at the street door, apprising me that the time
for rising had come, and forthwith brought back my wandering senses to
the realities of human life: a minute after, a friend popped into my
dressing-room, exclaiming, “Hallo! so you are going to the seat of the
war, I hear.”

“The seat of the war! who told you so?”

“Why, the _Times_, to be sure; I have just read your letter, which, at
all events, is very likely to carry you as far as Constantinople.”

“You don’t say so! What! is my letter in the _Times_ to-day?”

“Of course it is,” he replied.

“I sent it so late last night, I did not suppose it could appear till
to-morrow, if at all.”

“They would not have inserted it, arriving so late, I assure you, had
they not thought it of great importance, and that you were likely to
improve the hospital diets. No doubt you will soon set them to rights. I
read the article, and must say I was much pleased when I saw your
letter, and that is what brought me here so early: but mind, it is a
long journey, and rather a dangerous one.”

“Well, my dear friend, if Government honour me with their confidence, I
shall be happy to start immediately, and rough it for a short time--say
a couple of months, which will be about the time required.”

“My opinion is, that you will soon hear from the authorities.”

“I say again, they are perfectly welcome to my humble services.”

“Are you going out this morning?”

“Yes, I am; excuse my shaving.”

“Oh, by all means; which way are you going?”

“Anywhere but to a wintry place.”

“Where’s that--Gravesend or Margate?”

“Oh dear, no--Virginia Water.”

“To stay?”

“No; only to settle a few important matters there, prior to my departure
for Paris.”

“You were there the best part of last summer.”

“So I was; who told you that?”

“Don’t you recollect the party you gave there, when Messrs. R---- and
ladies were present, with myself, my wife, and two daughters? We never
enjoyed such a day in our lives; it really was a splendid affair
altogether; and what an excellent dinner you gave us in the open air, in
the long avenue of beech trees facing the lake! I shall not forget it as
long as I live--I may say we, for my young ones often talk about it.
There were about twenty-four guests--you recollect, of course?”

“Certainly I do now, and what a lovely day it was!”

“Never saw a finer,” said my friend; “the ladies walked round the lake
without their bonnets, and with nothing but their parasols to screen
them from the sun. But I tell you who was most amusing amongst the
party--that old Yorkshire farmer.”

“Ha, ha! old Lawrence--he is a squire now, if you please, and has
retired. He was very kind to me on the occasion of the grand
agricultural dinner at Exeter; the ox I roasted whole upon that occasion
came from his farm; it was roasted by gas, and in the castle yard.”

“Ah, I recollect seeing an engraving of it in the _Illustrated London
News_; I can’t help laughing when I think of the old man, for at every
fresh dish of which he partook--and he tasted a good many--he
exclaimed--‘Well! hang me, if I know what stuff I am eating, but it’s
precious good!’”

“I know he is very eccentric; he stayed with me nearly a week, and
really made me laugh heartily with his genuine repartee. He is a good
and a charitable man, I assure you. I taught his housekeeper how to make
cheap soup while I was at his residence, and ever since the old
gentleman has given it four times a-week to the poor round his small
estate, during the winter season.”

“I know the soup you mean. I cut the receipt from the paper in the year
‘47, at the time of the famine in Ireland, when you were sent there by


“We tried it ourselves; and my wife’s mother has ever since given it
throughout the winter to about twelve or fifteen poor people. The old
lady was at first obliged to make it herself, her cook saying that no
soup could be made with such a small quantity of meat. She would not
even attempt to make it.”

“I believe you; but those people are not aware that in Scotland, where
the strongest people in the British dominions are to be found, and
especially in the Highlands, they live principally upon oatmeal porridge
and vegetables, partaking of a very small portion of animal food;--and
did you ever see a finer carnation cheek, or purer blood, than that
which flows through the frame of a Scotch lassie, or in the veins of the
descendants of the Bruce?”

“No, never; not even on the Continent. But, to return to the receipts: I
would advise you to publish them. They would be eagerly purchased, and
would render greater service. You must be aware that a slip from a
newspaper is often lost.”

“Very true; and I intend to give a series of new receipts on food for
the poor, still more simplified.”[2]

“With reference to our conversation about old Lawrence: no doubt he is a
good fellow, and a genuine rough diamond into the bargain.”

“Yes,” said I, “and you may add, of the finest water. By the bye, didn’t
he go to bed rather top-heavy?”

“Ah, that he did, and fancied himself at home blowing up his old woman,
as he calls her, for having let the cat into the dairy, and being unable
to find his gun to shoot her. What most astonished the old boy, he told
me on the coach next morning on our way to London, was having no
headache and feeling as hungry as a hunter--as I did myself. He made
sure, after such a mixture of dishes, wines, liquors, and spirits of all
kinds, that he should be ill and unable to eat anything for a couple of
days. Quite the contrary, however: when at Staines, we made a hearty
breakfast at the hotel; and for my part, I never felt better in my

“And do you know,” I replied, “I should have been surprised if my dinner
had produced the contrary effect; rest assured, that a dinner well
conceived and properly executed, coupled with well-selected beverages,
is more than half digested. As Hippocrates says, very justly, ‘What
pleases the palate nourishes;’ and we may add, greatly helps to
accelerate the digestion when properly cooked. The palate alone can
relish the charm of degustation, and only feels satiated when the
stomach, being the working organ, refuses to deal with improper food,
never failing to acquaint you physically of its ill treatment, both as
regards ill-cooked food or bad beverages. Now, to illustrate this
argument more forcibly, I would wager that I could give a first-class
indigestion to the greatest _gourmet_, even while using the most
_recherché_ provisions, without his being able to detect any fault in
the preparation of the dishes of which he had partaken; and this simply
by improperly classifying the condiments used in the preparation; thus
deceiving the cleverest doctors and the finest palate by a mere
counterbalance of unctuous seasoning, which no doubt caused the
celebrated Leibnitz to say, in his treatise upon the chemistry of food,
now translated into English, and to which I have already referred in my
_Shilling Cookery Book_, ‘That among all the arts known to man, there is
none which enjoys a juster appreciation, and the products of which are
more universally admired, than that which is concerned in the
preparation of our food. Led by an instinct which has almost reached the
dignity of conscious knowledge, as the unerring guide, and by the sense
of taste, which protects the health, the experienced cook, with respect
to the choice, admixture, and preparation of food, has made acquisitions
surpassing all that chemical and physiological science have done in
regard to the doctrine or theory of nutrition.’”

“Well, no doubt if the celebrated Leibnitz, who is considered one of the
greatest authorities of the age, says so, you cannot be wrong, having
had so much practice in the culinary art.”

“I also maintain that with the simplest and cheapest of all aliments,
when in good condition, I have turned out a most wholesome and palatable
food, quite worthy of the most refined palate, or of that of the
initiated epicure. For instance, if only first-class provisions could be
converted into succulent dishes, the gastronomic bill of fare of this
sublunary world would indeed be so limited that more than two-thirds of
its inhabitants would be classified as martyrs to the Mageric art--or,
more plainly speaking, martyrs to the science of cookery--a too often
neglected art, though of daily requirement; for, believe me, the
everlasting pleasures of the table, which favour all ages, are not only
the basis of good health when properly managed, but also the soul of
sociability, not merely in high circles, but in every class of society,
no matter how humble, the stomach of each individual having been nursed
according to rank and wealth. Those most to be pitied are the real
epicures of limited means, or the wealthy man without appetite or of bad
digestion. The proverb is quite correct, ‘What the eye does not see the
heart cannot grieve;’ and appetite being the best of sauce, will cause
the coarsest food to be digested with delight by a robust stomach. By
the same rule, what is more relished by our noble epicure than a dry
sandwich or a coarse crust of bread and cheese at a farmhouse after a
hard day’s sport?”

“Upon my word, you are perfectly right; appetite is really the best of
sauce, for I often make a good and hearty supper upon baked potatoes, a
little salt, and butter.”

“Now, my friend, I am ready to start; come with me--it is a fine frosty
morning, and will do you good--come on.”

“I wish I could, but my City business is very heavy this morning, so I
must decline; besides, we have a railway meeting called for three
o’clock at the London Tavern.”

“Master, here’s a Hansom coming this way; shall I call it?”

“Yes, Annette, that’s a good girl.” I shook hands with my friend, and
jumped into the cab--“I say, coachman, look sharp and drive to the
Windsor railway station; I fear I shall miss the special train.”

“No, you will not,” said my friend, looking at his watch, “you have full
twenty minutes; good-bye, a pleasant journey.”

“Well, adieu! I shall see you some evening at Jullien’s or Drury Lane

“Very probably.”

“Stay a minute, cabby;”--to the servant--“Annette, put any letters which
may come on my desk; if anybody calls, say I shall be here to-morrow or
next day at the latest.”

“Very well, sir, I will do so.”

On my arrival at the station, I merely had time to take my ticket and
run to the train, which was just on the move. In a few seconds we were
flying over rows of houses like vampires, leaving the then desolate
Royal property, Vauxhall tumble-down theatre, with its skeleton firework
frame, on the left. We passed through Chiswick, Barnes, Mortlake, Kew,
with its toyish pagoda, leaving to the left Richmond, with its
picturesque banks, cheerful villas, heroine of the hill, and its
exquisite maids of honour; at the same time crossing the Thames,
cheerfully smiling beneath us in its serpentine bed. Its limpid
currents flowed merrily downwards to the mighty ocean through green
bushes, aquatic plants, and the alabaster-coloured plumage of hundreds
of swans. In twenty-five minutes we arrived at Staines station. I
descended and immediately ascended again, but on the top of the Virginia
Water coach, which generally waits for the special train. “Very frosty
this morning, coachman.”

“Hallo, Mr. Soyer! is that you? We have not seen you God knows how long.
I suppose you have left us for good now?”

“No, not quite; but your flat and unpicturesque country looks so dull
and unsociable at this time of year.”

“Then you prefer town just now?” said he.

“I certainly do; there is always something to be seen there, and to keep
one alive, morning, noon, and night.”

“Very true, Mr. Soyer; we are very dull here in winter.” The top of the
coach was loaded with passengers. “Well, boy, what are you about below?”

“All right, coachman,” cried the parcel-boy. “Pst! pst! Go it, my

We were now at full trot, the north wind in our faces, and a kind of
heavy sleet, which in a few minutes changed the colour of our noses to a
deep crimson, very much like the unfashionable colour of beet-root,
freezing our whiskers and moustaches like sugar-candy, but by no means
quite so sweet-tasted. By way of a joke, I said to the coachman, “This
is the good old English way of travelling, is it not?”

“That it is, sir; and I’m very glad to see you know how to appreciate
it. Talk about your railways, it’s perfect nonsense compared with a good
four-in-hand coach, sir.” As he said this, he whipped his horses, “Pst!
go ahead, my true blue! I recollect the good old time when we took from
fourteen to fifteen hours from London to Dover, changing horses and
drinking your glass of grog at almost every inn on the road--in fact,
enjoying ourselves all night, especially when the widow was out.”

“What widow?” said I.

“The moon, to be sure!”

“That is a bright idea of yours. I was not aware the pale queen of night
was a widow.”

“Lord bless you, sir, she must be a widow, for she always comes out
alone, and keeps very late hours; a maid or a married woman can’t do
that, you know,” said he, laughing heartily.

“If your remark is not correct, it is at all events very original.”

“But to come back to coach-travelling--then you really knew if you were
travelling or stopping at home; while now they pack you up under lock
and key, in strong wooden boxes, such as we keep our horses in at the
stable; and at the head of them they have a kind of long iron saveloy,
full of nothing, which runs away with the lot like mad, belching and
swearing all the way, taking sights at us poor coachmen just so,”
putting his hand to his nose, “when we go by, as though we were a set of
ragamuffins. Call that a gentlemanly way of travelling, sir! They make
fun of all the passengers who are a little behind time, saying the like
of this: ‘Don’t you wish you may get it?’ If you drop anything by
accident, the deuce a bit will they stop to pick it up; and you are no
sooner in than they turn you out, and pocket your money without
blushing, the same as though they had dragged you about from morning
till night, as we used to do in the good old time. That was indeed money
honestly earned, sir!”

“There certainly is a great deal of truth in your argument,” said I,
laughing at his devotion to his old business.

“Is it not brimful of truth, sir?”

“Of course it is!” I was by this time about half frozen.

“Ah, sir, you’re a gentleman, and know life as well as I do. Depend upon
it, sir, coach-travelling is the best after all--no danger of being
smashed to pieces or of breaking your limbs. Not the slightest accident
ever can happen. Hallo!” said he, stopping the horses short, “what the
deuce is the matter with that horse? Look out, Bob!”

“Yes, sir; the old trace is broke again.”

“The deuce it is! Well, we must mend it.”

“You can’t--it’s broke in a fresh place, and we have no rope here.” The
coachman getting down, unceremoniously threw the reins to me. “Hold them
fast, sir.”

“Well, well, my lad, you must run back and fetch another.” The snow was
then falling heavily, and we had not got more than a mile on the road.
In about forty minutes the boy returned, perspiring terribly, though
covered with snow.

“I’ve not been long, coachman, have I?”

“Not been long, my lad--why, my cargo is nearly frozen to death!”

“You’re right, coachman,” said an old gentleman. “And I promise you I
will never travel by your coach again. This is the second time this

“Well, sir, we are not travelling now--we are at a stand-still, and no

“You may joke, but I don’t like it.”

“No more do I,” said coachman; “so we are of the same opinion.” At this
we all laughed, except the old gentleman.

In a short time all was right again. The coachman had resumed his
important position as well as the reins, which I abdicated to my great
satisfaction, and we were on the move. “Very slippery, governor; my
horses can scarcely keep their feet. Thank God, we are not in a hurry;
we can do the journey much more comfortably.”

“Excuse me,” said I, “if I do not hold exactly the same opinion as I did
just now about the railway.”

“My dear sir, are you in a hurry?” he asked.

“Yes, I am, and very cold besides.”

“What a pity you did not say so before! I should have made my stud fly,
and beat to atoms that fussy stuff they call steam.”

“That’s a good man; show off a bit.”

“Pst! pst! pst! Look out for a full charge, Cossack; fly away,
Cannon-ball. Pst! pst! that’s it, lads.” We were now nearly at a gallop.

“Coachman,” said I, “I see that your horses have martial names, if they
have not a very martial appearance. Pray, who gave them such warlike

“The boys in the stable, sir. Everybody dreams of war now, sir; the very
air we breathe smells of powder. Don’t you think so, sir?”

“No, I think it smells of cheese.”

“By-the-bye, there’s a basket of cheese for that foreign gentleman who
lives at Virginia Water. Jump up, boy, and move that basket of cheese
from here.”

We arrived at Wimbledon Common, and stopped to take up parcels and
boxes, during which time the coachman pointed out to the old country
gentleman with whom he had the argument, the window of the room where
Cournet, the French officer of Marines, and the opponent of Barthélemy,
who had just been hanged, died after the Windsor duel. He was saying
that since Barthélemy had been hanged the house was no longer haunted,
and that the pool of blood, which never could be washed out, had
suddenly disappeared.

“Marvellous!” exclaimed the old gentleman; “I never heard anything like
that in my life.”

“No more did I,” said our witty coachman, winking at me. The boy now
called over the various parcels, and Cossack went off as fast as a
cannon-ball. We made a few more stoppages at Englefield Green, to
deliver several scolding letters and parcels from mistresses to their
servants having charge of the summer abodes of wealthy merchants who
reside in London during the winter. At one house, during the unloading
of two or three boxes and a child’s cradle, a tidy-looking girl, who was
waiting till they were taken in, had opened her letter, over which she
appeared very sulky. The coachman, perceiving this, said, smiling--“Any
answer, Sally?”

“No!” said Sally. “Oh, yes; tell the old lady that I will not live with
her any longer;” and the girl cried.

“What’s the matter?” said the coachman.

“She’s an old plague! there’s my Harry of the 46th has not been here
these four months, and she writes to say she hears that he comes every

“Of course not--how could he? he’s been gone to the war with his
regiment ever since last September.”

Sally, crying still louder, and wiping her eyes with her apron,
exclaimed, “Perhaps the poor fellow is killed by this time, and don’t
care a fig about me.”

“Well, well, lass, never mind that; soldiers are used to it.”

“Do you think I shall ever see him again, Mr. Coachman?”

“No doubt, my lass, but you must wait a little longer; and when he does
come back, if he has distinguished, instead of extinguished, himself, he
will have the Crimean medal, and perhaps be made a
colonel--captain--general--marshal--or even a corporal; who knows? in
these war times, every brave man has a chance.”

“Thank you, Mr. Coachman, you make me very happy--I shan’t cry any

“But, Sally, am I to tell your mistress what you said?”

“Oh, dear, no! because I should lose my place; they are not such bad
people after all, and master is so very kind to me.”

“I shall say nothing about it.”

“Pray, say nothing.”

“Pst, pst! now, my true blues, full speed for Virginia Water.” In twenty
minutes we were before the very picturesque inn called the “Wheatsheaf;”
every living soul came out to welcome us, thinking some accident had
happened. There was the landlord, landlady, thin and bulky barmaids,
house and kitchen maid, cook, pot and post boy, and a number of

“What has happened that you are so late to-day?” said the landlord to
the coachman.

“Nothing particular, governor; only a trace broke, and we had to fetch
another: besides, the roads are very slippery.” To the barmaid--“Give us
a light, girl, and a go of keep-me-warm.”

“Don’t believe him, sir,” exclaimed an old lady, who, upon the sudden
stoppage when the trace broke, had a quarrel with the coachman. In
opening the window violently, she broke it in twenty pieces; popping her
head, half of which was covered with snow, out of the window--“He is a
perfect brute,” said she; “he tried to upset us, and then would not move
for above an hour at least--see the state I am in; is it not a great
shame, a woman like me?”

“Well, madam,” said the landlord, “why don’t you shut the window?”

“What’s the use of pulling it up?--it’s broken in a thousand pieces, all
through that nasty fellow!”

“I can assure you, madam, he bears a very good character with the gentry
about here.”

The coachman, lighting his short pipe, and coming near them, said,
“Don’t take notice of the old lady, she means no harm.”

“Don’t I, though! I say again, before everybody, you are a brute and a

“Go it, marm, go it,” said he, getting up. “It’s nothing new to me--my
wife tells me that every day, which is partly the cause we have no
family.” The favourite horse language of the coachman was again,
heard--“Fly away to the assault like a set of Zouaves!” and in a few
minutes nothing but a small black spot, resembling a fly crossing a
sheet of paper, was seen running up the snow-covered hill which leads to
the small village of Virginia Water.

I speedily joined the worthy and well-known landlord of the
“Wheatsheaf”--Mr. Jennings, and his cheerful wife and barmaid; all of
whom gave me a hearty country welcome, shaking my hands and arms in
every direction _ad libitum_, in anticipation, no doubt, of my
remembering them for a few days at all events. At the close of this
gymnastic exercise, I requested them to give me some breakfast, in the
small pavilion near the garden; also some pens, ink, and paper. My
request was at once attended to.

“Do you intend to stay with us a few days, Mr. Soyer?” asked the

“No; I shall try and get back this evening, if possible--but to-morrow
morning, at the latest. I only came to close a few pending accounts of
my last summer’s stay at your lovely Virginia Water, and am going to
Paris for the Exhibition, having been offered the superintendence of a
large establishment.”

“But I hear that the Exhibition is postponed till next year.”

“So it is; but this is to be quite a new building, and erected close to
the Exhibition, if we can get permission granted.”

“Good morning, sir; I shall see you before you leave. I am only going to
the farm.”

“Yes, you will.”

I was sitting down to my breakfast, when, to my annoyance, as I had much
business to transact, some one knocked at the door, and, without waiting
for the reply, came in. It was the landlord, with a face full of anxiety
and astonishment, his glasses raised to his forehead, a newspaper in his
hand, and looking as serious as if he had just been married, or had lost
one of his favourite pups. “I say, master,” said he, “do you mean it?”

“Mean what, man?”

“But now, really! do you mean it?”

“I’m puzzled to know to what you allude. Is it about my trip to Paris?”

“Paris! no, that has nothing to do with the letter of yours I have just
read in the _Times_ of this day.”

“Oh! now I understand you, and can easily account for your long face and
evident astonishment.”

“Now you understand me, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.”

“Well, allow me to tell you frankly that you are very foolish; you are
not a military man, and have made the offer, it is true, very likely in
a moment of enthusiasm; but plead any excuse you can to get out of it if
you are sent for; remain where you are--‘Good folks are scarce,’ says
the proverb.”

“Thanks to the proverb first, and you afterwards,” said I.

“And if you do go, it is a hundred to one against your returning.”

“Many thanks for your frank advice; but I am determined to go, and if
Government send for me, I wish to be ready at a day’s notice; so sure I
am that I can render some services to my fellow-creatures by so doing.”

“I have no doubt you can--but you may catch the fever, or God knows what
besides! Why, they are dying by fifties and sixties a-day in the
hospital at Scutari; look, here is the latest account, the names of the
poor fellows defunct, and number of their regiments. There is no mistake
in that.”

“I am aware of all that; but mind you, my firm belief is, that no fruit
falls from the tree to the ground till it is perfectly ripe; and I also
believe that we are never gathered from this frivolous world till we are
really wanted in the other.”

“Such being your determination, it is no use talking any more about it;
I only hope your health will not fail you, and that you will return and
keep us alive as you did last year. I can assure you, your joyful dinner
party, or ‘feet shampeter,’ as Mary the barmaid called it, and you used
to say in French, was the talk of the country round. It is only three
days ago that Colonel Cholmondeley was inquiring after you, and asking
whether you had left the neighbourhood.”

“Ah, really! how is the Colonel?”

“He looks remarkably well, I assure you, and will be very glad to see

“When you see the Colonel, pray present my most sincere compliments.”

“So I will.”

“I’m off, but hope to see you this evening; good-bye, in case I do not.”
The days being short, and my business more complicated than I had
anticipated, prevented my visiting my favourite summer spot, the
_Paradis Champêtre_ of England.[3]

I slept that evening at the “Wheatsheaf;” I had given orders to be
called the next morning at daybreak, and was crossing the avenue of
lime-trees leading to the lake, in anticipation of witnessing, as I was
wont of a summer’s morning, its interminable sheet of silvery waters and
green moss velvet banks, sprinkled with myriads of daisies--or stars of
the fields--intermixed with golden cups, covered with pearly dew,
bordered also by mountainous trees forming a formidable forest; the
glittering Chinese fishing temple, Corinthian ruin, the flag floating on
the castle tower, “Royal George” frigate and barks, the swans, and the
music of thousands of birds with their notes of freedom so wild and full
of nature. Alas! all my illusions were dispelled, as I could scarcely
see a yard before me; a thick veil, caused by a severe white frost,
seemed to monopolise and wrap in its virgin folds the beauty of this
lovely spot. Though greatly disappointed, I was returning to the humble
country inn with my soul filled by sublime reminiscences of that
charming spot, worthy of the enchanted gardens of Armida, when a
deformed and awkward-looking lout of a stableman, peeping from a clump
of evergreens, thus accosted me:--“Will you take a red herring for
breakfast, sir?”

I leave my readers to imagine the effect produced upon my then exalted
imagination. Pushing him violently from me, “Away with you! unsociable
and ill-timed Quasimodo!” I said. Having thus unceremoniously repulsed
my evil genius, and being by that electric shock entirely deprived of
my appetite, I ordered a post-chaise in lieu of breakfast, and in a
short time was at the turnpike-gate adjoining the inn, waiting for
change to pay the toll. It was then about ten minutes to eight o’clock.

In three-quarters of an hour the post-chaise took me to the railway
station, and an hour after I was ascending my homely staircase, when the
servant apprised me that many persons had called; some had left their
cards, and a mounted groom had brought a letter, saying he would call at
noon for an answer. Amongst the various letters I found upon my desk, I
recognised one in the hand-writing of the Duchess of Sutherland. It was
as follows:--

     The Duchess of Sutherland will be much pleased to see Monsieur
     Soyer at Stafford House at two o’clock this day; or ten to-morrow
     morning, if more convenient to Monsieur Soyer.

     7th February, 1856.

I had scarcely read this letter, when a double knock was heard at the
street door. It was the footman from Stafford House, sent for an answer.
I at once informed him I was going to wait upon her Grace; but as he was
there, he might say that, at two o’clock precisely, I would do myself
the honour of attending at Stafford House. Concluding, naturally enough,
that the summons had reference to my letter, I immediately began to
reflect how I should explain the plan I intended to adopt, in case my
services were required. In the first place, I had decided that the most
important question of all would be the entire freedom of my actions when
I arrived at Scutari. This, of course, could not be granted, unless the
Government, impressed with the importance of the subject, thought proper
to do so. The active part would easily develop itself to my free and
experienced mind.



     Stafford House--A distinguished circle--The plan detailed--Its
     practicability admitted--Home again--Another summons--The War
     Office--An appointment made--Second interview with the Duchess of
     Sutherland--Samples of hospital diets--Question of seasoning--New

At ten minutes to two I entered the superb portico of Stafford House,
and was shown to the ground-floor library by the Duke’s piper, young
Mackenzie. “Her Grace will be with you presently,” said he. “Walk in,
sir, and I will apprise the Duchess of your arrival; who, I am aware, is
anxious to see you.”

I thanked him for his politeness, and he left me alone. I had scarcely
time to cast a glance of admiration upon one of the _chefs-d’œuvre_
of Landseer, representing the juvenile Stafford family, when her Grace
entered, followed by the Duke and Duchess of Argyle, the Marquis and
Marchioness of Stafford, the Marquis of Kildare, Lord and Lady Blantyre,
her brother, and the children--about eighteen in number--Lady Grosvenor,
and others. The Duchess of Sutherland introduced me to the noble circle,
and requested all to be seated, which request was at once complied with;
and her Grace addressed me in these terms:--“Monsieur Soyer, we have
read with deep interest your letter which has appeared in the _Times_,
and I cannot but express my admiration of your noble devotion when any
good can be effected, or the position of the suffering be relieved or
ameliorated by your assistance. The results of your interference would
be very important--and especially at the present time--in our hospitals
at Scutari, and in the Crimea, where, in consequence of such unexpected
calamities, all is in the greatest confusion. I shall also observe to
you, that I am well aware this offer is not your _premier coup d’essai_,
or first trial. But I should advise you to consider the matter well, in
case the Government accept your services. Judging from the tenor of the
letters I receive daily from various departments at Scutari, I can
perceive great difficulties, of which you are perhaps not aware.”

“Your Grace,” I replied, “is extremely kind to initiate me into the true
position of the case; and first of all, I beg to observe that, were
there no great difficulties to surmount, I should not have offered my
services. But will you permit me to set forth, in a few words, the plan
I propose adopting if Government should honour me with their

“Pray do,” exclaimed several of the circle, especially the Duke of
Argyle, close to whom I was seated. Looking at his watch, and addressing
me, the Duke continued, “Pray, Mr. Soyer, give me a slight conception of
your project, as I have only a few minutes to stay. The Council of the
Ministry, of which I am a member, meet in about an hour, and I must be
there. I should be very glad to submit your plans to them; it might
greatly tend to their adoption.”

“Very true; your Grace shall judge if they are practicable or not. First
of all, I should beg the entire confidence of the Government relative to
my actions concerning the culinary department of the hospitals--that is,
that they should grant me the power of obtaining the necessary articles
of food already in the hospitals, and other things which might require
to be purchased by either the commissariat or purveyor’s department,
without the slightest delay, as the want of such power would tend to
certain failure--which I wish to avoid; while the possession of their
confidence will ensure success. I will then pledge my word to do
everything in my power, and with the greatest economy, and, if possible,
with the same quantity of provisions as at present allowed by
Government, or even less, which would be a source of high gratification
to me; and I sincerely hope to be able to do so after the inquiries I
made this morning, previous to attending your Grace’s appointment; for I
perceive, in many instances, that too much is given of one thing, and
not enough of another. Having, therefore, the power to vary the
ingredients and quantity, as well as to change inferior provisions for
better, when possible, will greatly assist me in my undertaking.”

“I have no doubt,” said her Grace, “that what you request will be
granted without the least hesitation.”

“My plan would also be, never to act without the sanction of the
doctor-in-chief respecting the diets I mean to introduce; and I would
not interfere in the slightest degree with any former department, or
displace a man from his duty except for incapacity, insubordination, or
bad conduct; for believe me, if I am sent to Scutari, I go with the
intention of doing all the good I can, and simplifying my difficult
undertaking in such a manner as to ensure success. I should also claim
the power of being able to condemn inferior provisions, and to
substitute better, always without deviating from any army contract which
has been, or may be, made by the Government, as I do not mean to hold
myself responsible for the purchase of any provisions or stores, but
merely to give my approval or disapproval of them. Upon my arrival at
Scutari, I propose at once to take two hundred patients, and diet them
for a week or more, according to the doctor’s approbation, and then
gradually increase the number, till I have the whole under my direction,
if approved of by the chief medical officer. Such is the plan I propose
adopting, and I shall beg your Grace to give me your opinion upon it.”

“The way you intend carrying out your plan seems very practicable.”

“Well,” said the Duke, addressing the Duchess of Sutherland, “you must
excuse me leaving now, as I have but a short time to get to
Downing-street. Mr. Soyer, I shall have much pleasure in submitting your
plan to the Ministerial Council, and will report progress.”

After the Duke’s departure, a general conversation was opened upon the
subject, and having exchanged a few words with Lord and Lady Blantyre
and the Duchess of Sutherland, who kindly promised to acquaint me with
the result, I withdrew, and left Stafford House. No sooner home, having
obtained the correct ration-scale of provisions from Dr. Andrews’s
office, than I formed a very fair idea of what I could do for the best.

The next morning, February 11th, about ten o’clock, I received the
following communication from her Grace:

     The Duchess of Sutherland has just seen his Grace the Duke of
     Argyle, who has spoken to Lord Panmure upon the subject of Mr.
     Soyer’s offer. I think Lord Panmure is willing to forward the
     humane and practical views of Mr. Soyer, and will see Mr. Soyer at
     the War Office to-morrow.

     The Duchess wishes to have the pleasure of seeing Monsieur Soyer
     after his visit to Lord Panmure.

Upon receipt of this letter I immediately went, as desired, to the War
Department to see Lord Panmure’s private secretary, Mr. Ramsay, and
inquire when and where I could see his lordship. The hearty reception I
met with from that gentleman was a most favourable augur, and encouraged
me to persist in the very precarious undertaking in which I was about to
engage, although many friends and near relations strongly tried to
prevent me from pursuing it, placing constantly before my eyes the most
sinister pictures, which, I am proud to say, never for a moment altered
my mind. Having but one object in view, I was determined to see only the
best side of the medal, and chance the rest.

Mr. Ramsay having arranged my interview with Lord Panmure for the next
morning, I then retired, thanking him much for his very kind and
courteous reception. I went home to test a few samples of diets and
aliments I had prepared from the soldiers’ rations; placing the whole of
them in small vases, well packed, I sent them to Stafford House, there
to remain till my arrival. In about an hour I had a second interview
with the Duchess of Sutherland and a number of her noble family. After
speaking of my visit to the War Office, and my appointment with his
lordship for the morning,

“Lord Blantyre,” the Duchess said, “has some business at the War
Department to-day, and I shall trouble his lordship to remit another
letter from me on the subject to Lord Panmure, who has, at the present
time, so much to do that it is likely your interview might be postponed
for another day.”

“I can assure your Grace that the extreme interest you take in my behalf
appears to me a good omen, assuring me of success, in case I should be
sent to the seat of war. I would also observe that, being well aware of
the value of Lord Panmure’s time, in a few minutes I shall be able to
unfold my plan, and he will no doubt at once perceive whether it is
practicable or not, and will give me a decided answer; therefore, to
lose time, on either side, would be impolitic. But, before I leave, will
your Grace honour me by inspecting a few samples of hospital diets which
I have prepared as a test, from the rations as at present given to the
soldiers? They will form part of my new system, if approved by the
medical officers.”

“Have you some here, Mr. Soyer?”

“Yes, your Grace, I have; one of the footmen has taken charge of them
till required.”

The order having been given, a footman entered with the samples on a
plateau, with spoons, &c., which were tasted by the select and noble
party, who at once pronounced them very palatable, and to which I
remarked, that through the nature of the ingredients they could not fail
to be nutritious and light.

“It is to be regretted,” I said, “that the cooks in many hospitals are
not allowed to put the seasoning in the savoury diets, which restriction
will invariably produce very unsatisfactory results. I will here repeat
the saying of Hippocrates:--‘What pleases the palate nourishes.’ If this
great man has said so, it is a pity that some of his modern disciples
have altered or deviated from such an ancient and just maxim, for I will
vouch that a diet properly seasoned is far more generous and
invigorating to the patient than the unpalatable food prepared without
anything of the sort; at the same time many maladies will require
various degrees of seasoning, as too much in some cases would prove
equally if not more injurious than the want of it in others. This point
must be left to the doctor’s discretion. I am also aware that in some
hospitals salt and pepper are allowed, and, I may say, too abundantly;
and each patient is permitted to season his food, not according to his
taste, but his judgment: this is another evil, as he is or may be at the
time entirely deprived of either taste or judgment. These remarks will
be the first I shall submit to the notice of the principal doctor, and I
am morally certain he will agree with me as soon as they are properly

“A most important observation,” said the Duchess; “for, even when in the
enjoyment of good health, what is more disagreeable than an insipid

“I have always, madame, maintained that the cook must season for guests
or patients, and not these for the cook.”

“In fact,” said I to the Marquis of Stafford, who had tasted several of
the samples, “does not your lordship opine that salt and pepper should
be almost excluded from the ward, and that the cook should be as
responsible for seasoning the food as the apothecary is for making up
the doctor’s prescription correctly?”

“Certainly; but can you persuade them to do so?”

“Very easily; by my system of diet, every recipe will be printed,
framed, and hung up in the kitchen, so that any person, even a soldier
(provided he can read), will be capable of executing them well, as each
receipt will be comprised in a few lines.”

“Ah! that will, indeed, be most valuable, and readily applied in every

During this conversation, the Duchess of Sutherland and the Marquis of
Stafford had tasted another kind of food which I had made for the camp.
It was prepared from peas-meal, in which I had introduced a due
proportion of salt and pepper,--called “Symon’s ground baked
peas-meal,”--and by pouring a pint of boiling water upon a good
table-spoonful of it, made a most excellent and thick purée of peas
quite hot. I one day, as a trial, ate nothing but that and a biscuit,
and did not feel the least inclined for anything else. I do not mean to
imply that such fare would do for a continuance, but when nothing else
could be obtained, it certainly would be a great comfort for the troops
to get a hot meal, made in a few minutes, and without trouble. All
present tasted this, and expressed themselves very favourably about it.
Having also left some samples of coffee, I was retiring, when the
Duchess of Sutherland kindly reminded me that she should be happy to see
me the morning after my interview with the Minister-at-War. Of course I
should not have failed in presenting myself, even without this kind



     Reception at the War Office--Full powers granted--The Duke of
     Cambridge--His _chef de cuisine_, Comte--Model of a portable camp
     or field stove--Visit to Lord Shaftesbury--Dr. Andrews--An
     encouraging porter--Phonetic experiments--Mr. Stafford’s kind
     reception--Model of the stove inspected by the Duke of Cambridge
     and by Lord Panmure--Interview with Mr. Brunel--Dr. Mayne--Question
     of patent--Sir Benjamin Hawes’ office--Stafford House
     again--Letters of introduction--Honourable Mrs. Herbert--A recreant
     secretary--Quite at a non-plus--A friend in need--Farewell at
     London Bridge--Pavilion Hotel, Folkestone.

At nine o’clock next morning I was at the War Office by appointment.
Lord Panmure arrived at half-past, and by the kindness of Mr. Ramsay,
who had mentioned my arrival, I was immediately introduced and most
cordially received. After a few words on my part, as I had not had the
pleasure of seeing Lord Panmure since I left the Reform Club, he
inquired what I proposed doing in respect to the cooking department of
Scutari Hospital. Stating briefly that which I had previously explained
in detail to the Duke of Argyle when at Stafford House, and with which
Lord Panmure seemed to be perfectly acquainted, he said to me,--

“You must, after you have done there, go to the Crimea, and cheer up
those brave fellows in the camp;--see what you can do! Your joyful
countenance will do them good, Soyer; try to teach them to make the best
of their rations!”

I then observed that, first of all, I must try and succeed in the
hospitals; secondly, that, if the troops in the Crimea had the same
small tin camp-kettle I had seen in the camp at Chobham, it would be
impossible for me to improve the style of cooking, as they were much
too small, and burnt too much fuel, more especially in the open air.

“Well,” said Lord Panmure, “can you substitute anything more applicable
for the camp, and which can be easily carried with the regiments while
on march?”

“I will set my head to work and try, and if any plan which I consider
practicable strikes me, I will have a model of it made, and submit the
same for your lordship’s approval.”

“Well, do.”

“With reference to the hospital at Scutari, I believe that is a
permanent building, situated near a large metropolis, full of resources,
and I have nothing to risk going there and setting to work immediately.
I shall start in the full conviction of being able to do some good, if
your lordship honours me with your full confidence and grants me the
power of acting according to my own judgment in a profession which I
have successfully practised for upwards of twenty years.”

“Very good, Soyer! I shall give orders to that effect, and furnish you
with letters of introduction to every department.”

“Now, I hope you will do me the honour of accepting my services as I
offered them, through the medium of the public press; such acceptance on
the part of your lordship will, I can assure you, much facilitate the
progress of my undertaking.”

“I understand your meaning, Mr. Soyer; but I must make some arrangement
for your expenses.”

“Those, of course, I shall accept, or I should be giving offence to your
lordship as well as the Government; more especially as I am, after
visiting Scutari, to proceed to the Crimea.”

“Well, tell me when you can start,--the mail leaves at noon to-morrow.”

“I should be most happy to leave to-morrow, but previous to my departure
for so long and unexpected a journey, I have some important private
affairs to settle; it will therefore be impossible.”

“Ah, truly! then I leave it to you, Soyer; but the sooner you go the

“Your lordship may depend upon my anxiety and promptitude; not a day, or
even a minute shall be lost.”

“Fare you well, Soyer; come and see me before your departure.”

“Of course I will; but, begging your pardon, to whom shall I address
myself for any further information I may require?”

“To myself, and no one else,” was Lord Panmure’s reply.

“I should be sorry to interrupt you in the incessant business you have
from morning till night.”

“My secretary, Mr. Ramsay, will always be here; but do not hesitate, if
you require it, to see me.”

“I certainly will not.”

After a few words with Mr. Ramsay upon the subject of my interview, and
what was decided upon, I immediately went to inform the Duchess of
Sutherland of the result of my visit, at which her Grace expressed her
gratification, and requested me to call again prior to my departure for
the East, stating that she would give me some important letters of
introduction to persons at Scutari, which would be most useful to me.
After promising to do this, I retired. My intention was then to pay a
visit to the Duke of Cambridge, who at that time took great interest in
the subject, he having lately visited the hospital at Scutari; and made
important observations upon the system of cooking carried on there.

As I was on my way to St. James’s Palace, I met his Highness,
accompanied by the Honourable James Macdonald, leaving the house; and
having paid my respects, he inquired if I was going to Scutari, to which
I replied in the affirmative. In a few words I gave him the result of my
interview with Lord Panmure, and also spoke of the warm interest the
Duchess of Sutherland took in the subject.

“Yes, I am aware of it,” said he. “I had the pleasure of seeing her
Grace yesterday.” I then made a few inquiries respecting the state of
the hospitals there, which his highness very kindly described to me.

The Duke remarked--“Your friend Comte will be able to give you all the
information you may require, as he was with me at Scutari, and saw all
the kitchen department in detail.”

“Many thanks, your highness; I shall do myself the pleasure of paying
him an early visit.”

Five minutes after I was with my friend Comte, the Duke of Cambridge’s
_chef de cuisine_, who kindly initiated me into all the doings, both in
the camp and in the hospitals on the Bosphorus. This information was of
great service to me.[4]

Upon leaving my friend I hastily returned home, intending to draw out
the plan of a model for a portable camp or field stove, which could also
be applied to the use of the hospitals. Having heard that no regular
kitchens had been established there, I was anxious to have a simple
apparatus to take out with me of which I understood the working, and
which might be put in action immediately on my arrival. In a very short
time I hit upon an idea which I thought could be easily carried out, and
would answer perfectly. Losing no time, I jumped into a cab and
immediately drove to the eminent gas engineers and stove makers, Messrs.
Smith and Phillips, of Snow-hill. On submitting my plan to those
scientific gentlemen, they pronounced it practicable, and promised me a
model, one inch to the foot, to be ready in a day or two.

Although the snow was falling heavily, I paid an early visit to Lord
Shaftesbury, to whom I had the honour of being permitted to dedicate my
last work--the “Cookery for the People.”

His lordship gave me a most cordial reception, and was much, pleased to
hear of my intention of going to the East. Lord Shaftesbury made several
useful observations respecting the importance of my mission. I bade him
adieu. His lordship kindly wished me all the success I could desire, and
said that he should be happy to hear of my proceedings, of which I
promised to inform him a short time after my arrival.

As I had a letter of introduction from Mr. Ramsay to Dr. Andrews, I
proceeded to that gentleman’s office, where I found several medical
gentlemen waiting, with some of whom I had the pleasure of being
acquainted. Others were engaged testing samples of preserved milk in
glasses; and having asked me to test some, I selected one which they all
agreed was the best: I believe it turned out to be Gamble’s preserved
milk, in tins. My letter of introduction having been given to the
doctor, I had an immediate interview.

After listening to my few inquiries, he kindly wrote me a letter of
introduction to Dr. Cumming, the superintendent at Scutari, and all the
hospitals on the Bosphorus, promising me his support, and requesting
that I might have all I required in my department upon application to
the purveyor. He then put me in communication with a gentleman in charge
of the stores, who would give me all the information respecting the
kitchen utensils then in use in the hospitals. Having taken notes of
everything, I retired perfectly satisfied with the important information
I had gathered in so short a time.

I was well aware of the multiplicity of business daily transacted by the
doctor, and the difficulty of obtaining a private interview with him,
even on business, as one of the assistant porters told me when I called
early one morning, that I might call till doomsday, and not be able to
see him. This, of course, I took for granted, as no doubt the doctor
would upon this solemn occasion be more engaged than ever. I must,
however, observe that he at first took me for a merchant who had been
for several years trying to persuade the English faculty to sanction or
adopt the use of leeches to the same extent as is done in France. Not
much flattered by the comparison, I wished him better manners for the

“I beg your pardon, sir; but not being on the military list, I did not
know you. Why didn’t you tell me you was Monseer Soyewere, then I should
have knowed you? Of course, everybody knows you in England, Ireland,
Wales, and Scotland.”

“Well, never mind; but did I not give you my card?”

“Of course you did; but I could not make out the name of So-ye-were from
five such letters as that,” said he, showing my card to some one
present. “Soyer! surely that never can be So-ye-were!”

“You spell and write admirably. Thank you for the wrinkle. I shall have
my card altered.”

I told the cabman to drive me to the residence of Mr. Stafford, M.P., at
whose chambers I had the day before left a letter of introduction from
the Duchess of Sutherland. I had the pleasure of a very interesting
interview with that gentleman, who had then just returned from Scutari.
Having given me the necessary details of what was most required, and
about the number of assistants I should take with me to insure immediate
success, he promised to furnish me with several letters of introduction,
if I would send or call for them before my departure.

“I shall, certainly,” said I, “much prefer calling, were it only to have
the advantage of a little more of your valuable information upon any
subject which may strike you after my departure; and I thank you for
your kind and valuable suggestions.”

“When do you think of starting?”

“In a couple of days at the latest.”

“Very well; the letters shall be ready without fail, and two or three
small parcels, which you will be kind enough to deliver for me--one
especially for Miss Nightingale, rather fragile, and which I cannot send
by post.”

“I shall be most happy; jusqu’au plaisir de vous revoir.”

I devoted the rest of that day to my private affairs, packing, and
paying farewell visits. The next morning, at half-past nine, Messrs.
Smith and Phillips, according to promise, brought me a most beautiful
small model of the field-stove, which they warranted first-rate, and to
be capable of working in or out of doors, and in all weathers. I
immediately proceeded to the War-Office, to show the model, and explain
the principle to Lord Panmure. In the waiting-room I had the honour of
meeting the Duke of Cambridge, which gave me an excellent opportunity of
explaining its merits. The Duke appeared to approve of it, and
particularly noticed the great economy of fuel consequent upon the
construction and smallness of the furnace. The Duke made some important
remarks, and gave me a few hints upon the cooking regulations both in
the hospitals and in the camps. These I took note of, and after
explaining my plan of transport, I was quite delighted at having had
such an opportunity of conversing with the Duke on a subject in which I
was aware he felt particular interest. Mr. Ramsay, the secretary, having
sent for me, I quitted the Duke; and, before leaving, I informed him
that I had seen my friend Comte, and that he had given me all the
assistance in his power, and had also told me that his highness had
presented the hospital with a very nice _petite batterie de cuisine_,
which, no doubt, I should find very useful upon my arrival.

“Adieu, Monsieur Soyer, I wish you well, and hope you will succeed.”

On reaching Mr. Ramsay’s office, that gentleman kindly informed me that
if I wished to see Lord Panmure I had better wait till he went to take
his luncheon. I then stated that my object was to show his lordship the
model of a stove I had invented for the use both of the hospitals and
the army.

“Walk into the next room; Lord Panmure will be there in a few minutes,
and you will have plenty of time to show it without interfering with his

I had not waited ten minutes before Lord Panmure came in alone.

“Ah, Mr. Soyer, what have you there?”

“The model of a stove I wish to submit to your lordship. It is one which
will, I believe, suit admirably for cooking both in and out of doors.”

After closely examining it, and listening to the details I had
previously given to the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Panmure approved of it,
and requested me to have another made, which he might keep by him for

He then inquired how many cooks I should take with me.

“Only a few from Paris,” I replied, “as I wish to make a trial before
engaging many people; besides, I hope to be able, in a very short time,
to instruct the soldiers, who, being under discipline, might prove as
useful as any cooks.”

Lord Panmure seemed pleased at my anxiety to instruct the soldiers; and,
as he very justly remarked--“We want them to learn how to cook their
rations to the best advantage, and that your instructions should remain
for ever among them. Well, I have settled all you wished me to do; and
my secretary, Mr. Ramsay, will remit you all the letters you require.
When do you think of starting?”

“By the next mail.”

“Well!” said his lordship, shaking me heartily by the hand, “Good-bye,
if I do not see you again before your departure.”

“It would only be troubling you; I therefore beg to take this
opportunity of thanking your lordship for the kind reception and
encouragement I have received, and, still more, for the confidence with
which you have honoured me. I assure you that it will cause me to be
most careful and economical, and it will be my pride to improve the diet
without increasing the expense to Government. This may not be effected
at first; but when the system is once introduced, and fairly
established, I will answer for both a great amelioration as well as a

“I am confident, Soyer, that you will do your best.”

“Your lordship may depend upon me for that, were it only for my own

“Well, write as soon as you arrive, and let us know how you get on.”

Upon leaving, I met Mr. Ramsay, and related to him _verbatim_ what had
passed between Lord Panmure and myself. I then showed him the model,
which he understood perfectly well, and gave me the engineer, Mr.
Brunel’s, address. I called upon that gentleman, and had the pleasure of
an interview. He at once gave his full and entire approval of the
principle, saying, “You really come at a most propitious time; Dr. Mayne
and myself are actually busily engaged discussing a plan for
establishing kitchens in the Smyrna hospital. Yours will answer very
well, and assist us materially, as it is always a tedious department to
construct in order to be effective, and work properly. No doubt they
will be applicable to every public institution; besides, what a small
quantity of fuel they must consume.”

“Very little, indeed; and with this simple regulator you may manage the
ebullition to a nicety, even in the open air. I shall also beg to
remark, that they will be made of a beautiful metal, that will never
require tinning; and the whole, though light in weight, will be
extremely strong, and will last several years without needing repairs,
or, at least, very trifling ones, that will not interfere with their use
for a single day. They will take up but little room, and may be easily
kept clean. No bricks are required, no chimney to be swept, and they can
be as easily removed as any piece of furniture in your room.”

“You are perfectly right; and I give you my candid opinion, they are the
very stoves required for the purpose. I should like Dr. Mayne to see it;
if you can, call as you go to the War Office, and show him the model. I
can then speak with him upon the subject.”

“With the greatest of pleasure.”

As Dr. Mayne had not arrived when I called, I went and fetched a
passport for myself, and one for my secretary. Upon my return, the
doctor had examined the model, and seemed much pleased, saying--“It
will answer very well.” I left the address of the manufacturers with
him, and then retired. They were immediately adopted both at Smyrna, and
later at Rankioi.

A gentleman present, who seemed to have taken a great deal of interest
in our descriptive conversation, followed me to the door, and, in a low
voice, asked if I had taken out a patent.

“No, I have not; but I shall put my name and label upon them.”

“Well, if you were to take out a patent, you would make a fortune.”

“You may be right; but upon such an occasion I should fancy myself
wrong. I will therefore give it, _pro bono publico_. I am well aware
that by making it more complete I could take out either registration or
patent, but I would not do that for the world; as it would be
immediately reported that I expected to be repaid for my services by the
profits of the patent of the stove, and upon these grounds I decline any
such proceeding.”

As it was then about three o’clock, I went, by appointment, to Sir
Benjamin Hawes’ office to bid that gentleman adieu, and to receive his
final orders, showing him at the same time the model, which he seemed to
appreciate thoroughly. He gave me the best advice, and promised me his
powerful support throughout my culinary campaign. In return, I engaged
to communicate all my movements, and retired.

At noon, next day, I again called at Stafford House, “not by
appointment.” On being informed of my visit, the Duchess at once
favoured me with an audience. “I am come,” said I, “to announce my
departure. I wish, ere I leave to-morrow, to thank your Grace, and to
show you the model of my new stove which I mean to introduce into the
hospital kitchens.”

“Ah!” exclaimed her Grace, “I must go and fetch the Duke. He will be
highly pleased with it, and he wished very much to see you before your

The Duke soon entered the great hall, with a large party, to whom I
explained the principle, as I had before done to the Duke of Cambridge.
I also stated that the day previous I had had the honour of showing it
to Lord Panmure, and Mr. Brunel, the celebrated engineer, all of whom
were much pleased with its efficacy, simplicity, and economy; more
especially Mr. Brunel, who so highly appreciated the principle of its
construction, that he at once adopted it, and applied it to the hospital
kitchens at Smyrna and Rankioi, which he was there about to fit up.

The Duke made many remarks respecting the simplicity of its construction
and the immense economy of fuel; “the transport of which,” I observed,
“was so extremely difficult and costly.” I also remarked that one stove
might be placed in a tent or hut containing fifty or sixty men; and they
could cook there without the smallest inconvenience or difficulty, while
it would throw out sufficient heat, “being in use nearly all day, viz.,
for breakfast, dinner, and tea,” to warm the hut in winter, while in
summer it might be turned out of doors.

Having been complimented by all present, I was about to retire, when the
Duchess observed that she had written several letters of introduction
for me. “Among the number,” said her Grace, “you will find one for Miss

I returned my sincere thanks to all present, and in particular to the
Duke and Duchess. I assured them that the kindness and great
encouragement I had received from them would be for ever engraved in my
memory. The Duke remarked that he was very glad to see me in such high
spirits. I acknowledged this with a bow.

“But, Mr. Soyer, suppose you should be taken ill?” said the Duchess.

“Well, your Grace--_cela est à la volonté de Dieu_--at present I am
happy to say I have not any fears on that head, and am quite resigned to
whatever Providence may dictate. Once more I beg to reiterate my
feelings of gratitude, and bid your Grace and your illustrious family

As it was nearly one o’clock, I called upon Mr. Ramsay, who had all my
letters ready. He did me the honour to introduce me to General Vivian,
of the Turkish Contingent, and his brother, Captain Ramsay, the
general’s aide-de-camp. Anticipating the pleasure of meeting those
gentlemen in the East, I departed with the best wishes of all.

Mr. Ramsay gave me a letter for the Honourable Mrs. Herbert, to whom I
was anxious to pay a visit, well aware of the important information I
could gather from that benevolent lady, who was in constant
communication with the hospitals in the East, and also with Miss
Nightingale. I was very kindly received; but, instead of giving me an
encouraging prospect of success, that lady very candidly informed me
that the number of letters she daily received were most unsatisfactory,
and that she did not think it possible for me to restore order in the
cooking department at the great barrack hospital. “The difficulties you
will encounter,” said she, “are incalculable.”

“So I anticipate,” was my reply; “but I must observe, that I love
difficulties, in order to surmount them. And with the power so
graciously conferred upon me by Lord Panmure, I cannot fail to do some
good, if my health does not fail me.”

“I hope,” said Mrs. Herbert, “you will succeed, and shall be happy to
hear of an amelioration. When do you think of going?”

“To-morrow.” Bidding her adieu, and thanking her for her kind reception,
I retired.

On reaching home, I found the promised letters from Mr. Stafford, all my
luggage packed, and was on the point of starting, when I learned that
the gentleman who was going with me as secretary, and had his passport
ready, declined to accompany me. His relations and friends had persuaded
him not to go, the fever being so bad there, and so many deaths
occurring daily. I was thus placed in an awkward position, and was,
moreover, pestered at home by intrusive visitors, and no end of
ridiculous letters. I thought of starting alone; but, upon reflection, I
decided upon passing the evening at the Adelaide Hotel, at London
Bridge, and in the morning looking out for another party; thus, to my
great annoyance, losing another day. To start alone without a
first-class companion for so long a journey was a sad affair. I must
observe that I had previously engaged two young men, at high wages, as
cooks, one of whom declined going to Scutari, but did not mind the
Crimea; the other fell ill. Thus, my prospects on the eve of my
departure were anything but favourable.

Next morning, while driving along Piccadilly, I met a friend, who, in
congratulating me upon my proposed journey, and wishing me success in my
undertaking, said, “So Mr. L---- is going with you as secretary, is he

“No, he is not! he has left me in the lurch at the last minute; and, my
dear fellow, I can tell you what, there is a chance for you--it is only
for two or three months--you will be well paid, and all expenses

“It is very kind of you to make me the offer,” he replied; “but I cannot
leave my business at a minute’s notice. How long could you give me to

“Oh! I am off this evening by the mail.”

“I have no clothes ready for travelling.”

“Never mind that; you can get all you require in Paris, where I shall
remain two days upon business.”

“Indeed! then in two hours I will give you a decided answer.”

At the expiration of that time my friend made his appearance. We drew up
an agreement, got his passport, and started the same evening; but not on
the sly, as I had anticipated. Having forgotten to warn T. G. not to
mention the fact of our intended journey, he had called upon several of
his friends, with some of whom I was acquainted, and to my surprise,
when I reached the station, I found about twenty assembled to bid us
farewell. If I mention this circumstance, it is only to have an
opportunity of publicly thanking those gentlemen for their hearty
farewell, and three cheers--the echo of which still vibrates in my
heart, and was through the whole of my culinary campaign a high source
of gratification to my feelings. That night we slept at the Pavilion
Hotel, Folkestone.



     The lost pocket-book--Found at last--Scene at a station--Caught in
     a fog--Arrival at Boulogne--The Emperor’s first
     valet-de-chambre--An avalanche of earth--Table talk--Napoleon’s
     projected trip to the Crimea--News of the death of the Czar--An
     incredulous auditor--A bet quickly won--Paris--Lyons--Marseilles.

The Boulogne steamer was to start at half-past seven in the morning; the
weather was anything but favourable, as rain was falling in torrents,
and a thick fog coming on. T. G. and myself were ready to start, when a
sad adventure occurred--my pocket-book, containing the best part of my
cash and my official letters, was not to be found.[5] As I recollected
having put it safely in the side pocket of my great coat before leaving
the Adelaide Hotel, I feared that during the journey (owing to the
fatigues of the day I had slept some time in the train) it might have
been abstracted from my pocket.

After hunting in vain all about the room, I informed Mr. Giovanni and
Mr. Brydes, the landlord of the hotel, of my loss, and those gentlemen
immediately instituted inquiries. The news was soon known all through
the hotel, and the crier was ordered to go round the town. I also
dispatched T. G. to London, to make inquiries at the station and the
hotel, lest by chance I had taken it out during my short visit at the
London Bridge house, where I had been surrounded by a number of friends.
While making a last search in the room, by accident I shook the heavy
wooden frame of the bed, from which everything had been
removed--bedding, beds, and all, but without success--to my
astonishment and delight, I heard something fall. It was my lost
pocket-book. I had thrown my great coat over me in the night (the
weather being cold), and the book had worked its way out, and got
between the frame of the bedstead and the wall. Upon this discovery I
immediately telegraphed for T. G. to return, in these words: “Stop a
gentleman of colour--it’s all right.”

On the arrival of the train at Tonbridge, the cry of “Stop the gentleman
of colour” was loudly shouted along the station. “All right, all right,”
cried T. G.; “here I am.” He immediately jumped into the special down
train, and arrived time enough to save the steamer.

The _quid pro quo_ of passengers as well as railway employés was, that
the thief had been captured, and it served him right. I heard afterwards
this was the exclamation of many at the time.

T. G.’s devotion was certainly not repaid, but, when explained at the
hotel, the incident caused great mirth. This was our first tribulation,
which, though unpleasant, had the merit of being the first germ of

The same morning, in a rough sea and heavy rain, we sailed for
Boulogne-sur-Mer. The steamer was very much crowded with Crimean
passengers, and almost every one paid the usual nautical debt to
Neptune, looking more or less uninteresting. The beauty of the female
part of the passengers had faded, and nothing but pale, livid faces
remained, in place of the blooming, peach-like countenances. A very
thick fog came on, and the speed of the steamer was of course checked.
We progressed slowly through the opaque atmosphere and heavy rain. After
we had made all the signals required, the steam-whistle was heard, and
we found ourselves going ahead towards the round tower on the right hand
side of the port, the sight of which seemed to astonish the crew of the
vessel, and more so one of the passengers, an old gentleman, who
exclaimed, “We are in the same position as the _Amphitrite_, which was
wrecked in 1833, when above two hundred souls perished. A fisherman
named Pierre Hénin distinguished himself so greatly on that occasion,
that he was decorated by both countries--France and England.”

I observed, that the sea must have been about three times as rough at
that time, and it was to be hoped, in case of danger, we should meet
with several Pierre Hénins. However, by backing for about twenty
minutes, and the fog clearing off by degrees, we arrived safely, but too
late for the train. The jetty was rather crowded for that time of the
year. Our delay and the fog had rendered our passage interesting--rather
more so than pleasant. My intention was to take the first train, when,
on reaching the jetty, who should I perceive but my friend M. Léon, the
Emperor’s first valet-de-chambre, one of the persons that have been
longest employed about his Majesty’s person, having been with him above
sixteen years. He is much esteemed by his imperial master, none but
himself approaching his person while in his private apartment. It is M.
Léon who sleeps before the door of his illustrious master’s chamber
while travelling, as the Mamelouk Roustan did before that of Napoleon
the First. “Hollo!” he exclaimed, “are you here, my dear friend?”

“Yes, I am. What brings you here at this season? And where is his
Majesty?” said I.

“You may depend upon it,” he replied, “that if the Emperor were not
here, I should not be at Boulogne; but we have only come for a few days.
The Emperor is going to attend a review to-morrow. I hear you are going
to the Crimea.”

“Yes, I am.”

“So we saw by the newspapers, and the Emperor was much pleased to hear
it, and expressed his satisfaction by no doubt thinking it was an
excellent idea for you to be sent over there. When do you start?”

“Almost directly,” I replied.

“Stay here to-night. I will tell the Emperor you are here. Come and sup
with me this evening.”

“Thank you, I will.” We then parted; I sending some of my attendants on
to Paris. The implacable douaniers then commenced their perilous sport;
and although, thanks to a friend of mine, I had an official passport
from the French Embassy, signed by Count Walewski, two of my boxes
containing my Shilling Cookery Books were confiscated till the next
morning, but eventually allowed to pass free of duty, but not of
trouble, and would have been the cause of my losing a day for nothing,
had it not been that we were too late for the train. At ten minutes to
seven o’clock, through a very heavy rain and a brisk gale, we arrived at
the “Grand Hôtel du Pavilion,” which had just been finished, and was
inhabited for the first time. This hotel is situated about five hundred
yards from the Etablissement des Bains, at the foot of the bank, on the
right hand side of that establishment. Any person who has visited
Boulogne must be acquainted with the spot. It is rather remarkable that
soon after the arrival of the Emperor--in fact, he only just had time to
dress after his journey--an avalanche of earth fell from the top of the
bank, shaking the very foundations of the hotel. At the back of the
house the earth reached higher than the second floor, breaking the
windows. Some of the _débris_ actually fell into the Emperor’s
dressing-room, only a few minutes after he had left it. The slip of
earth was supposed to have been caused by the melting of the snow, which
had lain there for some time, as well as the rain, which had been
pouring down, night and day, for a week.

My friend was just sitting down to supper, when I joined them, it being
then eight o’clock, _heure militaire_, punctuality being the motto in
every department in the imperial household. Having introduced my
secretary, T. G., the conversation turned upon the avalanche, then upon
the _grand repas de corps_, as it is called in France, or military
banquet, given that evening to the generals and officers of the Camp de
Boulogne. But the most important part of the conversation was upon the
contemplated departure of Napoleon for the East. He was to travel from
Paris to Marseilles incog., with but very few of his suite.
“Everything,” said M. Léon, “is packed and ready, and we may start at
an hour’s notice. Your friend Benoit has already sent his _batterie de
cuisine_, and a quantity of preserved provisions.” (M. Benoit is the
Emperor’s _chef de cuisine_.)[6]

Whilst we were conversing, a footman entered, in a state of anxiety and
excitement, and exclaimed--“There is not a single cigar, and the Emperor
has asked for some.”

“Very well,” said the maître d’hôtel, “go and buy some.” In about half
an hour he returned with a square box, three parts full of various kinds
of cigars, which he had no doubt purchased at all the nearest grocers’
shops, clearing out their stock of _French_ Havana cigars.

“Couldn’t you get better ones than these?” said the maître d’hôtel.

“No doubt I could, but not near.”

“Then, take them up.” He despatched another servant to the Rue de l’Ecu
for a box of good ones, which arrived too late. Owing to a most
unexpected circumstance, the company only had the opportunity of
partaking of a few of them, for they scarcely had time to light cigars,
when a telegraphic dispatch arrived. My friend M. Léon told one of the
attendants to go and see if his Majesty had left the banqueting-room,
and if he was in his cabinet. While this was passing, I took the
dispatch in my hand, and by way of a joke, said to him, “As France and
England are now allied, and have the same policy, I have here an
official English Government letter, which, if you like, I will exchange
for your dispatch.”

“It might be done,” said he, laughing; “but, upon consideration, the
Emperor would very likely prefer his own.” The servant returned, and
informed him that the Emperor was still at table. The dispatch remained
about ten minutes longer near M. Léon, when they came and apprised him
that Napoleon was in his cabinet. M. Léon went up with the dispatch, and
in a few minutes returned, saying to me, “Do you know what the contents
of the letter you wished to exchange for yours were?”

“Certainly not,” I replied.

“The contents are, that the Emperor Nicholas is dead.” Every one was
thunderstruck by the unexpected announcement, and we could hardly
believe it. “If you come up quickly, you will hear the Emperor himself
announce it to the company in the banqueting-room.”

We obeyed, but only arrived in time to hear the last words--“a cessé de
vivre.” Special orders were then given that no demonstration should be
made, and a low and mournful conversational sound was alone heard
amongst those assembled. A few minutes after leaving the imperial
palace, a friend and myself were quietly taking our coffee at a
celebrated establishment, and in conversation said loud enough to be
heard by our neighbours, that certainly the death of the Emperor
Nicholas was very likely to change the state of affairs, as the present
Emperor, Alexander was, so we had always heard, rather a pacificator.
Before we could finish the remark, an elderly gentleman, who was sitting
near us, exclaimed, “What do you say? What do you say, sir?--the Emperor
Nicholas dead?”

“Yes, sir, he is dead.”

“Go to ----, sir; that’s another Crimean shave, like the taking of

“Sir,” I replied, “I can vouch for this not being a shave, and that his
Majesty, the Emperor Nicholas the First of Russia, expired yesterday;
and what is more, I will lay you a wager of it.”

In a few minutes some jumped upon the chairs and benches, others upon
the billiard-table, looking at me, no doubt anxious to see whether I was
intoxicated or mad. One gentleman raising his voice, said, “I’ll bet
anything this report is not true.”

“Done for a dozen of champagne.”

“I take you, and we will drink your health at your own expense.”

We scarcely had time to deposit our money with the lady who presided at
the bar of the establishment when mine was again in my pocket. A number
of officers who had returned from the banquet entered, and affirmed the
truth of what I had stated. Nevertheless, no one could believe it; so I
proposed returning my money to the stakeholder till the next morning,
and turning the champagne into an early _déjeuner à la fourchette_.

At the custom-house the following morning I was detained, and reached
twenty-five minutes behind the time appointed by my friend, and perhaps
thereby lost the chance of a short interview with the Emperor, which
made me bless the douaniers who were so long at their breakfast, and
longer still in clearing my luggage. I found my friend M. Léon smoking
his short pipe at the hotel door, with his hands in his _pantalon à la
cosaque_, a type _de troupier_ well worthy of the past and present
empire; so I made sure his Majesty was off.

“Oh, here you are at last--a fine fellow truly, and very punctual
indeed! Why, his Majesty has been gone this half-hour. I intimated you
were still here, and he would probably have seen you; but mind, if you
don’t look sharp, we shall be at Constantinople before you. You are sure
to see his Majesty there, for the first thing he will do will be to
visit all the hospitals, both French and English.”

“I am very glad to hear you say so, for the loss is on my side; but what
can you do when you are in the hands of the authorities; if you
recollect, the last time I was here, I fared worse, for I was locked up
more than two hours for coming without a passport, fancying myself a
true Briton, as they are allowed to land without any.”

“Then you really expect to go?” I again asked.

“Nothing can be more certain, when I tell you that everything is ready
for our departure. I much regret missing so excellent an opportunity.
When do you leave?”

This afternoon; our places are taken by telegraph at Marseilles through
the War Office; and I shall only remain in Paris twenty-four hours,
instead of two days, as I had anticipated.

Having related the scene at the café the previous evening, and invited
him to the dejeuner, he declined attending it, on the ground that some
unexpected news from Russia might cause his Majesty to return to Paris

“Do you mean to say,” I exclaimed, “that you had not heard of the
Emperor Nicholas being indisposed previous to the arrival of the
despatch which announced his death?”

“Oh, yes; we did hear last evening. This was the third dispatch we
received yesterday, but we never dreamed of his dying till that one

“Well, many thanks for your kindness, my dear friend; and I hope to see
you at Scutari soon. I shall pay you a visit there.”

“Do,” said he; “I understand we shall have one of the Sultan’s palaces
on the Bosphorus. Adieu!”

After the dejeuner, and a protracted journey to the Boulogne Camp, my
friend and myself took the last train and arrived early in the morning
at Paris. My first visit was to the military hospital of the Val de
Grace, the Invalides, the Hôtel Dieu, &c. I was politely shown over each
establishment by the authorities on duty, and took notes of all the
ingredients used for the preparation of the daily diets of both officers
and soldiers.

We started the same evening for Lyons, stayed a few hours there, and
visited the military hospital at that place, and took the steamer to
Avignon. On board we found the Smyrna ladies, about thirty in number,
under the orders of Mrs. M. Cooke; there were also many doctors. I had
seen them the day previous at the Hôtel des Princes, Rue Richelieu, but
had not the slightest knowledge of who or what they were. As the ladies
were all dressed in grey, I took them for Quakeresses upon a



     Tour of inspection at Marseilles--The booking office--Sleeping upon
     deck--Places transferred--The bouillabaisse--The Olio--Marseilles
     dishes--A harrowing spectacle--The _Simois_--A pleasant
     prospect--Good ballast--The Bay of Ajaccio--_Compagnons de
     voyage_--Birthplace of the first Napoleon--La Signora
     Grossetti--Twenty minutes in the kitchen of the house of the
     Emperor Napoleon the First--Memorials of the Emperor’s childhood--A
     charming evening--Once more afloat--An enraged
     _restaurateur_--Struggle for a leg of mutton--Messina--The

On arriving at Marseilles, I made inquiries at the Station as to what
provisions could be obtained for the army, if required. I bade my
friends adieu, in hopes of having the pleasure of seeing them on board
the next day, and in particular Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, who really took
their duty to heart, and had a most difficult task to perform. After
viewing all the magazines of Marseilles and its warehouses, I perceived
that my countrymen, in the way of national business, were very little
boys, who could hardly walk, when compared with English commercial men
and the houses of Crosse and Blackwell, Fortnum and Mason, Hogarth,
Gamble, &c. Having done my duty, so far as the victualling department
was concerned, I found that with such a stock of provisions any
Government might keep its army in a state of perfect
_starvation_--should the French Government depend upon them--though at
the same time the quantity and quality might have served very well for a
dainty pic-nic of a couple of thousand epicures, the price also being so

Passing by the Bureau des Messageries Impériales, I called in to see
about our places for the next day. I found an old friend, of fifteen
years’ standing at least, at the head of that department. “Ho!
pardieu,” said he, “I thought it was you, having seen several paragraphs
respecting your departure for the Crimea. I was afraid at one time you
would have gone by sea. I have two first cabin berths for you to-morrow;
but as you are a very gallant man, you will not mind sleeping upon deck
from here to Smyrna.”

“Sleeping upon deck! what do you mean? My places have been taken this
week past.”

“I know that--I have two first-cabin berths for you. How many cooks and
attendants have you got with you?”

“We are about eight in number.”

“Oh, I can manage them then; although I assure you we are cramped

“What do you mean by my sleeping upon deck?”

“Why, because if you don’t, some of those ladies who are going to Smyrna
must. Four of them must sleep upon deck, as all the places are taken;
and I am sure you are too gallant to allow them to sleep in the open air
while you remain snug in your cabin. Tell me, are you obliged to start
with them?”

“Certainly not.”

“Then, wait for the next boat; it will not make forty-eight hours’
difference, and you will be very comfortable. You will go by Messina and
Athens, and be there nearly as soon. Moreover, you will be rendering a
great service to those ladies; besides, we should pack five or six
persons in your cabin.”

“Very well, transfer our places.”

“The next vessel is quite new, and it will be her first voyage. She is
most handsomely fitted up, and you will meet with capital company on
board. All the first cabins are taken by English and French officers;
you are sure to know some of them.”

“Very well; at what time shall we be here?”

“Be ready the day after to-morrow, about three P.M., at the Hôtel
d’Orient, where you are staying. I will send some men with a few cabs.
Mind you have all your luggage ready.”

“I will. Many thanks for your kindness.”

The next day, after visiting several public institutions, I was very
desirous to taste an excellent dish called the bouillabaisse, which is
exclusively a Marseillaise dish, as turtle-soup and roast beef and
plum-pudding are essentially English. I therefore invited a few friends
to that far-famed place, the “Reserve.” Among my guests, I had the
pleasure of numbering a most eminent, amiable, and gallant gentleman,
Captain Taunton, who, a few weeks previous, I heard, had the temerity to
run his ship, the _Fury_, so close to the port of Sebastopol, that a
round shot passed through her beam.

The Captain, my friend M. Giraldo, and myself, formed the trio of
degustators of the Grand Provençale dish called the bouillabaisse, as
well as another celebrated one called the olio. The first one I, with
veneration and justice, recognised as worthy of being immortalized in
the archives of cookery. The olio, like many of its companions, so
admired by the Marseillais, is only to be appreciated by the inhabitants
of that city, who must have sprung from a bed of garlic, instead of that
more genteel and more sweetly-perfumed one, the parsley-bed--so well
known to the juveniles, who are made to believe they were found
ruralizing amidst that delicate aromatic plant.

The bouillabaisse pertains to Marseilles, as the whitebait to Greenwich
and Blackwall. Even at Marseilles it is only at a few houses that you
can get it in perfection, among which the celebrated “Restaurant de la
Reserve” ranks as A 1, and next, the “Grand Hôtel des Colonies.”

After all, the “Reserve” is the principal place. This beautiful and
picturesque restaurant, with its pavilion and slim turrets, is
gracefully situated on the top of the high rock at the entrance of the
old seaport. When required, the proprietor procures the particular fish
alive, at the threshold of his door, and shell-fish required for the
composition of this dainty dish.[7] In less than an hour--during which
time we had partaken of a few small oysters, and some shell-fish
peculiar to Marseilles--the bouillabaisse was upon the table, smoking
hot, and perfuming the room with its aroma.

Although the bouillabaisse can be made with any kind of firm fish, in
all countries, and at all seasons of the year, I should be deceiving my
readers were I to say that it could be made in the same perfection as at
Marseilles; nevertheless, it can be made good if the receipt is closely
followed. The choice of fish for the purpose in England, although not as
suitable as those of the Marseillaise coast, being of a different
nature, will still produce an excellent, dainty dish.

Though this _petit déjeuner_ was very _recherché_, the bouillabaisse
threw all the accessory dishes into the shade. The landlord, who
favoured us with his company at dessert, informed me he made it himself;
and at my request, favoured me with the receipt, and the names of the
fish composing it.

I returned my best thanks for the condescension and trouble on his part
in so doing.

“Ah, Monsieur Soyer,” said he, “you may thank your name for that. I have
often seen you mentioned in our papers, and should have been sorry if
you had left our seaport without tasting our national dish in
perfection.” He observed, in handing it to me, “You are, of course,
aware that this dish cannot be made except at a seaport.”

“I am well aware of that fact,” I answered, “and that this semi-soup and
stew ought, by right, to be made at a seaport; nevertheless, the finest
seaport I have ever seen in England, and I might say in the world, for
fish, is London; therefore, my dear sir, give me the receipt, and I
shall, no doubt, fish out the fish from a good quarter.”


     Before entering upon details, I will specify the different kinds of
     fish most applicable. They are of two classes: one acting as a
     mucilaginous agent, the other merely imparting the flavour; also an
     essential point. The first class comprises--whitings, loups or
     lupins, red mullets, soles, and turbots. The second--gurnets,
     boudroies or boudreuils, lobsters or cray-fish, sea toads or
     rascasses, galinettes, limbers, lazagnes or lucrèces. These latter
     are plentiful in the Mediterranean seas.

     As a general rule, this ragoût should be cooked in a stewpan,
     rather broad than deep, and of thin metal, in order to the
     ebullition proceeding quickly. Those in tin or thin iron are the
     most appropriate, as the concoction must be done in a few minutes,
     and with such rapidity that the liquor must be reduced to the
     necessary point by the time the fish is cooked. It should also be
     sent to table and eaten at once, as the shortest delay will cause
     the quality to deteriorate. The principal fish must be cut in
     pieces or slices sufficiently sized to serve each guest; the others
     being merely accessories.

     RECEIPT.--Slice up two large onions, place them in a stewpan as
     before mentioned, wide but not deep, and of thin metal, add a few
     spoonfuls of olive oil, and fry the onions of a pale brown colour.
     Next, place the pieces of fish in the pan, cover them with warm
     water, but no more than the depth of the contents; add salt, “in
     moderation,” half a bay leaf, the flesh of half a lemon, without
     pips or rind, two tomatoes cut in dice, after extracting the seeds,
     a small tumbler of light white wine, a few peppercorns, and four
     cloves of garlic. Set on a fierce stove and boil for twelve
     minutes; by this time the liquor should be reduced to a third of
     its original quantity. Add a small portion of saffron, a
     table-spoonful of chopped parsley, allow it to boil a few seconds
     longer, taste, and correct the seasoning, if required, and remove
     from the fire.

     During this process you should have prepared two dozen of slices of
     light French bread or penny-roll, about half an inch in thickness,
     which place in a tureen or dish, pour over them some of the liquor
     from the ragoût, let it soak a minute or so, and again pour over in
     order to soak the top as well as the bottom of the layers of bread.
     Dish up separately the best pieces of fish with the remaining
     liquor, and serve.

     The variation called Bourride, differs in this only, viz., the
     addition of seven or eight yolks of eggs to a good portion of the
     liquor, which is stirred quickly over the fire till of the
     consistence of a custard cream, and then poured upon the slices of
     bread, with the addition of a tablespoonful of eau d’ail, or ayoli.

     The eau d’ail or ayoli is prepared by crushing several cloves of
     garlic, and saturating them with water; adding the requisite
     quantity to the bourride.

     My reason for printing this receipt, although partly impracticable
     in England, is, that it is the original as given to me by the
     worthy host of the “Reserve,” as so successfully made by him.

     But as many of the fish required are not to be obtained in England,
     and the quantity of garlic used would be objectionable to an
     English palate, I beg to refer my readers to the Addenda for a
     Bouillabaisse à l’Anglaise, which possesses two great
     qualities:--firstly, to suit the palate of the _gourmet_; secondly,
     that of being very strengthening. The broth is very generous and
     wholesome for the invalid,--for the authenticity of which assertion
     I appeal to the faculty.

Giraldo now informed us it was past three o’clock, and that we must be
on board by half-past six at latest. So shortly after, much to our
regret, we left our worthy landlord and his sanctorum of good cheer, and
at half-past four left the Hôtel d’Orient to go on board the steamer,
accompanied by the gallant Captain Taunton, Mr. Giraldo, and a few other

Upon arriving at the docks, a most painful sight fell under our notice;
it was indeed a spectacle calculated to pain the soul of the greatest
philosopher. The quays round the harbour were thickly lined with sick
and wounded. There were about seven or eight hundred, who had just been
landed from two French steamers, one from Constantinople, the other from
the Crimea. Some were placed upon straw, others upon bedding, until they
could be removed to the hospital, according to the nature of their
cases. Their appearance, I regret to say, was more than indescribable.
All the afflictions so common to the fate of war seemed to have met and
fallen at once upon those brave fellows, who, a few months previous,
were the pride of their country. Many of them, to their sorrow, had not
enjoyed a chance of facing the enemy; while those who were wounded
looked joyful compared with those who were the victims of
epidemics--typhus fever, diarrhœa, dysentery, cholera, or frostbites.
I conversed with several; not one complained, but merely regretted the
friends who had died on the passage and those sick left behind, and
bewailed that they had done so little for their country in the campaign.
Mr. Giraldo, who had superintended the disembarkation, informed me that
such scenes were of daily occurrence at Marseilles; adding, this must be
very encouraging for you. Saying also in irony, “lend soldiers to the
Turks--how well they thrive under the banner of Mahomet! Well, well, my
dear sir, after all, this is nothing more than the fortune of war: ‘à la
guerre comme à la guerre.’”

This was the first disastrous sight I witnessed in this great war, and
though anything but encouraging, merely grated upon my sensibility,
without in the least affecting my mind. I must say T. G. showed much
firmness upon this solemn occasion, which firmness rather failed him

At five we were on the deck of the _Simois_, the name of our vessel. It
was her first trip, she having only arrived a few days previous from
Liverpool. All on board was in great confusion; a part of the vessel had
just taken fire, and the sailors were engaged putting it out, and
cutting away the burning portions; however, it was soon extinguished. We
then learnt, that upon coming into dock she had met with serious damage,
which they had scarcely had time to repair, and the painters were still
on board busily employed varnishing the first cabin. I was next told
that about four hundred troops, who were expected, had not arrived, and
that we should start without them. A lady, who was standing by,
exclaimed, “Oh, thank God for that! I cannot bear soldiers.”

“I thought,” I said, “it was a very bad job instead of a good one, as
the vessel would be crank, through not being sufficiently loaded, and
would in consequence roll very much.”

The weather being reported very rough outside, we were in suspense as to
whether we should leave that night or not. On a sudden the screw slowly
commenced its evolutions, and propelled us, not without difficulty, from
the narrow port to the wide ocean--passing amongst huge rocks, on the
very summit of which the furious waves were breaking. The evening was
fast advancing, and the vessel was already rolling very heavily. We soon
made the rock of Monte Christo, immortalized by Dumas. A yellowish
sunset, piercing the heavy rain, faintly lighted the crest of this arid
and uninhabitable spot. Shortly after, all was darkness, and many
retired. Two or three remained till about ten o’clock, when the steward
cheerfully informed us, that the weather was about the same as when the
_Semillante_ was lost ten days before, and not a soul escaped. Nearly
five hundred troops, besides passengers and crew, were drowned.

“Was she bound eastward?” inquired a passenger.

“Yes, sir, she was; we are steering the same course, but there is
another passage. I hope we shall get through before night to-morrow, and
if the sea holds as rough as it is now, no doubt we shall take the

We all turned into our berths, laughing at his mournful tale. Before
going, I said: “Believe me, steward, we are safer than ever, for you
seldom hear of two accidents alike.”

“Very true, sir; but this boat seems unlucky. I can’t tell you all the
mishaps we have had in her since I have been on board, and that is only
one month.” She was then rolling at a tremendous rate. At each plunge, a
fearful noise was heard. Upon inquiry, some one on board informed me
that he believed they had projectiles for ballast, and these were
rolling and shifting at each plunge the steamer made. Such a cargo,
though quite in harmony with the martial trip, was anything but
pleasing. Everything rolled and tumbled about fearfully during the whole
of the night. At length day broke, with a glowing sun and a heavy sea
running mountains high; so much so, that it was dangerous to attempt the
passage. Such must have been the case, as the mail-boats are not allowed
to stop except in cases of extreme danger. Our careful commander gave
orders to bring up in the Bay of Ajaccio. After sixteen hours’
flirtation on the wild ocean, we entered this calm and peaceable port,
much to the relief of all. We then collected round the table; and while
partaking of a light lunch, we had time to become acquainted with each
other. Among our _compagnons de voyage_ were General Cannon, Captain
Arbuckle, Colonel St. George, of the Artillery, Captain Ponsonby, Major
Turner, Captain Gordon, ---- Murrogh, Esq., ---- Ball, Esq., the Queen’s
Messenger, and three or four French officers, among whom was Captain
Boucher, aide-de-camp to General Canrobert, and afterwards to General
Bosquet. After some remarks upon our unfavourable start, we all blessed
our stars for the shelter we were then enjoying in the peaceable
harbour, so picturesquely surrounded by its beautiful _petite ville_,
the cradle of the first Napoleon--Ajaccio--so well situated in that
savage and energetic island of poetically ferocious heroism, habits, and
eternal vendettas, so interesting to all since the revival of that
illustrious dynasty in the person of Napoleon the Third.

All of course were anxious to visit this celebrated spot; and on
inquiring of the commander, he told us he should sail the next morning
early if the weather was more favourable. We formed ourselves into
parties of five or six, and as it was only three o’clock, we had plenty
of time before us: our greatest anxiety was to visit the house in which
the great Napoleon was born. Our party arrived first, as we had a very
clever guide, who promised if possible to introduce us to La Signora
Grossetti, saying we should have a great treat, as the old lady, who was
then eighty-three years of age, had been all her life in the Buonaparte
family in Corsica. We luckily met the old lady just coming out, and upon
being introduced, she immediately returned to do us the honours of the
house. She has been housekeeper there for above thirty years. After
visiting the apartments which are always on view--viz., the
drawing-room, dining-room, concert and ball room, library, and the small
bed-room in which that almost fabulous hero was born, I asked the old
gentlewoman, as a special favour, to show me the kitchen. No one was
ever more astonished than she appeared to be at my request. “Why, surely
there is nothing to be seen there but ruins, and I don’t even know where
the key is.”

All this redoubled my interest. We went up stairs, and found in an old
drawer three rusty keys, which we brought down; one of them opened the
door, which, on being pushed rather forcibly, fell from its hinges. We
then descended, and opened the shutters, which likewise tumbled from
their fastenings. After visiting the various departments which
constitute a gentleman’s kitchen, I wrote upon the stove the following
letter to the public press, which, through the mismanagement of my
servant, who threw it into the post without paying the postage, never
reached its destination:--

_Twenty Minutes in the Kitchen of the House of the Emperor Napoleon the

     MR. EDITOR,--It is an incontestable truism that “It is an ill wind
     that blows nobody good;” but in this case it will be found the
     reverse. Owing to most terribly rough weather, in fourteen hours
     from our departure from Marseilles, _en route_ to Constantinople,
     we are brought up here by our prudent Captain, sheltering us in the
     bosom of the harbour of Ajaccio, the birthplace of the alliance now
     existing between the two great nations of France and England. Such
     reminiscences of the first of the great Napoleon’s family caused
     the shore to be invaded in a few minutes by the numerous
     passengers, particularly the distinguished military men of both
     nations. Many visited the Hôtel de Ville, full of objects of
     interest, reminding one of the late empire; others, the Letitia
     House; and some inquired, with great coolness, if it were possible
     to see either of the Corsican Brothers now in existence. In a very
     few minutes my curiosity was gratified by a cursory examination of
     the above-mentioned interesting subjects; and by a great deal of
     courtesy and perseverance, I obtained from La Signora Grossetti
     (who had been in the late Emperor’s family from her infancy) the
     rusted key of the kitchen-door of that interesting and now deserted
     domicile--such a request having never before been made by the
     numerous travellers who daily visit it.

     And it is, Mr. Editor, while writing upon the stove in this
     celebrated kitchen--which first alimented the brain of that great
     hero--that I beg to address you the following few lines at random,
     as the weather bids fair and our departure is immediate. On my left
     hand is a well-constructed charcoal stove, containing six nine-inch
     square cooking-places, covered with glazed red tiles (a piece of
     which I have procured, and intend placing in my kitchen at
     Scutari); an oval one, about eighteen inches long by about six
     inches wide, on which the most delicious fish, game, meat, and
     poultry, were no doubt submitted to the highest perfection of the
     culinary art. At the spot at which I am now writing, the roasting
     by wood fire, and the broiling by red ashes, were carried on, as I
     perceive, by the remains of the hearth. There is also the old Jack,
     with the pulley that supported the rope and weights. On my right is
     an old semi-circular oven, partly in ruins, with an old-fashioned
     wrought-iron door, in which no doubt the cakes and choice pastry
     were prepared to gratify the imperial infant’s palate. Larders,
     confectionery, and all the requisite appointments of a kitchen are
     not wanting; which, though in a most dilapidated state, still left
     an appearance of grandeur which none but a family of distinction
     could afford--very different from what has been often reported and
     believed by the vulgar--viz., that this great man had his origin in
     the bosom of an indigent family.

     With the highest consideration, believe me, Mr. Editor, yours very


     _March 13, 1855._


The old lady seemed much pleased with the very extraordinary interest I
took in the place, and proposed to show us her private apartment at the
top of the house, which she assured us was full of reminiscences of
the Emperor’s childhood. His wooden arm-chair and desk, inkstand, and a
few boy’s toys--such as a small gun, soldiers, shako, &c.--are carefully
preserved by the old and faithful servant of her illustrious master.
Though of great age, she was very animated, and made all sorts of
inquiries about the war, and if we had seen the present Emperor; having
satisfied her curiosity, we retired, highly pleased with our visit to

We were much indebted to La Signora Grossetti, who had really shown us
things that no former traveller could boast of having seen. I could not
part with the old dame without saluting her on both cheeks, which she
very kindly returned, it being the custom of the country, as she said.
This scene terminated, much to the surprise and enjoyment of my
_compagnons de voyage_--Captain Gordon and Mr. Munro of the Ordnance,
with several French officers--our interview with that kind and
extraordinary lady.

I had taken (as I mentioned in my letter) a piece of tile from the
charcoal stove, and a rough wooden meat-hook which I found in the
larder, dating, as the Signora told me, from that epoch. Our time being
short, and the night rapidly approaching, we re-embarked, and related,
to the great delight of all, our amorous adventure with the nurse of the
first Napoleon. All regretted not having been of our party. We spent a
very charming evening on board, each one relating what he had seen. The
Town Hall, I must observe, is very interesting, being filled with relics
of the Buonaparte family, with full-length portraits of the father and
mother of the Emperor. I was also much pleased at seeing one of the best
statuettes of the late _arbiter elegantiarum_, the celebrated Count
D’Orsay, given by him to the present Emperor for the town of Ajaccio. It
is the well-known statuette of Napoleon the First on horseback; and in a
frame beside it is the original letter of presentation written by the
Count himself, which I can vouch for, “having many of his letters in my
possession.” The style is so charming, that I regret not having had time
to take a copy.

Next morning, with a fresh breeze, bright sun, and a clear sky, we left
this immortal and delightful spot, where avenues of orange-trees, loaded
with ripe fruit, ornament both sides of the streets; and at the same
time, “by the bizarrerie of nature,” the chain of mountains which
surround this romantic spot are always covered with snow. In ten minutes
we were again launched upon the wide ocean. Though the sea was not so
rough, the waves dashed about furiously, and made the vessel roll even
more than the day before. This is always the case after a gale. We were
all much amused at the _restaurateur_ of the steamer, who kept cursing
everybody, because all his glass and crockery were smashed to pieces;
and all because, as he declared, the vessel had started before she had
been properly fitted up. The Captain, in trying to soothe him, drove him
raving mad, and he commenced throwing overboard all the plates, dishes,
and glass on which he could lay his hands. At length he caught hold of a
leg of mutton, and was about to serve it in the same manner. I happened
to be near him, and not quite approving of casting good victuals
overboard while at sea, I took upon myself to object to this part of his
proceedings. I was the more induced to do this because I had promised my
illustrious _compagnons de voyage_ to look after the cook and his
cooking, with which he really took much pains, and gave us great
satisfaction. The infuriated Marseillais poured a volley of the most
foul language in his Provençal dialect, while he and I were holding the
doomed leg of mutton. He then asked me who I was?

“A passenger,” I replied; “and one who has a most decided objection to
your feeding the fish--with legs of mutton,” I continued, boldly. He
then gave it up; and, in acknowledging he was in the wrong, exclaimed,
at the top of his voice, “I wish you no harm, but I should be highly
pleased if you and all in the steamer were at the bottom of the sea.”


“You ask me wherefore! Because I shall lose above a thousand francs.”


“The directors will make that up,” I said.

“Not a sous,” said he.

The comical part of this scene was enhanced by the continual rolling of
the ship.

This incident kept us alive till we reached Messina. The following
letter, addressed to the _Illustrated London News_, will explain my
subsequent proceedings:--


     Having left Marseilles, on the 12th inst., for Constantinople, in
     the prosecution of my mission to the Hospital at Scutari, owing to
     a sudden and unexpected change from a beautifully calm to a rough
     and stormy sea, M. Favre, the captain of our vessel (the _Simois_),
     was compelled to seek shelter in the peaceable harbour of Ajaccio,
     in Corsica, the birthplace of the immortal Emperor Napoleon I.
     Since our departure from that celebrated port, a favourable breeze
     succeeding a most tempestuous gale, soon brought us alongside the
     Levrazzi Rocks, on which the French frigate _Semillante_ was
     wrecked a few weeks ago, and all her passengers and crew lost. At
     night we were gratified with the sight of a slight eruption of the
     Stromboli Mountain, which rises immediately from the ocean to the
     height of several thousand feet. Next morning we arrived at
     Messina, the spring garden of Sicily, where, in the open air,
     orange and lemon trees were in full blossom, and covered with
     delicious fruit. Lilies, roses, and violets perfume the air; whilst
     peas, beans, artichokes, and asparagus are gathered at the foot of
     the lofty mountains covered with snow. Although Messina is well
     known to travellers, yet they are not so well acquainted with the
     productions of its early spring. After a few hours’ ramble in this
     interesting city, our party embarked, and rapidly passed on our
     left the small but pretty town of Reggio, and on our right the
     mighty Mount Ætna, covered with deep snow. In less than forty-seven
     hours the _Simois_ brought us before the Piræus, the voyage never
     before having been accomplished under fifty.

     The _Simois_ is an English vessel, built at Liverpool by Mr.
     Layward, and recently purchased by the Messageries Impériales, and
     this is her first voyage in this sea. From the unexpected quickness
     of our passage, we were allowed to remain at this port four hours,
     and availed ourselves of the opportunity of visiting Athens. At the
     present time, in the ancient Parthenon, I am cooking, with my new
     camp-stove, on a fallen capital of the stupendous ruins, a _petit
     déjeûner à la fourchette_, with Greek and Sicilian wines, for my
     distinguished fellow-travellers; amongst whom are General Cannon
     (Behram Pacha); Colonel St. George, of the Woolwich Artillery;
     Captain Gordon; Captains Turner and Ponsonby; G. Munro, Esq.; W. S.
     Ball, Esq., Q.F.M.S.; Captain Arbuckle; Captain Boucher,
     Aide-de-camp of General Canrobert; and Signor Pitaki, the Governor
     of the Acropolis.

     We shall speedily re-embark for Constantinople.




     Departure from Greece--Amusements at sea--The
     Dardanelles--Gallipoli--A philharmonic soirée--Approach to the
     Bosphorus--First view of the Scutari Hospital--Reflections--The
     deserted steamer--The lady and her maid--Beautiful scene--The
     Golden Horn--Castle of the Seven Towers--Kadikoi--General and
     Barrack Hospitals--Grand panorama--Various
     edifices--Stamboul--Grand Oriental pageant--The Sultan’s
     kitchens--The Harem--Punishment for Turkish ladies--The Leander
     Tower--A romantic tale--On shore again--The enchantment
     dissolves--First glimpse of a pacha--The terrace of my hotel.

On leaving the Piræsus the weather was fine, and the sea as smooth as a
lake. All our party were themselves again--jovial, happy, and talkative
at meals; reading, writing, games at cards, draughts, dominoes, &c.,
filling up the time. We were like one happy and united family. I paid my
daily visit to the _restaurateur_ and his _chef_, with whom I was soon
on good terms. Towards evening, we collected on the upper deck, where
many French sous-officiers from the second-class cabin joined us, and
sang most admirably, from the simple ballad to the gay gaudriole, the
high operatic solo, and comic or classic choruses.

Next morning, we passed the straits and town of the Dardanelles, where
the Allied flags were gaily floating from the houses of the respective
Consulates. We made but a short stay in its cheerful and animated bay to
deliver the mail. The rapid current, with the numbers of Greeks, in
their gay costumes and slim caiques, trying to sell the passengers all
sorts of things, and so do them out of a few piastres, rendered our
short stay at that place highly amusing. Our next and last stay, before
reaching Constantinople, was Gallipoli, where every one of our party
landed, and remained on shore about an hour. General Cannon had an
excellent idea; he sent some oysters on board, which made a good
addition to our bill of fare. The Gallipoli oysters are small and
ill-formed, but very sweet. The same cannot be said of the town and its
inhabitants--both extremely dirty. Indeed, this first Oriental seaport
contrasts most outrageously with the grand paraphernalia of the “Arabian
Nights.” The evening before our arrival, to our sorrow, we learnt from
the Captain that, owing to the favourable winds we had experienced
during the last sixty hours, if nothing happened, we should enter the
Bosphorus before daybreak. Thus all chance of the view of the grand
panorama of Constantine, so highly praised by travellers, and especially
by poets, which we had so long anticipated, was entirely lost. What can
be more charming and refreshing, after a long sea-passage, where life
has long been suspended in space between heaven and the mighty deep,
than the gradual development of a cheerful panorama, a view of which we
had been some time anticipating?

The first quarter of the moon, forming the crescent--the favourite
emblem of the Moslem--was seen now and then peeping through the murky
clouds, which, in their swift career, cast a dewy shadow upon the ocean.
This did not, however, prevent our philharmonic party from mustering
upon deck in greater numbers than on previous occasions, probably
because it was the last. We kept it up till eleven o’clock, and then
retired perfectly delighted with our voyage, having already forgotten
our unfavourable departure, and regretting nothing but our too-early
arrival in the Bosphorus. The night was calm, and, on going on deck at
daybreak, I heard, to my great satisfaction, that we had proceeded very
slowly all night, there having been a thick fog, which was slowly
disappearing--“a thing,” said the Captain, “seldom seen in the sea of
Marmora.” I returned to my cabin, and only lay down that I might be
ready when Constantinople came in sight, as the Captain had promised to
send and let me know.

About eight in the morning every one was on deck, and the crew busily
engaged getting up the luggage, as our arrival was fixed for nine
o’clock. We then commenced inquiring about the hotels. All fixed upon
Messerie’s hotel, called “L’Hôtel d’Angleterre,” as being the best. By
this time, we were slowly approaching the mouth of the Bosphorus. The
weather was anything but favourable--rain kept falling--everything on
deck was wet, and the air very chilly. General Cannon said to me, “I am
very sorry, Mr. Soyer, for your sake, and that of Captain Ponsonby and
Colonel St. George, that we shall not see the famed view of
Constantinople to advantage. I have already witnessed it, this being my
third voyage. However, as the weather is very changeable here, it may be
a fine day after all.” The great Oriental City was then opening to view,
but, owing to the thick atmosphere, appeared nothing but a confused
mass. Twenty minutes later we were entering the Bosphorus, the grandeur
and magnificence of which, though often described, I cannot pass without
a few remarks.

My mind was quite overpowered when I learnt that the monster building
before us was the Scutari Hospital--a town in itself--and I reflected
that it was full of sick and wounded; that each patient would require
from three to four articles of diet daily, making a total of several
thousand per diem to be provided in some shape or other; and that I had
undertaken to reform and introduce a better organization in the cooking
department, where all was confusion, in so strange a country. I must
confess that, for an hour or so, I was quite at a loss to think how I
should commence operations. I did not know one official there. I had not
the least idea how I should be received; and, after all, I might
probably catch the fever, or some other complaint at the time raging
within its walls. Suddenly I recollected the plan I had explained to the
Duchess of Sutherland and her noble circle, which was to be tried upon a
hundred patients. This had entirely escaped my memory; and in a few
minutes my puzzled brain was as clear as a bell, and I felt confident of
success. “If I succeed with a hundred,” said I, “in a very short time I
can manage a thousand, providing I meet with proper support.”

I afterwards learnt from the doctor on board, that the large red brick
building on the right, about half a mile from the Barrack Hospital, was
called the General Hospital, in which there were at least five or six
hundred patients. My resolution as to how I should act was then fixed;
nothing appeared difficult to me; and, instead of fearing the
undertaking, I was most anxious to begin. Having been advised to call at
Pera, to announce my arrival, and pay my duty to Lord Stratford de
Redcliffe, before going to Scutari, I ordered my people to go on shore
as soon as possible; for, during my reverie upon hospital duties, our
good vessel had anchored.

There was only room at Messerie’s Hotel for General Cannon and his
aide-de-camp. He had bespoken his apartments. Two young gentlemen
apprised us of the fact, and recommended their hotel, as we could not
get accommodation at the “Hôtel d’Angleterre.” As I had a letter of
introduction to Mr. Messerie, I directed my friend T. G. to call there
and make inquiries; and if he found that we could not be received, to go
to the “Hôtel des Ambassadeurs,” that establishment being the next in
standing. As I promised to remain on board till he returned, I was left
almost alone. There was only a lady and her maid. The former was going
by a transport-ship the same evening, to join her husband at Balaklava;
she therefore had no time to go on shore. Colonel St. George, Captains
Ponsonby and Gordon, Mr. Ball, and General Canrobert’s aides-de-camp,
and others, had all left.

By this time the weather had assumed a most brilliant aspect--the morose
and monotonous-looking clouds, which before monopolised the region in
the immediate vicinity of the famed city of Mahomet, had been chased
away by a strong breeze; the sun shed his golden rays in gorgeous
streams from the purple vault of heaven, and the utmost depths of the
lucid waters of the Bosphorus reflected his splendours. The entrance of
the Corne d’Or--so called, no doubt, because it takes the shape of a
horn of plenty--is in truth a Golden Horn, from the facilities it
affords for maritime and commercial intercourse, as well as navigation,
penetrating, as it does, into the very bosom of the imperial city.
Constantinople, like London, has no quays; and on every side this
immense metropolis plunges its feet, or banks, into the Bosphorus, from
which it rises, offering to the view the most magnificent spectacle
beneath the canopy of heaven. This is particularly the case from the
Seraglio Point, where the real city of Istamboul is seated. The soil
rises from the level of the water, presenting a vast amphitheatre of
myriads of houses, mosques, minarets, and monuments of all descriptions,
intermixed with forests of sombre cypress trees.

A dragoman whom I engaged, and who spoke very good English, gave me a
description of the surrounding scenery. Nothing can be more ravishing
than the living panorama of the Bosphorus, covered with caiques and
their caidjees, darting about on all sides like water-flies. The
elegance of those frail barks, and the cleanliness of the light and
cheerful costume of their owners, so well develops the Oriental style,
that it cannot fail in forcibly striking every stranger. Numerous large
sailing-vessels, steamboats, Greek and Turkish barques, and even
men-of-war (many being then stationed in the Golden Horn), made me
forget for some time my mobile panorama, to dwell upon the nautical one,
which, so new to me, unexpectedly attracted my attention, when my
dragoman informed me that it was near eleven o’clock, and that my men
had returned for the luggage.

“Very well,” said I; “but pray explain to me the various places by which
we are now surrounded.”

“Certainly, sir, with great pleasure. I know every spot, palace, and
monument. On entering the Bosphorus this morning, you passed before the
Castle of the Seven Towers, where the ambassadors were formerly
imprisoned. Those islands to the left are the Isles des Princes. All the
Europeans go and spend their Sundays there. In summer many reside there,
and come to business in the morning, returning at night.”

“Those hills yonder, I suppose, are very pretty?”

“Oh, very much so indeed. Almost facing them is the Asiatic shore: that
pretty place to the left is called Kadikoi--a very pretty summer
residence, inhabited by rich merchants, particularly Greeks and
Armenians. It is full of beautiful houses and gardens, and is much
celebrated for its fine fruits. A little further this way is the General
Hospital--that red brick building.”

“That I am aware of. And the other is the great Barrack Hospital, with
its hundreds of windows and four square towers. They are full of English
sick and wounded--that I of course knew.”

“Next to it is a splendid mosque called the Sultan’s mosque. It is
frequented by his Majesty when he resides at his summer kiosque of Hyder
Pacha. That forest of cypress trees is the grand Champ des Morts, or the
favourite Turkish cemetery. It extends several miles. Several
generations are buried there.”

“Well, what follows?”

“This beautiful and picturesque spot, sir, is called Scutari. It is full
of kiosques and Turkish families, pachas, &c. It contains about a
hundred thousand inhabitants, almost all Turks, and extends beyond the
front of the Sultan’s new palace of Dolma Bachi. You can see it from
here. It is not quite finished, and is constructed chiefly of white
marble. Lower down is a palace inhabited by the Sultan. It is lighted by
gas--quite a new thing in Constantinople. That large building above, on
the heights, is the grand hospital of Pera, now used by the French; and
all the neighbourhood as far as the pointed tower is called Pera, the
Christian quarter, where are the foreign embassies and foreign
merchants’ residences. The large yellowish building with the colonnade
you see facing us so boldly is the Russian Embassy. They are about to
convert it into a hospital for the sick French officers. The beautiful
mosque and large square you see at the bottom is called Tophané. It
contains a large cannon-foundry; and in the centre of the square is the
kiosque belonging to the Sultan’s brother. His Majesty frequently
visits this place when he attends his favourite mosque.

“This large tower is called the Galata Tower, and from the top the
fire-signal is made; and I can assure you that in the winter its
guardians have something to do, as there is a fire every day or night.
Lower down, towards the bridge, is called Galata, where all mercantile
and commercial, as well as naval, business is transacted. Every rich
merchant of Pera has a counting-house there. The building at the bottom
is the Custom-house, or, as it should be called, the confusion-house;
for if unfortunately you get goods in, ‘tis a hundred to one if you ever
get them out again. The rough bridge you see yonder has only existed
these last twenty years. Before that was built, people were obliged to
cross from Stamboul to the European shore in caiques; and now, when
three or four large vessels have to pass through the bridge, it remains
open for several hours, keeping passengers waiting for that time. Two
more light bridges lower down cross the Golden Horn, and the navigation
terminates about two miles above the last bridge. In caiques you can go
as far as the sweet waters of Europe, which are about five miles further

“Thank you,” said I; “pray be less prolix in your descriptions.”

“Well, now, sir, as we are come to Stamboul, or the real city of
Constantinople, allow me to explain to you the names of some of those
beautiful mosques with which you see this vast city is crowded. The
first and most important is the Mosque of Sultan Bajazid, very
remarkable for the number of its volatile inhabitants, consisting of
several thousands of beautiful tame pigeons. That high tower behind it
is called the Seraskier’s Tower, and also serves the purpose of a
signal-tower in case of fire, the same as that of Pera. Then follow the
mosques of Sultan Selim, Mahomet, Sedya Tamissi, Solimaniek, Bayazid,
Osmanliek, Sultan Achmet, Irene, and the great Saint Sophia, which I
would in particular advise you to visit.”

“Of course I shall do that, you may be certain.”

“On the prominent part of this side of Saint Sophia the ceremony of the
Bairam is celebrated, at the close of the great feast of the Ramazan.
All the nobility of the Empire are in duty bound to appear in new and
most gaudy costumes at this magnificent Oriental pageant, which this
year will take place at the end of June, at about three o’clock in the

“What a singular hour for so great a ceremony!” I remarked.

“Oh, that cannot be helped,” he replied, “as it is regulated by the
revolution of the moon. An old Turk, with whom I am well acquainted,
told me that he recollected its having happened at twelve o’clock in the
day, and in the middle of winter.”

“A strange custom,” said I.

“Well, sir, if you feel interested in Turkish habits and religion, you
should inquire about the six weeks of Rhamadhan, when they starve all
day, and get intoxicated to madness at night.”

“Thank you for your information; but pray continue your description.”

“I will. Near the very spot where this festival takes place is the
Sultan Mahmoud’s palace, the top of which you can see through those high

“Pray, what are those rows of small domes, like well-corked bottles?”

“They are the kitchen chimneys.”

“What, all of them?”

“Yes, sir; I have often been there, and know well enough that, although
the Sultan no longer inhabits it, two or three hundred men-cooks remain
in the kitchens.”

“For what purpose, my friend, if no one lives there?”

“Oh, somebody does. I believe there is a college for some of the
favourite sons of high Turkish families. Here,” he continued, “look at
this uneven row of houses with lattices. Do you know what they are?”

“No; pray what are they?”

“Why, Sultan Mahmoud’s harem; and it is most probably still inhabited by
a few of his old favourites and their suites, which are very numerous.”

“Well, upon my word, those species of châlets put me very much in mind
of chicken-cages.”

The English officer’s wife, to whom I have before referred, and with
whom I had some conversation during the passage, came upon deck while my
dragoman was describing the surrounding scenery, and listened with vivid
interest, taking notes of the most interesting passages. The dragoman,
turning quickly round--“Madam,” said he, “you see that colossal spout
shooting out at a sharp incline towards the water. That is the spot from
whence, if any of the Turkish ladies prove disobedient or faithless to
their imperial lord and master, they are stitched up in a sack alive,
accompanied by a starving cat and a venomous serpent, and shot into that
mighty watery grave, the Bosphorus.”

“Monsieur Soyer, do you think that is true?”

“I believe such things have been done, madam, for it was pointed out to
me the first thing this morning as having been used for that purpose. I
recollect some years since reading the same tale either in a French or
English work; I believe it was French. At all events, European manners
and customs are progressing throughout the world, and have even reached
Turkey. I hear from every one, that the Sultan is a most amiable and
humane man. I would therefore recommend you to reserve your look of
horror and indignation for more modern calamities. You may be certain,
if such things have happened, they will never happen again, for, thank
Heaven, we live in a civilized era.”

“We should, perhaps, doubt such reports.”

“You are quite right, madam.”

“There is another curious tale related of the Leander Tower,” said the

“There is; but my dragoman tells me the proper name for it is _La Tour
de la Jeune Fille_, as they say in French, or the Maiden’s Tower.”

“I was here when a French tutor came to Constantinople,” said my
dragoman, “and the first thing he asked me was--‘Where is the Maiden’s
Tower?’ as the English call it. At all events, madam, the story runs
thus:--A great beauty, the daughter of some pacha, had her fortune told
by a celebrated gipsy, who apprised her that she would never marry, as
she was fated to die young. The girl, terrified at the prediction, ran,
and in tears related to her father the fatal destiny said to be in
reserve for her. He immediately sent for the old witch, and she repeated
the fatal prophecy, adding, moreover, that the young girl would die from
the bite of a serpent or some such venomous reptile. The pacha having
repeatedly asked the old woman if that was the only kind of speedy death
with which his daughter was menaced, and having received a reply in the
affirmative, parted upon very friendly terms with the hag, who was
possessed, as he said, by an evil spirit. He then caused this tower to
be built for his daughter’s residence, and for several years she lived
in this picturesque place, without being visited by any one but her
father, who continually supplied her with provisions of the most
delicate kind, and nosegays of the finest flowers. It happened one day,
that, on taking up one of the bouquets in order to inhale the perfume, a
small insect stung her on the lip, and in a few hours she expired in
great agony, before any succour could be obtained, as there was no
communication with the land, nor any antidote in readiness. So awful an
event, in so secluded a spot, had never been contemplated. The pacha’s
intention had been to keep his daughter there till she was of age to be
married, and thus break the spell of the old sorceress. The legend was
thus related to me by an Armenian gentleman who has lived here nearly
all his lifetime.”

“Well, I admit that I have not only heard the story before, but I
recollect the incident of the death of the young girl, from the bite of
a reptile, very well; and I also heard that the name of the Tower of
Leander is applied to it; but it has not the least relation to the
legend of the two lovers celebrated by Lord Byron, who also swam from
Sestos to Abydos.”

As my people had returned, and were waiting for me, I bade my fair
_compagnon de voyage_ adieu, expressing a hope to have the pleasure of
meeting her in Balaklava. Our two caidjees rapidly flew away with us
from the side of the _Simois_, and soon landed us at the Tophané
tumble-down stairs. We are now on shore; but what a contrast!--the fairy
scene has disappeared, and we appear to be in the midst of a penny show.
The Tophané landing place is nothing but a heap of rotten planks, parts
of which have given way, and the holes are rather dangerous, as one
might easily slip and break a leg. The very clean and picturesque
caidjees are waiting amidst heaps of manure and the carcase of a dead
horse, which had been thrown into the Bosphorus and had drifted on
shore. A number of ill-looking, half-famished dogs were feeding upon
that heap of corruption. On inquiring of the son of the proprietor of
the hotel, who accompanied me, he coolly told me that it had only been
there a day or two, and would probably remain for months--particularly
the skeleton--when the dogs had devoured all the flesh. The odour
arising from the carcass, and the filth daily cast into the water, was
very unwholesome, and quite unbearable; and very glad was I to quit the
great landing-place of Tophané--so called, no doubt, from the
extraordinary amount of daily traffic between the shipping above and the
Asiatic shore. About seventy or eighty caiques are always waiting there,
as it is the principal landing point at Constantinople.

Following my guide, we passed through a number of dirty narrow streets,
full of a black liquid mud, very ill paved--if they could be called
paved at all, amidst which numerous leperous and villanous-looking dogs
were snarling and fighting. Donkeys loaded with tiles, stones, and long
logs of wood filled up the filthy road; besides gangs of powerful and
noisy Turkish hamals or porters, carrying enormous loads upon long
poles. The enchanting mirage of the panoramic Constantinople vanished
rapidly from before my disenchanted eyes; this ephemeral Paradise of
Mahomet changing at once into an almost insupportable purgatory. I could
not imagine how such a mass of ruins and of miserable wooden houses
could, from so short a distance, take such a brilliant aspect or create
such ravishing sensations, as the first view of Constantinople had
raised in my mind from the deck of the _Simois_. I now envied the fate
of our fair fellow-traveller who so much regretted that she could not
disembark--were it only for a few hours. Those few hours, nay, the
first, would have sufficed to break the spell. Reader, though this is an
exact description of our entrance into Constantinople, I reasoned
thus--It is an immense metropolis, and no doubt something great exists
within its walls. I must wait patiently and try to find it out.

Reproaching my dragoman for bringing me through such a vile part of the
city, he quietly replied, in English, “There is no other road, sir; it
has rained very much lately, which is the cause of so much mud.” I now
perceived, that as far as the names of pavements go, the difference
between Constantinople and London was not so great,--the former being
_muck-muddy-mised_, and the latter _macadamised_.

At this moment we were turning the corner of the Grand Mosque of Sultan
Soliman; and a pacha, in all his obesity, mounted upon an Arabian horse,
and followed by his suite, six in number, rode full gallop through a
pond of liquid slush, splashing every one from head to foot on either
side the narrow street. An English soldier at once sent him his military
blessing; and the Turk, spurring his horse, exclaimed, “Not Bono Johnny;
Not Bono Johnny;” that being the name given to the English by the Turks.
After passing through several similar streets, consisting of ruinous
wooden shanties and shops of the lowest order, “viz., chibouque tube and
pipe-bowl makers,” the interior of which were dirty and mean, with
scarcely any kind of stock, we arrived at a fountain, in front of which
was a semi-perpendicular and narrow street. My guide informed me that my
hotel was at the end of this street. “It is,” he continued, “the Hôtel
d’Angleterre, called by the English--Messerie’s Hotel.”

“Thank God for that,” said I. In about twenty minutes we arrived at the
said hotel. As I had sent my letter to Mr. Messerie, he soon appeared,
and very cordially shook me by the hand, and politely expressed his
regret at not being able to accommodate me. He recommended the Hôtel des
Ambassadeurs. On my saying that I was going there, he made me promise to
call upon him the next morning, the distance from his house being but a
few paces.

When I arrived, I at once retired to my apartment, quite worn out with
fatigue. Having taken some refreshment, I made up my mind not to dine at
the table d’hôte. I learnt that Colonel St. George, Captain Ponsonby,
&c., had gone to the Hôtel de l’Europe, and I therefore felt free for
that evening. About five o’clock, Mons. Pantaleone Veracleo, a young
Greek, the son of the hotel-keeper, came and informed me that the table
d’hôte would be ready at six. Thanking him for his attention, I
proceeded to ask several questions about Constantinople, and also the
distance from the hotel to the British Embassy?

“Not five minutes’ walk, sir,” said he; “you can see it from the top of
the hotel. Our house is the highest in Pera!”

We mounted to the terrace, and my conductor pointed it out to me. From
this terrace I again beheld a similar panorama to that which I had
witnessed on board the _Simois_, and by which I had been so much
charmed. In order to enjoy it fully, I expressed my desire to remain a
short time alone. Having directed my attention to the different points
of view, Mr. Veracleo left me.



     An accomplished linguist--Le Petit Champ des Morts--Bird’s-eye
     view--Breakfast table of the hotel--English Embassy--Interview with
     Lady Stratford de Redcliffe--The sanctuary of high diplomacy--Lord
     Stratford de Redcliffe--Signor Roco Vido--His apartment--Importance
     of a good dinner--Lord Stratford’s diplomatic banquet
     postponed--Probable consequences--Quotation from the _Gastronomic

The rays of the sun on that showery March day assumed, towards five
p.m., in the regions of the West, a most brilliant aspect. The vaporous
edges of the humid clouds seemed gilded with vermilion and silver tints.
The floods of light, like living fire, fell upon the rich masses of the
domes of various mosques, and hundreds of pointed and slender minarets.
While gazing in loneliness and contemplation, from the terrace of the
Hôtel des Ambassadeurs, at this charming spot in the East, to which the
beautiful mirage of an Oriental sunset lent an indescribable charm, a
shrieking voice was heard from the lower terrace, saying, “Il signor, la
table d’outre est servi! et il se refroidit fortement! La soupe il étoit
tout à fait déménagée of the tureen!” Looking over the railing, I
perceived the interpreter of the hotel, who was unfortunately the
possessor of several tongues, addressing himself to me. He, no doubt,
meant to imply that the table-d’hôte had been served, and the soup
already removed from the table. This _olla podrida_ of languages having
produced no effect upon my mind, half an hour after, the son of the
hotel-keeper made his appearance, who, though speaking French like
certain horned beasts in Spain, clearly gave me to understand that I was
too late for dinner. Taking advantage of his unexpected visit, I
inquired, looking towards the arsenal, “What part of the metropolis is
that opening near us?”

“Le Petit Champ des Morts, or the Small Field of the Dead,--so-called,
though nearly two miles in circumference, which is now so full that no
further interments are allowed within its area,”--he replied.

By the aid of an opera-glass, I plainly distinguished beneath us a large
pile of irregular stones, encircled by a railing. I, at first sight,
took this for the ruins of a kind of hippodrome which might have
succumbed to an earthquake, each stone having lost its perpendicular, as
though purposely to mock its fellow, and not making the slightest
attempt to perpetuate the grandeur of their solemn mission. Horses,
mules, and donkeys, were seen dragging loads of large planks to and fro,
six or eight on either side. The ends of the planks kept cutting rather
deep zig-zags into the soft ground, and were continually catching
against tombstones. The whole formed a kind of gigantic American
bagatelle board, where, when the ball is violently thrown to the top, it
descends by degrees, catching the points in every direction in its way
down. Next to it music was heard. Boys were romping, some playing with
marbles, or five para pieces, making use of the stones for their point
of departure. Lemonade, cakes, raki, and variegated bonbons, oranges,
lemons, &c., were briskly purchased by the promenaders, who, amongst
this _cohue-bohue_ of industry, were seen gaily crossing and recrossing
the green paths. Some reclined against the grave-stones, forming, as it
were, an arm-chair. Amongst them, however, were but few Mussulmans, some
turning Dervishes and Howlers, Greeks, Armenians, French, Perotes,
Smyrniotes, and here and there gazing with astonishing disapprobation,
some of the children of Albion. All excepting the latter might be seen
gaily fluttering from tombstone to tombstone, like busy bees from flower
to flower, in a perfumed pasture in summer. Here and there clumps of
cypress trees looked like the mournful guardians of this desecrated
spot. Some of the marble stones are still vividly stained with the blood
of the haughty and rebellious Janissaries, whose crumbling bodies lay
beneath. Such is the pious veneration of the Oriental population for the
remains of their ancestors in the Petit Champ des Morts at Pera.

The principal buildings which grace this foreign quarter are the
English, French, Austrian, Russian, Sardinian, and Prussian embassies.
The former, called the Palais d’Angleterre, now the residence of Lord
Stratford de Redcliffe, interested me most, as I was in duty bound to
pay my humble respects to his lordship and her ladyship the next
morning. It brought to my mind from a distance the celebrated building
of the Reform Club, which gave Barry his high reputation as an
architect, and where your humble servant passed above two lustres of his
culinary career.

While the new moon was faintly shining through transparent clouds, the
hundred minarets of Stamboul and its vicinity had been illuminated for a
festival, and their fiery collarettes à la Vandyke proudly carried those
rings of diamonds high towards the heavenly sphere. Eight o’clock was
striking at the Catholic church of Saint Mary. All was darkness and
silence. Hastily retiring to my bed-room, perfectly satisfied with
having fed my mind, although I had probably neglected internal
restoration, I soon fell into a most profound slumber, in which I saw
nothing but churchyards, clumps of cypress trees, mosques, and
illuminated minarets, till I awoke at daybreak.

My wandering mind having fluttered all night about the Oriental
metropolis, I was not in the slightest degree surprised to find myself
in the morning in the land which had given birth to the _Arabian
Nights_. The sound of a cracked bell was heard from the bottom of the
staircase, inviting each traveller to his morning meal. There was a
goodly number present, and we sat down about thirty-five. The majority
were military men, of various ranks, mostly French and English. Some
expressed their regret at my absence the previous evening, fancying--so
much for imagination--the dinner would have been more choice had the
landlord been personally acquainted with me. At all events, the
breakfast-table was well supplied, and I made a hearty meal, amidst the
buzzing of various languages.

As it was nearly eleven o’clock by the time I had finished, I started
for the Embassy, and after about twenty minutes of most laborious
gymnastic exercise over the ill-paved Rue (Ruelle it should be called)
de Pera, I entered the small wooden gate at the grand entrance of the
Palais d’Angleterre, which is majestically located in a fine open space
of ground, encircled by a large terrace, with parterres of shrubs and
high trees, from which spot a most favourable view of the rich mass of
building around is obtained. Modest grandeur, boldness, and simplicity
of execution, seem to have been the architect’s sole ambition. I shall
probably, in another chapter, describe the beauty and comfort of its
interior. The porter having taken my card, I was immediately shown into
the library. A few moments spent in this sanctuary of belles lettres
afforded me a fair opportunity of closely examining a very excellent and
well-executed painting, the style of which assured me that it was a good
portrait of his Sublime Majesty, the present Sultan, Abdul Medjid. Ten
minutes had scarcely elapsed, when Lady Stratford entered, and addressed
me in French, with a smile of welcome difficult to forget. “Well,
Monsieur Soyer, we heard of your departure from England for the East.”

“No doubt you did, my lady.”

“And I sincerely hope that you will succeed in your laudable
undertaking. I have no doubt your suggestions will prove highly
beneficial, and be well received by the authorities at the various
hospitals, which, in your department, are much in want of some kind of
regulation. I also hope that the Minister-at-War has invested you with
power to act according to your own judgment.”

“I am happy to inform your ladyship,” said I, “that her Majesty’s
Government has not only granted me the power required to superintend
and, if possible, improve the diet at the Hospital, but have also
honoured me with their full confidence as regards ordering anything
extra which may be required, so long as it tends to the comfort of the

“Well, I am very happy to hear that such is the case,” replied her
ladyship; “for without such power your services would not have been so

“I can assure your ladyship that I would not have undertaken this task
if such powers had not been granted to me by Lord Panmure. I was well
aware of the numerous difficulties I should meet with, which are almost
unavoidable in every kind of administration. But so highly do I
appreciate the honour conferred upon me, that, far from taking advantage
of the unlimited confidence reposed in me, it will be my pride to try
and make all my contemplated improvements with the present governmental
allowance; and I have no doubt that in time, by judicious organization
and good management, as well as by using everything to the best
advantage, I shall economize, instead of increasing the expense to the
nation. Having heard that your ladyship has, from the commencement of
this serious war, devoted the best part of your time to the various
hospitals, in watching over the sick and wounded, I shall esteem it a
great favour if you will direct me how to act, in order to insure prompt
success, and what articles of diet are most required for the patients.”

“It will afford me great pleasure, Monsieur Soyer, to give you the
principal information; but Signor Roco Vido, my head manager and cook,
will furnish the details, as he daily prepares large quantities of
comforts,--such as beef-tea, mutton and chicken broth, calves’-foot
jelly, &c., &c.,--and distributes them himself at the Barrack and
General Hospitals, also at Hyder Pacha, where the officers are.”

“Indeed, my lady. Such information from Signor Roco would be invaluable
to me.”

“Very well; I will send for him.”

“I beg your ladyship’s pardon, but I always understood that the
hospitals were on the other side the Bosphorus.”

“Yes, Monsieur Soyer, the great military ones are; but as at the
beginning of the campaign, after the battle of the Alma, none of them
had extra diet kitchens, we prepare food here and send it over.”

“I understand that the Bosphorus is sometimes so rough that no one can
cross it.”

“Such is the case; but we have a good-sized caique, and I can assure you
that, although it is so very dangerous, it has never missed going one
day; and since the battle of Inkermann, it often goes to Kululee, where
we have opened another hospital, nearly three miles from this. Before
you see Signor Roco, if you will follow me, I will inquire whether Lord
Stratford is disengaged, as I have no doubt he will be pleased to see

“I am your ladyship’s most humble servant,” was my reply.

After walking over the best part of the grand square gallery, and
crossing before the magnificent marble hall and gigantic staircase, we
ascended to a loftier story. A gentle tap at the door gained us
admittance to the sanctuary of high diplomacy. A plain screen was all
the furniture to be seen. A few words from her ladyship soon brought me
in communication with his Excellency, who, though much engaged (being
surrounded by mountains of official papers), received me in a most
cheerful and friendly manner. After I had said a few words relative to
the mission entrusted to me by the British Government, and her ladyship
had briefly narrated our former conversation, Lord Stratford kindly
expressed the pleasure it would give him to hear of my success in that
important department. “A good diet,” said Lady Stratford, “being of
paramount importance to every one in a state of debility. Monsieur
Soyer,” continued her ladyship, “also wishes to see Roco, to learn from
him, as he has now had several months’ practice making various aliments
for the patients, what kinds are most in request by the doctors.”

“No doubt,” Lord Redcliffe replied, “Roco will be happy to give you all
the information you may require upon the subject. He is a very good man,
and exerts himself to the utmost for the hospitals.”

Lord Stratford again expressed his good wishes and promises of kind
support, whereupon her ladyship and your humble servant retired. The
ambassadress then ordered the footman in waiting to conduct me to
Signor Roco’s apartment; expressing her desire to meet me with him the
next day at the Kululee and Scutari hospitals. I promised to attend at
those places on the following morning, and took my leave.

A walk through the gallery and corridor of that noble mansion brought us
to Signor Roco Vido’s door. An indication on the outside apprised me
that my cicerone was a child of _la belle Italie_, which at first caused
me some fear lest this should create impediments and delay in our
business transactions, as I only understood the language of the Italian
opera. A few words from the footman soon brought me in amicable contact
with the major-domo of the Palais d’Angleterre, who spoke excellent
English, and, like his illustrious master, was surrounded by archives,
but only of culinary and household affairs. The contents of these,
though not so important to the world, were nearly as substantial, more
especially the bill of fare, which in itself is capable of influencing
any diplomatic subject. A good one gratifies the stomach and soothes the
brain, which is necessarily influenced by the quality, succulence, and
scientific preparation of the aliments imparted to the first organ.

Such was the important office entrusted to the guidance of Signor Roco
Vido. And who can say, after all, that the late destructive war was not
partly, or even entirely, caused by a dinner? Did not the French
revolution of ‘48 emanate from a banquet? and upon this occasion, 1854,
six years after, a most unaccountable gastronomic event occurred. Lord
Stratford de Redcliffe, on his return to Constantinople as
plenipotentiary, had for the first time invited his Excellency Prince
Menschikoff to a grand diplomatic dinner, where all the representatives
of the then united Courts were to assemble. The day was fixed for the
21st of March, 1854, and the invitations were cordially accepted, most
especially by the representative of the Czar; he being, no doubt,
anxious to read upon the brow of the diplomatist the political feeling
of his nation. That very day, towards noon, the Sultan’s mother died. In
the morning she had written a letter to his Excellency, expressive of
her full confidence that he would study the future welfare of her son in
his relations with the British Government. On account of this mournful
event, and with a most profound feeling of respect and veneration for
the Imperial mourner, the dinner was postponed for a week; and while the
dark veil was laid over the banqueting-table, and the black seal was set
upon the _batterie de cuisine_, and numerous _bouches à feu de
l’Ambassade britannique_, his Excellency Prince Menschikoff was on board
a Russian man-of-war anchored at the mouth of the Black Sea, waiting
with all the dignity and defiance imaginable for the determination of
peace or war. The diplomatic banquet never took place! the war did!

I consider a postponed diplomatic dinner to be an universal calamity,
especially when only a few hours’ notice of the postponement is given;
and I cannot but quote the _Gastronomic Regenerator_, page 342,
published in the year 1842, in which I say--

“Rien ne dispose mieux l’esprit humain à des transactions amicales qu’un
dîner bien conçu et artistement préparé. Lisez l’histoire, et vous y
trouverez que, dans tous les temps et chez tous les peuples, le bien qui
s’est fait, et quelquefois le mal, fut toujours précédé ou suivi d’un
copieux dîner.”

_Translation._--“Nothing can prepare the human mind for amicable
intercourse better than a well-conceived and artistically-prepared
dinner. Read history, and you will ascertain that at all periods, and
amongst all nations, the benefits, and sometimes the evils, they
experienced, were either preceded or followed by a good dinner.”



     Cordial reception--Table-d’hôte--Absence of the fair sex--Warlike
     sentiments--Toasts--Scene at the Tophané landing-place--A chorus of
     boatmen--Caiques and caidjees--Romantic illusions
     dispelled--Crossing the Bosphorus--The Barrack Hospital--Lord
     William Paulet--Warm welcome--Dr. Cumming’s apartment--Plans
     discussed--Melancholy sights--Return to Pera--Another conversation
     with Signor Roco Vido--Articles supplied by him to the
     hospitals--Wounded Russians--Origin of the hospital--An

The same day, I despatched one of my men to the Barrack Hospital at
Scutari, to inform Lord William Paulet--at that period Brigadier-General
of the British army--of my arrival at Constantinople, and to inquire at
what hour his lordship would favour me with an interview. Upon my return
from the Palais d’Angleterre, I found that my man Julian had arrived
from Scutari, much, pleased with his lordship’s reception, but terribly
frightened by his passage _en caïque_ across the Bosphorus, which that
day was so rough that all his clothes were wet through. “The caidjee
would not take me there and back for less than five shillings,” said he.

“Well, never mind that, so long as you have seen his lordship and are
safe upon _terra firma_.”

“I must tell you, sir, that upon announcing your arrival, his lordship
seemed very much pleased, and observed, ‘So Monsieur Soyer has arrived!
Where is he?’ ‘At Pera, my lord, at the Hôtel des Ambassadeurs.’ ‘I had
the pleasure of knowing M. Soyer,’ said his lordship, ‘when he came to
Ireland in the year of the famine. Tell him I shall be happy to see him
any time to-morrow between the hours of nine and four.’ ‘Thank you, my
lord. I shall not fail to acquaint M. Soyer of the kind reception you
have given me on his behalf.’”

Highly gratified at the kind reception I had received from Lord and Lady
Stratford de Redcliffe, and fixing my visit to Lord William Paulet for
nine or ten the next morning, I then visited General Cannon at
Messerie’s Hotel, to inform him of the progress I was making, and to
tell him that all appeared encouraging. I felt it my duty to do this, as
he and all the officers on board the _Simois_ expressed considerable
interest in my undertaking. As General Cannon was out, I had the
pleasure of seeing his aide-de-camp, Captain Harbuckle, who promised to
inform the General of the subject of my visit. On inquiring for Mr.
Messerie, I found him busily engaged in the entrance-hall. He took me to
his private room, and we had a long conversation. He very kindly gave me
much valuable information respecting the products of the country, which,
he stated, differed much from those found in the English markets in
quality, though little in price, as all kinds of provisions had risen to
double, and in some cases triple, what they were before the commencement
of the war.

“That,” I answered, “could not fail to be the case, considering the
immense influx of troops daily arriving at Constantinople.”

“Any information or assistance you may require, Monsieur, I shall, as a
_confrère_, be happy to give you, and will also endeavour to render
myself useful as well as agreeable.”

I promised to pay him a visit now and then when I came to Pera, and we
parted. It would be difficult for any one to imagine the immense number
of persons who daily went in and out of this large hotel. The spacious
hall was crowded with baggage. In fact, there is but one hotel in Pera,
or we might say in Constantinople, and that is the one.

I next called at the “Hôtel de l’Europe,” to see Captain Ponsonby and
Colonel St. George. I found they had just before left, with the
intention of dining at the table-d’hôte at the “Hôtel des Ambassadeurs.”
Upon my arrival there, I found a number of my fellow-travellers, all
come, as they said, in expectation of finding a better dinner than at
their hotel, in consequence of my being there. We certainly had a very
tolerable dinner, which stamped for a time the reputation of the hotel
for having one of the best tables-d’hôte in Constantinople. The room was
very spacious and lofty, the table well laid out, ornamented with
numerous fine bouquets of flowers, and lighted with wax lights. We sat
down about forty, principally military men.

Over glasses of Greek champagne and Bordeaux wine, several laughable
anecdotes relating to our voyage were told. Expressions of admiration at
the view of the Moslem city from the Bosphorus--of disappointment at the
disenchantment experienced on landing--were freely uttered. In fact, we
all seemed to enter upon our campaign with most flourishing prospects;
but we could not help remarking, and feeling at heart, the want of
ladies at our board. Not one adorned our festival. This gave us a sad
_prestige_ of the deprivation of female society we should be condemned
to in the Crimea. Such was to be our fate throughout the campaign. At
the time, none seemed to feel the loss of those they loved or had loved
so dearly. No; all were for war! war! and glory at any risk. Bloodshed,
epidemics, destruction, loss of life, &c., were matters of little
moment. The very air we breathed seemed to smell of powder. All these
horrors had steeled men’s hearts, and in so doing, seemed to have
banished all rational feeling for home. Men seldom thought of their
wives and families, or at least never spoke of them; and if a young and
tender-hearted warrior did think of his anticipated fair companion or
_fiancée_, he dared not talk of her--every one would have laughed at

In spite of this, one member of the fair sisterhood, and the ornament of
her sex, was not forgotten; and when the health of Victoria, Queen of
England, was proposed by a French Colonel, the shouts and hurrahs it
elicited did not cease for many minutes. Why such enthusiasm? Believe
me, it was not in honour of her Majesty’s sex. No! it was an
acknowledgment of the martial glory of the country; for, a few minutes
after, the same sentiment was expressed for the Emperor of France; and
again, for the union and alliance of the three nations. This proceeding,
instead of opening the heart to feelings of love, and of calling forth
the last sentiment of the kind which might have lingered there, aroused
a sterner inspiration. Such are what I call the calamities, if not the
horrors, of war; where all is destruction, and humanity is rendered
inhuman. This was the prevailing feeling of about forty well-bred and
brave military men--fifteen of whom were French, and the remainder
Englishmen--sitting at the table-d’hôte of the “Hôtel des Ambassadeurs,”
at Pera, on the 20th of March, 1854. Of that company, nearly a third, a
few months after, had sacrificed their lives for the glory of their

The next morning, at half-past eight, I went with my dragoman to the
horrid Tophané landing-place. There I was surrounded by at least twenty
caidjees, who added to the disagreeables of this spot an evil of which I
was not aware at my first visit. Just fancy twenty Turks screaming out
their to me unknown language, and performing, at the same time, a
peculiar pantomime with their fists so close to your visage, you might
almost fancy they were telling you that, if you dared to take any other
caique than theirs, they would punch your head for you, or throw you
into the Bosphorus. In such a scene of noise and confusion, it is
almost, if not altogether, impossible for one to make up one’s mind
whether one requires one caique or several. The mistake occurs in this,
that they offer you a caique with one, two, or three caidjees.

As the Bosphorus was very rough, my man hired a craft with three pair of
oars--the two and three-oared boats being the only ones that went out
that day--the small caiques with one pair of oars seldom venturing out
in such weather. We soon stepped into the boat; and, to my delight, we
had no sooner set foot in the one we had selected, than, as if by a
magic spell, every tongue was silent. About two minutes after, just as
we were pushing off, two English officers made their appearance, and
experienced more trouble than I had done, as I had with me a man who
spoke their language. We got afloat quickly enough, and the short
spiteful waves constantly dashed in our faces, and rocked us about in
all directions. To my astonishment, the rowers took quite a different
direction to the Barrack Hospital, which appeared to me close at hand.
On making a remark to this effect to my dragoman, he told me the current
was so strong that they were obliged to fetch up a long way to avoid
being dashed against the Seraglio Point, or the chains and hawsers of
the vessels at anchor. “Oh, thank you,” said I, “let them go as many
miles round as they please, especially as I have till four o’clock to
see his lordship.”

After a long pull we came close to the Tour de la Jeune Fille, and I
told my man Auguste to inquire respecting the truth of the tale narrated
in a previous chapter. The only reply he could get from the three
caidjees respecting this wonderful story was, that they knew of no young
maiden who dwelt there; but that, on the contrary, an old Armenian
woman, in summer time, sold bad coffee and worse tobacco. A few weeks
afterwards the _café_ was opened, and, instead of _la jeune fille_,
there was an obesity of about sixty years old--_coiffée à la
grecque_--fresh flowers ornamenting the remains of what, no doubt, was
once a fine head of hair.

The current here is so strong and rapid, that the waves inundate the
best part of the tower. Auguste told me this place was at all times the
most dangerous, and that in bad weather a single-oared caique could not
cross near it. A few minutes after, under shelter of the high Scutari
banks and out of the current, we were, comparatively speaking, in smooth
water. But our poor caidjees were in a violent perspiration, though the
weather was rather cold, and paused to take breath. It took us above an
hour to cross, though you could see the hospital close at hand at
starting. At last we arrived at the landing-place, which, thanks to the
English, was far better than the Tophané one.

The hospital being on an elevated spot, and not more than a thousand
yards distant, appeared three times as large as it did from the deck of
the _Simois_; and here again, at sight of such a gigantic establishment,
my courage failed me, and for the second time I regretted having
undertaken such a difficult task. I immediately went to the grand
hospital entrance, the residence of Lord W. Paulet, thanking my stars
that I had the honour of being known to him. I was shown the general’s
quarters, and sent in my card. I was desired to follow, and had no
sooner entered, than his lordship came to meet me, and shook hands

“Monsieur Soyer,” said he, “we have not had the pleasure of meeting
since 1847, when I saw you in Dublin,--the year of the famine in

These words recalled the scene to my mind.

“I was at the Royal Barracks, with the Duke of Cambridge, when you
opened your kitchen in the Barrack Square--in fact, before our window.
The Duke and myself paid you a visit the day the Lord-Lieutenant opened
it. You had nearly a thousand visitors that morning, and fed between
four and five thousand poor people in the course of the day. The samples
of food prepared by you were excellent, though made at such a moderate
price, I assure you,” his lordship continued, speaking to some gentlemen
present, one of whom knew me while at the Reform Club.

“Indeed, my lord, you give me much pleasure by recalling reminiscences
of my success at that period; and I accept the same as a good omen for
my present undertaking, especially when taken in connexion with your
valuable support.”

“Monsieur Soyer, you may depend upon my support; but I tell you
beforehand, you will have no end of difficulties.”

“Well, my lord, with your support, a good will, and perseverance, I have
no doubt of doing some good.” I then presented Lord Panmure’s letter
respecting my mission. While his lordship was reading it, I was asked by
several officers present, “What are you sent out for?” Lord William
Paulet, overhearing them, replied, “To set us to rights in our kitchen
department, to be sure. This letter from the Minister-at-War shall be
closely attended to, Monsieur Soyer, and I will this day give orders to
that effect.”

From this I understood that Lord Panmure had given instructions for
everything I might require.

“Well,” said his lordship, “how many cooks have you brought with you?”

“Four, my lord.”

“Only four! I thought you would want many more than that. However, let
me know what you require. You are staying at Pera?”

“Yes; but I intend coming over to-morrow, to make a beginning.”

“I must get you a house in town; we are so full here, we have no room to

“I’m not sorry for that--it will be a change of air--though I shall
require a small room in the hospital.”

“We’ll see about that--but tell me, of how many does your staff

“About seven or eight.”

“I’ll try and get you a house to yourself.”

“Many thanks, my lord. I assure you that the kind reception accorded to
me will never be forgotten by your humble servant. In order that no time
may be lost--and I am aware that your lordship’s is highly
valuable--will you kindly instruct some one to show me Dr. Cumming’s
apartment, as I have a letter of introduction to that gentleman from Dr.
Andrew Smith; and I am anxious to confer with the Doctor upon the
subject of the new diets, and submit them for his special approval.”

His lordship then directed Dr. Rutherford to show me to Dr. Cumming’s
office, which we reached through a long corridor lined with beds on
either side, and occupied by sick and wounded. The apartment was full of
persons waiting to see the doctor. On sending in my card I was
immediately admitted, and very politely received. Dr. Cumming was, of
course, full of business. He read the letter from Dr. A. Smith, and then
said, “Monsieur Soyer, you may depend upon it that I will do all in my
power to assist you.”

I then stated my plan of commencing with a hundred patients, of which,
he highly approved. “The next thing,” I observed, “will be to find a
suitable place for a kitchen.”

“I think,” said he, “the General Hospital will be the best to begin at,
as it has always been used as an hospital. You will find everything more
appropriate there.” I expressed a great desire to commence with the
Barrack Hospital, to which Dr. Cumming immediately consented.

“Dr. Rutherford, you will perhaps be kind enough to show Mr. Soyer over
the hospital, and assist him in selecting a suitable spot to commence
operations.” Doctor Cumming again repeated his promise of giving me
every support, and said, “You know my office, and I shall at all times
be glad to see you upon matters of business.”

“You may depend upon it, Doctor, that I shall only trouble you with
indispensable matters, and such with which it is most important you
should be acquainted.”

We then parted. The Doctor and myself walked round the whole of the
corridors, both sides of which were filled with patients. The numerous
wards round the barracks, each of which held about thirty patients, were
also full. These melancholy sights have been so often depicted in
letters in the public press, that it would only be reopening an old
wound were I to dilate upon them. There is a wide difference between
seeing the thing upon the spot, in all its painful and wretched truth,
and in merely reading a well-written description. This fact all who have
witnessed such spectacles have felt, without being able or willing to
describe. I must say that, in spite of the _sang froid_ and energy I
possess, the sight of such calamities made a most extraordinary
impression upon me, and produced an effect which lasted for several days
afterwards. At length I found a place on one of the large staircases, in
which I could make an excellent model kitchen, and of this discovery I
at once informed Dr. Cumming. The afternoon was drawing to a close, and
being obliged to return to Pera, I was compelled to leave without
seeing Miss Nightingale, for whom I had brought several letters--one in
particular, from the Duchess of Sutherland.

In the evening I went to the British Embassy to have a little
conversation with Signor Roco Vido, respecting the Kululee hospital, and
obtained from him a list of the various sorts of diets he had been
supplying. He then informed me that our visit to Kululee with her
ladyship was deferred for a day or two on account of so many visitors
staying at the Embassy on their way to the Crimea. This news I received
with much pleasure, being anxious to commence operations at the Barrack
Hospital. As it was near Lord Stratford’s dinner-hour, he requested me
to sit down, and gave me the book containing the account of all that he
had supplied from the beginning of the war. This I took for my guide.

The list of articles supplied by Signor Roco Vido to the different
hospitals is so various that it would fill several pages, and would not
be interesting or useful. They consisted principally of beef-tea,
chicken and mutton broth, calves’-foot jelly, arrowroot, semolina, &c.
&c. The supply commenced four days after the battle of the Alma, on
which occasion several wounded Russians were taken prisoners and brought
to the Barrack Hospital. They were about twenty in number, among whom
was General Chekanoff, who died seven days after from his wounds. He had
received three bayonet thrusts, and two balls had passed through his
body: his age was sixty-five. He lies in the Cemetery near the General
Hospital at Scutari. A small piece of rotten plank marks the
resting-place of this brave defender of his country’s cause, from which
in a short time the inscription will probably be erased.[8] Signor Marco
Vido, brother of Roco Vido, who afterwards acted as Miss Nightingale’s
interpreter, informed me that at that time the barracks which were
afterwards turned into an hospital were entirely destitute of beds,
sheets, blankets, chairs, tables, cooking utensils, or food of any
description; the whole of which were supplied by Lady de Redcliffe; the
General Hospital was then used by the Turkish army. This was the origin
of the largest and most unique hospital in the world. Signor Marco Vido
did not quit the general’s side till he had expired. The latter
expressed his sincere thanks to him, and also to her ladyship, for the
extreme kindness shown to him.

Signor Roco re-entered, as I was about to leave, having just written a
few words of thanks. He said, “I have told my lady you are here. She
will be glad to see you before dinner, if you wish it.”

“No, my dear sir, I do not wish to disturb her ladyship; but pray tell
her that I am entirely at her orders respecting the Kululee or Hyder
Pacha Hospitals.”

“By-the-bye, I am going early to-morrow to Hyder Pacha,--perhaps you
would like to come with me?” said he.

“I shall be most happy, if you go before twelve o’clock,” I replied, “as
at that hour I have several appointments at the Barrack Hospital.”

“We will start at eight o’clock, if you like.”



     Good news--First meeting with Mr. Bracebridge--The Hyder Pacha
     Hospital--Bad cooking--The General Hospital--Meeting with Miss
     Nightingale--Plans discussed--Miss Nightingale’s anxiety for a
     change of system--A visitorial pilgrimage--Miss Nightingale’s
     dietary kitchen--Bad charcoal--Extra diet kitchens--Question of
     seasoning--The general kitchen--Imperfect arrangements--An old
     acquaintance--A promising commencement.

The next morning we started as agreed upon. On arriving at Scutari, I
met a soldier who informed me that a house in Cambridge-street was being
prepared for my reception. “It is not two minutes’ walk from here,” said
he; “will you go and see it?”

“Thank you, not this morning; my friend is in a great hurry. When will
it be ready?”

“To-morrow, or next day, at the latest.”

“That will do very well. Where can I find you if I want to see you?”

“At the Engineers’ office; my name is Corporal Hardy.”

“I thank you.”

On our way to Hyder Pacha, we met Mr. Bracebridge, talking to Dr.
MacHree, the head doctor at that hospital; both of which gentlemen I
very much wished to see. Upon being introduced to Mr. Bracebridge, I
recognised him as an old acquaintance of my friend, the late Baronet Sir
George Chetwynd, of Greedon Hall, Staffordshire, whom he frequently
visited. He informed me that Miss Nightingale had heard of my arrival,
and that she would be much pleased to see me.

“I was going to pay my respects,” said I, “to Mademoiselle this
afternoon after post-time.”

“Oh, that will do very well,” he replied: “she will have great pleasure
in seeing you.”

As the Doctor was on his way to head-quarters, and Mr. Bracebridge was
going in another direction, we continued our journey, which, though
short, was very fatiguing, the roads being very bad in consequence of a
continuance of heavy rain. At last we arrived at the hospital, which,
although the smallest, is certainly the most elegant. It was one of the
Sultan’s Kiosques, and was divided into three departments--one for the
officers, and two for the men. About three hundred and forty men and
twenty officers were there at the time, as I was told; the latter
complained very much about their cooking, the inferiority of which was
unavoidable, as there was only a very small kitchen, badly built, which
smoked all day, and was without ventilation. It was there that the Duke
of Cambridge and staff remained during his indisposition; but I must
observe that the Duke had a first-rate culinary artist, who went through
the campaign with him. The Duke was only attended by a few gentlemen,
and consequently it had not at the time of my visit twenty occupants.
Nothing could be done properly for them, till I had built a rough wooden
kitchen, and placed a civilian cook under the orders of the doctor and
purveyor who had the regulation of the diets. This hospital, though very
pretty, was never considered healthy, it being surrounded by gardens and
marshy meadows.

After inspecting the mess-kitchen, we retired, and thence went to the
General Hospital. The doctor-in-chief not being there, we were shown
round by a staff-doctor. I found the kitchen very dark, and badly built,
for such a number of patients; but the distribution of food and the
regulation of the same were on a much better footing than at the Barrack
Hospital. On noticing this to the head cook, he gave the credit to Dr.
O’Flaherty. Upon being introduced to that gentleman, I recognised him as
one of my visitors in Dublin, at the same time as Brigadier-General Lord
W. Paulet. I promised to have the kitchen altered as soon as it could
possibly be done, and started for the Barrack Hospital to visit Miss
Nightingale. As Signor Roco had settled his business, he left me and
returned to Pera; consequently, I entered the great Barrack Hospital
alone. The entrance was crowded with officers of rank and medical
gentlemen. The High-street, facing the General’s quarters, was literally
crammed with soldiers, more or less conscious of the state of warlike
affairs. Most of them kept vandyking from the gin palace to their
quarters, their red jackets forming a strange contrast to the quiet
dress and solemn air of the Moslem soldiers upon duty.

After shaking hands with some officers and doctors whom I had the
pleasure of knowing in England, I inquired of a sentry for Miss
Nightingale’s apartment, which he at once pointed out to me. On my
entering the ante-room, a Sœur de Charité, whom I addressed, informed
me that somebody was with that lady. She added, “I am aware that Miss
Nightingale wishes to see you, so I will let her know that you are
here.” I hoped to have a few minutes to myself in order to take an
observation of this sanctuary of benevolence; but my project was
defeated by my being immediately admitted; and this compels me to trace
this picture from memory.

Upon entering the room, I was saluted by a lady, and not doubting that
this was our heroine, “Madam,” said I, “allow me to present my humble
respects. I presume I have the honour of addressing Miss Nightingale.”

“Yes, sir. Monsieur Soyer, I believe?”

“The same, Madam.”

“Pray take a seat. I hear you had a rough voyage out.”

“Very much so, especially from Marseilles to Ajaccio.”

“So I heard, Monsieur Soyer.”

“I have brought several parcels and letters for you; among the latter,
one from the Duchess of Sutherland.”

After having perused this epistle, Miss Nightingale remarked: “I believe
her Grace is right; you will no doubt be able to render great service in
the kitchen department.”

“For which I shall need the good-will and assistance of all the heads
of this monster establishment; and I must beg, above all things, that
you who have already done so much for the sick and the wounded, will be
kind enough to give me the benefit of your valuable experience.”

“I will, Monsieur Soyer; but first of all, I should advise you to see
Lord William Paulet, Dr. Cumming, and the Purveyor-in-Chief, Mr.

“Many thanks for your kind advice. I had the pleasure of seeing Lord
William yesterday, as well as Dr. Cumming. To Mr. Milton I shall pay my
respects upon leaving you.”

“You had better do so; for the principal part of your business you will
have to transact with those gentlemen.”

“A very excellent remark, which I shall not fail to attend to.”

“Another gentleman you must see in the purveyor’s department, is Mr.
Tucker. You will then be able to commence operations.”

“Very true: I shall not think of commencing before I am well acquainted
with every one in each department that has reference to the cooking. I
shall submit every sample of diets, with a statement of the quantity and
kind of ingredients of which they are composed, for the approval and
opinion of the medical authorities; as I shall have to deal with
patients, and not with epicures.

“Perfectly right,” said Miss Nightingale.

“That no time may be lost, I should very much like this afternoon to
visit the kitchens now in use, inspect the stores, and procure a
statement of the daily rations allowed to each patient, if I can have
one of the inspectors to go round with me.”

“Certainly you can; I will send for somebody who will be happy to
accompany you.”

“Perhaps you would favour us with your company, as I should be most
happy to attend to any suggestion you might like to make.”

“I will go with you with great pleasure; but here comes Doctor
Macgregor, the under-superintendent, who will be our guide. He told me
that he had met you before.”

“Yes; we met yesterday at Lord William Paulet’s.”

“Doctor,” said Miss Nightingale, “Monsieur Soyer wishes you to accompany
him round the various kitchens and store-rooms.”

“I will do that with the greatest pleasure; but he had better be
introduced to Mr. Milton and to Mr. Tucker. Mr. Milton is out, but Mr.
Tucker will do instead.”

Our visitorial pilgrimage then commenced. We first visited Miss
Nightingale’s dietary kitchen, in which I immediately recognised the
whole of the little _camp batterie de cuisine_ which my friend Comte
told me that the Duke of Cambridge had presented to the hospital.
Justice was indeed done to it, for every separate article of which it
was composed was in use. Miss Nightingale had a civilian cook as well as
an assistant. Everything appeared in as good order as could be expected,
considering what there was to be done. I noticed the very bad quality of
the charcoal, which smoked terribly, and was nothing but dust. Of
course, this interfered materially with the expedition of the cooking,
which is a subject of vital importance in an hospital, where punctuality
is as essential as quality. Addressing the Doctor, I said, “Suppose you
have fifty or a hundred patients under your direction--according to the
disease you vary the diet, and according to the state of the patient you
vary the hour of his meal.”

“Of course we do.”

“Then, this defect, simple as it may appear, should be reported and
immediately remedied.”

“The only excuse I can find for the rations and diets not being ready at
the time required is entirely owing to the bad quality of the charcoal,
which, as regards time, would deceive the best of cooks, and is quite
sufficient to upset the best of culinary arrangements. However, I will
take note of the various things which strike me as being out of order
or bad, and this will give me a good chance of effecting an immediate

“You are perfectly right,” said Miss Nightingale. “I assure you that
Dumont, my cook, is always complaining of the charcoal, which, as you
see, is so full of dust that it will not burn; and some days he cannot
manage to cook at all with it.”

“Well, I will endeavour to remedy this great evil.”

“Doctor,” said Miss Nightingale, “you had better tell Monsieur Soyer to
whom he is to apply in this matter.”

“Oh, Mr. Milton or Mr. Tucker will be able to give him the necessary
information. We will now visit another.”

About half-way down the long corridor, we found another extra diet
kitchen, managed by soldiers; but it was far from being in good
order--on the contrary, all was in the greatest confusion. The kitchen
was full of smoke, and everything was boiling too fast. In consequence
of the bad quality of the charcoal, a wall of bricks had been raised
round each stove, and thus wood and charcoal were used _ad libitum_,
burning the rice-pudding, and over-doing everything. In fact, everything
had the disagreeable flavour of being burnt. As I did not wish to alarm
them, I merely remarked that the fire was too fierce; and, on the
following morning, I took one of my men with me to teach them how to
manage better.

We then visited several other kitchens, all of which were, more or less,
in the same state. To this there was, however, a single exception, to
which I must do justice by observing, that, though not quite perfect as
a model--being short of cooking utensils--still it was clean, and
everything we tasted was far superior in flavour. Nothing was burnt,
except a slight catch in the rice-pudding; but this was a mere trifle,
compared with the way the viands were spoilt in the other places. The
beef-tea, chicken-broth, &c., were nicely done, although they all wanted
seasoning. At my first visit to the various diet kitchens, I tasted the
soups made for the patients, which I found quite free from the slightest
suspicion of seasoning, and consequently tasteless. I then asked to have
a couple of basins filled with this. To one I added the requisite
seasoning, and requested Doctor Cumming to taste of both. The Doctor
complied with my request, and could scarcely believe it possible that
such an improvement could be effected by so trifling an addition. He
then expressed his approval and decided that in future the cook should
season the soup, instead of leaving the same to the irregular tastes of
the patients.

“Well,” said Doctor Macgregor, “this is by the doctor’s order, you may
be sure.”

“I have not the pleasure of knowing that gentleman, yet, though I admire
his kitchen very much, and must admit that he keeps it in good order, I
shall certainly tell him when I see him that I do not agree with his
method of not seasoning the broths, &c., while in course of preparation.
It is very true they ought not to be too highly seasoned; but it is the
province of the cook, as I before said, to season for the patient, and
not the patient for the cook. Instead of giving so much salt in the
ward, I would allow each patient but little or none at all; because in
all cookery it is the combination of good and wholesome ingredients
properly blended which constitutes the best of broths or diets; and this
rule holds good for the bill of fare of all nations.”

“This seems logical enough,” said the Doctor; “nor do I approve of the
quantity of salt and pepper given in the wards.”

“But, Doctor, there is another evil; some people are more partial to
salt than others, and, only a few minutes ago, I saw a patient begging
his neighbour to give him a portion of his share.”

“I am aware they do that, Monsieur Soyer.”

“Be kind enough to favour me with the name of the doctor.”

“His name is Dr. Taylor; he will be glad to see you, Monsieur Soyer,”
said Miss Nightingale, smiling. “I can assure you he is a great cook,
and manages his own kitchen. He comes down here two or three times every
day. He is attending a board this morning, or he would certainly have
been here.”

“If that is the case, we shall have no difficulty in understanding each
other. I will do myself the pleasure of calling upon him.”

“You will be sure to find him in his office at nine o’clock to-morrow,”
said Dr. Macgregor. We then crossed the yard to the general kitchen, as
Miss Nightingale called it. Upon entering it, I found, to my surprise, a
superb kitchen, built, I believe, by the Turks, and fitted up with
twenty copper boilers, set in white marble, holding about fifty gallons
each. About sixteen soldier cooks were employed cleaning the boilers, to
make the tea, as the men’s dinners had just been served.

“This is a magnificent kitchen,” I observed to Miss Nightingale. “I was
not aware there was anything of the kind here.”

“So it is, Monsieur Soyer; but see how badly everything is managed.”

“Well, this can be remedied.”

On going to the top of the marble steps, about eight in number, I
perceived that every boiler was made of yellow copper, and screwed to
its marble bed. I immediately inquired about the tinning, as I perceived
the boilers were much in want of this. Copper is, as I have before
remarked, the worst metal which could possibly be employed for hospital
uses. I took notes of all, and having inquired of the men how they
cooked the patients’ dinners, I told them to go on as usual; and that I
would be with them at seven the next morning, to put them in the right
way. As it was getting late, I was about taking my departure, when Miss
Nightingale informed me that there was a similar kitchen on the other
side of the yard, and advised me to go and see it.

“Like this one, do you say, Mademoiselle?”

“Yes, exactly like it.”

“You astonish me. Of course I will go directly. I shall, however, be
sorry to trouble you to come so far.”

“Oh, no trouble at all, Monsieur Soyer. I am much interested in any
improvement or amelioration which may be introduced in so important a

We did, indeed, find just such another kitchen as the last, partitioned
off in the centre. “This one,” said I, “will be large enough for all
that we require.”

“You don’t say so,” observed Dr. Macgregor.

“Quite large enough, I can assure you; the only inconvenience is its
great distance from the building. However, I shall try and manage
somehow. This kitchen is cleaner than the other, and the head man
appears more intelligent; still there is a great deal to be done, in
order to set the whole to rights.”

“I was certain you would say so,” Miss Nightingale observed.

“Oh, but I am far from despairing. Indeed, I feel confident that I shall
succeed. All I require is, that they will go on just as if I had not
arrived. I shall come to-morrow at seven o’clock, and watch their
proceedings, without removing any one from his post, and have no doubt I
shall be able to introduce a much better system.”

After we had examined this kitchen, Miss Nightingale prepared to leave
us. I promised to call upon her the following day, to go round the
wards, and see the dinners served.

As the lady was leaving, I said, “I have an appointment with Lord W.
Paulet at eleven, and one with Dr. Cumming at half-past--therefore I
will afterwards do myself the honour of fetching you, Mademoiselle.”

“That will be the best plan; and probably his lordship will come with

With this the lady withdrew. Dr. Macgregor and myself next went to the
purveyor’s department, to see Mr. Tucker, whom I found to be an old
London friend of mine, of ten years’ standing. “You are about the last
person, friend Soyer,” said Mr. Tucker, “whom I should have expected to
see here.”

“I am indeed in luck, as I hear you are the gentleman from whom I shall
probably require the most assistance.”

“Anything you may require, M. Soyer, I have orders to let you have; and
you may rest assured that Mr. Milton and myself will assist you to the
utmost of our power. There is another person here who knows you--Mr.
Bailey, the storekeeper.”

“These are indeed good tidings. To-morrow, Mr. Tucker, I shall be here
early, to see how they manage the cooking. Perhaps you will be kind
enough to allow some of your men to show me the various store-rooms and
the fresh provisions.”

“I will make that all right, you may depend upon it.”

As my house was not quite ready I crossed over to Pera, and in the
evening went to the English Embassy, to settle some business with Signor
Roco Vido, and to ascertain whether Lady Stratford had fixed the day for
our visit to the hospital at Kululee. This was to be my last night in
Pera, as my house at Scutari was to be ready the following day.



     Inspection of stores--Methods pursued--Interview with Lord W.
     Paulet--Scene in a kitchen--Terrible confusion--Only one
     plate--Underdone and overdone--Receipt for nourishing fare--Mr.
     Milton--Cordial reception--Plans for a better system--Dr.
     Taylor--Conversation upon cookery--Importance of culinary science
     in the medical department--A pleasant night--Value of a
     greatcoat--Operations commenced--Question of copper
     vessels--Curious method of marking the lots--A decent trick--Wilful
     waste--Experiments upon the extra diets--My first-class

At half-past six the next morning I was in the kitchen. The soldiers
were at that hour making the coffee and tea for breakfast. I went with
the serjeant on duty to inspect the quality of the meat, the quantity
allowed, and the place of distribution. I found the meat of a very
inferior quality, the method of distribution too complicated. When the
weight of the quantity allowed was explained to me I found it correct. I
was at first much puzzled at finding that some patients upon full diet
received three quarters of a pound, some half a pound, and some a
quarter of a pound of meat, accordingly as they were placed upon full,
half, or quarter diet allowance--a system unavoidable in a hospital, but
which would deceive the best cook. On some days, in providing for a
hundred patients, this would make a difference of from ten to twenty
pounds of meat, according to the number of half or quarter diets. Yet
the same quantity of soup would nevertheless be required.

I made a note of this, and next perceived that every mess took their
meat separately. Some messes numbered fifteen, twenty, or even thirty.
The meat was spitted upon a rough piece of wood about two feet long,
and then tied as tight as possible with a strong cord. Although this was
a very bad method, I did not choose to interfere, as it was important
for me to show them the evil effects of their system, and ensure a
reform by pointing out a better. We then went to the store-rooms, and
looked over what the contractor called the mixed vegetables, though they
were principally of one kind, and half of these unfit for use. After
having seen the rations weighed, I sent orders to the cooks not to
commence operations until I arrived. We examined all kinds of preserved
meats, soups, sweetmeats, &c. I next went to see the poultry, which I
found of very inferior quality, consisting principally of old fowls,
badly plucked and drawn. The gizzards, heads, and feet, which make such
good broth, were thrown away. Mr. Bailey, whom I had not yet seen, then
entered. When I had explained what we had already done, and the plan it
would be most advisable to adopt for the future, he promised to bring
the contractor, that we might talk the matter over. I examined the
bread, which was very good indeed.

Mr. Bailey accompanied me to the various kitchens, where I had ordered
the men to proceed as usual, and the same in the extra diet kitchen.
During our progress I had the pleasure of meeting and being introduced
to most of the medical gentlemen as they were visiting the patients in
the corridors and wards. Having been informed that Mr. Milton, the
purveyor in chief, had arrived, I called at his office, but
unfortunately he had just gone to some storeroom--no one could tell
which. I left my compliments, and a message to say that I should call
again. I went to see Dr. Cumming, and report progress, and engaged to
let him taste some of my cooking the following day. My next visit was to
Lord W. Paulet, whom I found surrounded by military gentlemen of all
ranks. He called me in, and, in a most good-natured manner, introduced
me to his visitors, saying, “Now M. Soyer is come, I fear he will feed
the sick soldiers so well, that they will be sorry to recover and leave
the hospital.”

“Should such prove to be the case, it will be the best of all bad

Some of the company inquired whether I was going to the Crimea.

“I must first make my _début_ here,” was my reply, “and then we shall

“Monsieur Soyer, what can I do for you?”

“Your lordship can do what I require in two minutes. Will you be kind
enough to send me a carpenter or two, and a bricklayer, to do some
little matters I wish to have attended to?”

“Certainly; I will drop a line to Captain Gordon, the chief engineer, to
that effect. His office is over the way--you had better go and see him.”

“Captain Gordon,” said a soldier, who brought some letters, “is gone to

“I am happy to be able to inform your lordship that I am progressing
very fast, and that every one is very obliging to me.”

“I am glad to hear that, Monsieur Soyer.”

“I suppose you could not spare time about one o’clock, to go round and
see the meals served out?”

“I will try; but I fear I shall hardly have leisure. See what I have to
do,” he continued, pointing to a pile of letters which the soldier had
just brought in; “as Doctor Macgregor is going round with you, he will
give me an account of everything.”

It was then noon, and about dinner-time. So I returned to the kitchen,
where all was in the greatest confusion. Such a noise I never heard
before. They were waiting for their soup and meat, and using coarse
language, without making the least progress in the distribution. The
market at old Billingsgate, during the first morning sale, was nothing
compared to this military row. Each man had two tin cans for the soup.
They kept running about and knocking against each other, in most
admirable disorder. Such confusion, thought I, is enough to kill a dozen
patients daily. As a natural consequence, several must go without
anything; as, owing to the confusion, some of the orderly waiters get
more and others less than their allowance. Any attempt to alter this at
the time, would have been as wise as endeavouring to stop the current of
the Bosphorus. As I did not wish to lose the chance of seeing the
rations served out in the wards, I went for Dr. Macgregor, and we called
for Mr. Milton--but the latter had not returned. I then fetched Miss
Nightingale, and we went through the wards. The process of serving out
the rations, though not quite such a noisy scene as that I had before
witnessed, was far from being perfect. In the first place, the patients
were allowed to eat the meat before the soup. As I was confident that
this could not be by the doctor’s order, I asked the reason. The reply
was, “we have only one plate.” (What they called a plate, was a round
and deep tin dish, which held a pound of meat and a pint of soup.) I
therefore recommended them to cut the meat as usual into small pieces,
and pour the pint of boiling soup over it. This method had the advantage
of keeping the meat hot.

“It will enable the patients,” I said, “to eat both the soup and meat
warm, instead of cold--the daily practice, in consequence of the slow
process of carving.”

“Very true,” said Dr. Macgregor. “Nay, more, the soup will comfort and
dispose the stomach for the better digestion of the meat and potatoes.
When the men are very hungry, they will often swallow their food without
properly masticating it, and the meat is also probably tough.”

We then tasted both the soup and meat. The former was thin and without
seasoning; the latter, mutton, tough and tasteless. The potatoes were
watery. All these defects I promised to rectify the next day. We
proceeded to a ward where they complained bitterly that the meat was
never done; in fact, it was quite raw, and then of course the cook was

“Now,” said I to Miss Nightingale, “I will wager anything that we shall
find some parts very well done, and some, no doubt, too much done,
though it is all cooked in the same caldron.”

“How do you account for that, Monsieur Soyer? is it owing to the bad
quality of the meat?”

“Not at all; that may come from the same sheep, and yet vary.”

At another mess, the meat was well done; a small piece at the end only
being over-cooked.

“I will explain this to you, madam,” said I. “I remarked this morning
that the man tied all the joints together very tight, after having put
them upon a ‘skewer,’ as he calls it, almost as large as a wooden leg.
The consequence is, that when the meat is thrown into boiling water, it
is not properly done; the meat swells, and it is impossible for the heat
or the water even to get at it.”

“Ah, I noticed that several of the men did exactly as you say this
morning,” said Miss Nightingale. “The parts which are well done were
placed loose upon the stick; and this explains the mystery--but I shall
alter that to-morrow.”

Having afterwards inspected several extra-diet kitchens, and tasted
various things, I perceived what I could accomplish, both as regarded
convalescents and extra diets. Miss Nightingale having again offered to
render any assistance in her power, left us; as she had a great deal to
attend to. I retraced my steps to Dr. Cumming’s, and stated my opinion
of the present system of cooking; and explained what I proposed doing,
of all of which he approved highly. I then returned to the kitchen, and
sent a requisition for six rations of everything allowed for making the
soup. I proceeded thus:--

To eight pints of water I put four pounds of meat, a quarter of a pound
of barley, a little salt and pepper, and the allowance of vegetables,
and in about an hour I produced a very good soup--some of which I sent
to several doctors. They tasted and praised it highly, as being very
nourishing and palatable. I then carried some to Dr. Cumming, who
approved of its composition; but expressed his opinion that it would
probably be too expensive. I then informed him I had made it with the
ration allowance, taking the meat at half-diet scale. He was much
pleased with the meat, which he pronounced highly palatable, and thought
that the seasoning should be put in with the other ingredients. I
explained that I could still improve it by the simple addition of a
small quantity of sugar and flour.

“The purveyor will not, I am certain, refuse that,” said he.

“Oh, I am aware of that; but I wish to manage it without increasing the
expense. I must accomplish that, if possible.” Miss Nightingale and Dr.
Macgregor, to both of whom I sent some, praised it even more than the
others had done, particularly the meat, which they stated to be of a
very excellent flavour, and they had the opportunity of tasting the
former. Mr. Milton came in, and though I had not had the pleasure of
seeing that gentleman, from the description I had heard of him, and his
pleasing manner, I knew I was not mistaken in saying--“Mr. Milton, allow
me to have the honour of tendering my best compliments and thanks for
your prompt visit.”

“No person could be more welcome here than you are, Monsieur Soyer. I
only regret I was not in my office when you called. I should have been
happy to have accompanied you round the wards. Your very just remarks
have been repeated to me and the plan you mean to adopt explained, but I
fear you will meet with so many difficulties that you will get tired
before you have achieved much good.”

“Not at all,” I replied; “you will see a great change by to-morrow,
which must be attributed chiefly to the politeness and cordial
assistance I have met with from the members of every
department--especially your own--which to me is the most important.”

“I have given orders that everything you may require is to be placed at
your disposal, if in store; and any alteration or suggestion which is
likely to be beneficial will be immediately attended to. You have only
to ask for anything you need in the way of cooking utensils, and it
shall, if possible, be procured.”

“My great object and delight will be to effect a change with the daily

“That would certainly be as well; but I fancy it cannot be done. The
provisions here are of a quality very inferior to what we get in

“You are quite right, if they are all like those I saw this morning.
Favour me by tasting these two soups. Julien! please to give Mr. Milton
two small basins of soup--one of mine, and one of that made at the
hospital.” On tasting mine first he pronounced it very good and
palatable, and of an excellent flavour. The other, although made with
exactly the same materials, he could hardly swallow. It had no
seasoning, had a blackish appearance, and was quite tasteless.

“There is no comparison,” said Mr. Milton.

“All the soup will in future be like the sample I have made, and I can
greatly improve it by the addition of a few pounds of brown sugar and a
little flour extra.”

“Monsieur Soyer, I beg you will not regard such trivial expenses, at any
rate for the present; what is required you shall have.”

“I see the fresh vegetables are very bad--as you have a quantity of
preserved ones, I shall mix them.”

“In future we must try and get better meat, poultry, and eggs; and,
above all, charcoal. I am aware you have justly complained of them. Have
you seen our bread?”

“Yes, I have, and very good it is too.”

“That is really all we can manage to my satisfaction. As regards the
meat and poultry, I will send you the contractor; but the charcoal is in
the commissariat department. I shall write an official letter respecting
it. I see,” he continued, looking at some, “it is all dust, and seems
quite wet.”

“Pray send off a letter; and if you will give me the name of the
gentleman who is at the head of that department, I shall be happy to
make his acquaintance; and beg of him not to allow any delay, as I
consider this the most important matter of all.”

I repeated the reason for saying this which I have before mentioned.

After listening attentively to my remarks, Mr. Milton said:--

“You may well call it the most important, and the sooner it is altered
the better.”

We parted. I then told the soldier cooks to have the boilers thoroughly
cleaned, and everything in from the stores by eight o’clock the next
morning, as I intended making the soup myself. I left Julien, my head
man, with them to superintend matters.

Having called upon Doctor Taylor, I had a long conversation with him
upon cookery. In the course of this he said,--

“On finding that the cooking was so badly done, I took upon myself, not
only to superintend the men, but also to cook and teach them; and I must
say I found them very willing. How could I expect them to know anything
about it? they had never been taught to do it.”

“True, Doctor; and, as soon as they begin to know a little about it,
they are recalled to their regiments, and replaced by new-comers as
ignorant as they were themselves at first.”

“Exactly; and I tell you what, Monsieur Soyer, though we may be very
good doctors, and possess a thorough knowledge of medical science, we
still need the aid of culinary science; for the one without the other
will produce but very unsatisfactory results. Since I have turned my
attention to it, I am more and more fortified in the opinion which I
have expressed before several medical boards, that a doctor, to be well
qualified, should have some knowledge of the art of cookery, and this he
ought to acquire in the first stage of his medical education.”

“Indeed, Doctor, it is not with the view of elevating my profession, to
which I have now devoted my attention for more than twenty-seven years,
that I say I am persuaded that this science has been too lightly
treated. In corroboration of your just remark, I have, as you will find,
already stated in my various works upon cookery, that to make a good
cook it is of paramount importance that a man should possess some
chemical as well as medical knowledge.”

“I agree with you, Monsieur Soyer,” said he.

“As soon as my kitchen is ready, Doctor, I hope you will favour me with
a visit.”

“With much pleasure. Let me know when it is finished.”

To my great regret, I was obliged to see about returning to Pera, some
delay having taken place in the completion of my house. On reaching the
landing-place not a caique was to be had, the weather was so bad they
could not cross. A friend offered me shelter for that night at a small
restaurant kept by a Greek called Demetri. There were seventeen of us
lying on straw sofas, with the privilege of covering ourselves with our
great coats, if fortunate enough to possess one. Rooms were at a premium
in Scutari. It was also necessary for anybody who wished to have the
benefit of his great-coat to keep awake all night; for no sooner did you
begin to doze than some of your sleeping partners, who happened to be
wide awake, endeavoured to appropriate the coveted garment to their use;
and the weather being very chilly, this proved anything but pleasant.
Unfortunately, after passing an uncomfortable night, I did not feel much
refreshed, and was almost unfit to undertake the difficult task I had
before me. However, I was up at six, and in the kitchen by seven. None
of my orders had been attended to. My own people were not there as they
ought to have been; and the men told me they could not get the rations
till ten o’clock, that being the usual time for issuing them.

“Really,” said I; “and pray who told you so?”

“The serjeant and some of the orderlies,” was the reply.

“We shall see all about that; come with me.”

The truth is, I did find it very difficult to get anything; but, in less
than half-an-hour after I had been to the purveyor’s head-quarters my
new regiment began to manœuvre admirably under my command. By eight
o’clock everything was ready for the cooking, except my cooks, who had
been sleeping in a store-room upon some straw, and had a regular fray
with the allied rats. These animals, it appears, had come to welcome
them to Scutari.

Upon inspecting the boilers, my first fear was realized--there was
nothing but copper--all the tinning had worn away. And very difficult
was it to ascertain this fact, these immense and deep caldrons being
securely screwed to the marble basement, and extremely difficult, not
only to remove, but also to tin when removed. I consider it most
advisable that all large establishments should have their cooking
apparatus made of malleable iron, which is extremely clean, is much
cheaper, and does not require tinning: the lid may be made of copper for
appearance’ sake, but not so the boiler. The kitchen battery of the
wealthy alone should be copper, as they can afford to employ
professional persons for the preparation of their diet, who never would
attempt using them when coppery. (For my important visit to the
Consumptive Hospital at Brompton, see Addenda.)

That day I was obliged to use them. Having put the proper quantity of
water into each copper, with the meat, barley, vegetables, and salt and
pepper, we lighted the fires; and after allowing the ingredients to
simmer for two hours and a half, an excellent soup was made; I only
adding a little sugar and flour to finish it.

The receipt for this excellent soup, so highly approved of and
immediately adopted by the medical men, will be found in my Hospital
Diets, with a scale of proportions from ten to a hundred.

The meat was so poor that there was no fat to skim off the soup. It was
therefore served out at once, as described in the receipt. Several
doctors went round with me, and asked the men how they liked it. They
were all highly delighted with it, and praised it very much. I also took
care that the rations of meat should not be tied together on the skewer.

The orderlies were now ordered not to tie their rations of meat so
tight. Upon inspection I found that they had a most curious method of
marking their different lots. Some used a piece of red cloth cut from an
old jacket; others half a dozen old buttons tied together; old knives,
forks, scissors, &c., but one in particular had hit upon an idea which
could not fail to meet with our entire approval. The discovery of this
brilliant idea was greeted with shouts of laughter from Miss
Nightingale, the doctors, and myself. It consisted in tying a pair of
old snuffers to the lot.

All this rubbish was daily boiled with the meat, but probably required
more cooking. On telling the man with the snuffers that it was a very
dirty trick to put such things in the soup, the reply was--“How can it
be dirty, sir? sure they have been boiling this last month.”

When all the dinners had been served out, I perceived a large copper
half full of rich broth with about three inches of fat upon it. I
inquired what they did with this?

“Throw it away, sir.”

“Throw it away?” we all exclaimed.

“Yes, sir; it’s the water in which the fresh beef has been cooked.”

“Do you call that water? I call it strong broth. Why don’t you make soup
of it?”

“We orderlies don’t like soup, sir.”

“Then you really do throw it away?”

“Yes, sir; it is good for nothing.”

I took a ladle and removed a large basinful of beautiful fat, which,
when cold, was better for cooking purposes than the rank butter procured
from Constantinople at from ten to fifteen piastres per pound. The next
day I showed the men how to make a most delicious soup with what they
had before so foolishly thrown away. This method they were henceforward
very glad to adopt. Not less than seventy pounds of beef had been daily
boiled in this manner, and without salt. It would hardly be credited,
but for its truth I can appeal to Miss Nightingale and others who were

Nothing was needed but a sharp look-out after the cooks in order to
ensure complete success. The day after I had the coppers tinned. The
next thing was to have a charcoal stove built, an oven, a store-room,
and a larder partitioned off; and a kitchen dresser and chopping-block
made. Through the kindness of the Chief Engineer, Captain Gordon, these
things were accomplished in a few days, and at a trifling expense. If
not a very magnificent, it was, as will be seen, a very spacious and
handy kitchen.

In a few days I made experiments in small quantities upon all the
various extra diets, such as chicken, mutton, and veal broth, the
cooking of fowls, beef and mutton tea, &c. I did not forget the
beverages, such as rice water, lemonades, arrow-root, panada ditto,
barley water, sago jelly, &c.; rice pudding, sago, bread, vermicelli and
macaroni ditto. The receipts will be found in the Addenda, under the
head of “Hospital Diets.”

A gentleman, Mr. Black, who was a first-class interpreter, was then
introduced to me by the Purveyor-in-Chief, and appointed to assist me in
any way I might require his aid. He was highly recommended by Miss
Nightingale, and a number of first-class doctors, as well as by Lord
William Paulet. It is with gratitude that I acknowledge the great
assistance I received from that gentleman during his stay with me, and
the energy he displayed in procuring everything I required. He spoke
French fluently, also the Turkish, Greek, and Armenian languages. This
rendered him invaluable to me, as I was obliged to employ people
speaking those different languages in my numerous kitchens. And what
was more remarkable still, he was the husband of the celebrated Maid of
Athens, whose company I had the pleasure of enjoying several times; and
although this interesting personage is now in her tenth lustre, some
remains of the eulogy of the great Byron seem still engraved on the
physiognomy of the once celebrated Greek beauty; and she informed me
that when Lord Byron wrote his poem on her, she was but ten years of
age, he at the time residing opposite the house of her parents at



     Plan of proceeding--Inconveniences--Too many cooks spoil the
     broth--Supplementary scale--How to make tea--The Scutari
     Teapot--Soyer House--Kululee Hospital--Beautiful view of the city
     of Constantine and the Bosphorus--Lady Stratford de Redcliffe’s
     arrival--Bad cookery--General and Riding-school Hospitals--Miss
     Stanley--Hit upon an entirely new plan--Temporary
     indisposition--Depression of spirits--Happy recovery--Opening
     day--Grand success--Lord W. Paulet’s letter--Take one wing of the
     hospital--The old system--Dissatisfaction of the patients.

In a short time, and without much trouble, I initiated the soldier cooks
into my method, and taught the serjeant to see it properly executed. I
shall here describe the process fully, as it will be generally useful
for hospitals or public institutions. In the first place I drew up two
receipts--the one by weight and the other by measure, the former for
beef and the latter for mutton soups. Mutton was the principal meat used
for patients in a state of convalescence. These receipts I had carefully
copied and hung up in the kitchen, at the same time supplying the cooks
with weights and scales. I also taught them how to stew the meat well,
and to manage the fires so as to prevent over-boiling or burning, as
well as to economize the fuel. It was no longer a matter of much
difficulty. Every soldier had become a cook; and if in case of any of
them being removed to their regiments, one of the initiated, under the
direction of the above-mentioned serjeant, who was not changed, soon
made a new recruit capable of cooking for any number. So simple was this
plan, that it was as easy to cook for thousands as it had before been
for hundreds, and to do it to perfection.[9]

Although this was as perfect as possible, a great difficulty still
remained, as the number varied daily, some days increasing, others
decreasing; and as the whole was cooked by messes, the same caldron, was
required to cook for two hundred and fifty persons one day, and perhaps
for one hundred and seventy the next. This caused great confusion and
delay, as well as continual quarrelling, among the cooks and orderlies,
the latter complaining of not getting their full share; and if this
happened, it was a matter of vital importance to the patient, who was
thus deprived of the proper quantity of sustenance ordered by the
medical man. In fact, it led to many very serious results. I therefore
settled that all the caldrons should be filled every day; and as each
boiler would cook for one hundred and fifty, in one only was it
necessary that the quantity should vary. As it was most probable that
this one would vary daily, I made a supplementary scale for it, from
five diets to one hundred, leaving only a few pounds to be guessed. If
any mistake occurred, it could be of no material consequence. I also had
tinned iron, skewers made, with numbers to each, to prevent the meat
being mixed in the boilers, as expedition, cleanliness, and proportion
should be the motto of all such establishments. This plan was followed
to the last.

As all the boilers had been well tinned, I showed the men how to make
tea on a large scale. Their plan was to tie the tea in a piece of cloth,
and throw it into the boiling water. In a few minutes the cloth had
shrunk so much, that the aroma of the tea, instead of being diffused,
was retained in the centre, the inside of the bag being scarcely soaked.
This I proposed to remedy by having fine nets made for the purpose. Miss
Nightingale immediately had this done, and they were a great
improvement. This, after all, was not quite satisfactory, as the tea had
to be made in the same boilers as the soup and meat. The coppers were
fixtures, and of such large dimensions, that it was almost impossible to
clean them properly. I therefore invented my Scutari Teapot, with its
valuable and economical improvement upon the old system, the model of
which is given at the end of the book. (See Addenda.)


I had a large kettle made, holding eight quarts, and put a coffee filter
to it. I then placed the rations of tea for about twenty men in the
filter, poured in the boiling water, and, to my astonishment, made about
one-fourth more tea, perfectly clear, and without the least sediment.
Four of these kettles made enough tea for all the hospital, and this at
once induced me to order some upon a smaller scale for the various
wards, where at night it is often of the greatest importance that tea
should be prepared quickly, in large quantities. I cannot too strongly
recommend it to large families, institutions, and other establishments,
for its economy of time, and a saving of at least twenty-five per cent,
upon the quantity of tea required. I tried it in Miss Nightingale’s room
at Scutari, before several persons; and the Reverend Mr. Blackwood, the
chaplain, persuaded me to bring them out for the benefit of the poorer
classes, as much for its cleanliness as its economy. This, reader, I
claim more as a happy thought than an invention; but I always had an
idea that tea should be suspended in the water, instead of being allowed
to fall to the bottom, as is generally the case. Coffee may be made in
these vessels, as the construction is the same as that of a coffee-pot.

By this time my kiosque, or, as it was afterwards named, Soyer House,
was ready. It was situated in Cambridge-street, near the Scutari Grand
Champ des Morts. Thanks to this, my daily trip across the Bosphorus was
at an end, and as the March winds had a great influence upon its
current, I preferred _terra firma_, to rolling about in its whimsical
stream of daily pearls, evening diamonds, and shoals of immense
porpoises, which towards sunset commence to accompany you with their
nautical summersaults. These at first terrified the uninitiated, who
could not help fearing the sudden appearance of an unexpected passenger
on board the caique.

The time having been fixed by Lady Stratford de Redcliffe for our visit
to Kululee, in company with a doctor from that hospital I rode over
there. It is about five miles from Scutari, along the edge of the
Bosphorus; and from an ancient Jewish cemetery on the top of one of the
hills the beauty of the panorama is such as to defy description. My
opinion is, that such another view does not exist in any other spot
under the canopy of heaven. Under its inspiration I entirely forgot the
annoyance I had endured in that labyrinth of ruin and filth. From this
spot the metropolis of Constantine, backed by a sky of fire, presented
so sublime and picturesque an appearance, that in an enchanted dream
alone could one hope to realize the effect of the mirage. It embraced
the city and the whole length of the Bosphorus, down to the entrance of
the Black Sea. Leaving this beautiful landscape, we passed through
several dull, though very pretty villages, and shortly after arrived at
the hospital and barrack of Kululee. It is surrounded by kiosques and
country seats. The country appears very rich and fertile, but owing to
the indolence of the inhabitants, “which may be adopted as a proverb,”
produces little. Although Nature has done so much for the Moslem race,
she seems also to have deprived them of the faculty of exertion, and
consequently of doing anything for themselves.

Shortly after our arrival we saw, through the golden rays of a dazzling
sunlight, several caiques gaily dancing on the turbulent waves of the
Bosphorus. They darted swiftly towards us; the caidjees wore white
jackets with flowing sleeves. In a few minutes Lady Stratford landed,
attended by several of her fair companions. “Have you been over the
hospital, Monsieur Soyer?” said Lady Stratford, on landing.

“No, I have not, my lady.”

“I am glad of that, as I wish to explain everything to you respecting
the various kitchen departments myself. You must know, Monsieur Soyer,
that we have three separate hospitals here. Although they are under the
direction of one doctor, they form three distinct establishments. We
will now visit the Barrack Hospital, as we are so close to it, and then
the other two.”

Several remarks were made upon the delightful situation of Kululee. Lady
Stratford in the meantime sent Signor Roco to apprise Dr. Humfries of
our arrival. We commenced visiting the store-rooms, provisions,
kitchens, larders, &c. I found in the extra-diet kitchen several very
good and well-prepared diets; and amongst these some very nice
calves’-foot jelly, and excellent rice pudding made by the Sisters of
Mercy. I took notes of what was required in kitchen utensils--alterations
and improvements in that department; and as one of Captain Gordon’s best
men was with me, our business proceeded very rapidly.

Lady Stratford proposed that we should next visit the principal kitchen.
“I think, from its appearance, Monsieur Soyer, that it is in a very bad
state.” Such proved to be the case. It was in perfect darkness, full of
smoke, and the stoves, as large as those at Scutari, required
considerable alterations, the furnaces being inside, instead of out, as
at Scutari. The brick-work was quite burnt out, and all the smoke came
in the kitchen, blinding the men, who could not support the extra
fatigue caused by this nuisance, even preferring their dangerous duty in
the trenches to this kind of culinary inquisition, as it might very
justly have been called. They were in consequence changed every week, or
even oftener. The result of this was bad cookery and the consumption of
about 170 per cent. more wood than was necessary. The men actually
piled small trees, cut into lengths of five or six feet, upon the fires;
and when the soup boiled too fast they threw pailsful of water upon the
burning wood, thus filling the place with dust and steam. As the boilers
were screwed down in the same manner as those at Scutari Barrack
Hospital, they had never been tinned since first used. I at once had the
furnaces put in order, and the skylight over them repaired. I gave them
my receipts, and sent one of my men over for a few days to teach them
how to make the soup. I also promised Lady Stratford, who took so much
interest in the success of that hospital, to call as often as I could;
and, after the opening of my kitchens at Scutari, to spend a few days
there, and superintend the cooking myself.

We then went to the General Hospital, on the top of the hill, which
contained three hundred patients. Having had the honour of being
introduced to the Sisters of Mercy, I took notes of all that was wanted
there, and we lastly proceeded to the Riding School Hospital,
appropriated to the convalescents. There I had the pleasure of being
introduced to Miss Stanley, who had the superintendence of the Sisters.
This establishment had neither kitchen nor cooking utensils. However, by
the aid of the engineer who accompanied us, everything was soon settled.

Yet, after all, I ordered nothing that was not indispensable; and I must
remark that, with all the power with which I was invested by the War
Department, coupled with the willing assistance of Captain Gordon, I
found it a difficult matter to get a plank, or even a nail, fixed in any
of the hospitals. At the same time, I may add, with pride and gratitude,
that throughout the Crimean campaign I was most highly favoured by every
department; for if anything I required was procurable, I had it.

Lady Stratford and visitors having expressed their satisfaction at the
success of our visit, I was on the point of retiring with Signor Roco
Vido, when Lady Stratford asked what day the kitchen at Scutari would be
opened. “On Monday next,” was my reply. “I presume we shall be honoured
with your ladyship’s presence, and that of your suite.”--“I shall not
fail to attend, Monsieur Soyer,” were her ladyship’s words.

The Sisters having thanked me, we retired. We returned in a beautiful
Oriental moonlight by the same road--the panorama of the morning being
now tinted by the reflection of the soft rays of the moon.

Just as I had set everybody to work in the various hospitals, and my
Scutari kitchen was nearly finished, an entirely new plan suggested
itself to my mind. It was as follows:--Instead of commencing with a
hundred patients at a time, as I had at first intended, I changed my
mind, and preferred making a grand opening, resolving to invite all the
heads of the medical department in the various hospitals, as well as
some of the most eminent among the French and Turkish medical staff.
This, I was aware, was a bold experiment; for had I failed--and many
unforeseen events might have caused such a result--my reputation would
have suffered. I was, therefore, well aware that I was risking the
labour of twenty years against an uncertainty; as all those I was about
to invite would come to watch my proceedings with the eyes of Argus, and
would judge of my plans accordingly. At all events, my sample trials had
already given great satisfaction to two eminent doctors. In pursuance of
this plan, I went to Lord William Paulet, explained it, and begged him
to send, or cause to be sent, invitations to all the principal officers
to honour me with their presence upon the occasion, which his lordship
kindly promised to do. I also apprised the doctor-in-chief, who promised
to attend himself, and invite the principal medical gentlemen to do the

The opening day was fixed for the following Monday--it was then
Tuesday--leaving me till Thursday to finish my preparations. On the
Friday morning, after having inspected several kitchens, and gone
through a number of wards, I was suddenly taken ill. I seemed to have
forgotten everything, and experienced at the same time a sensation of
brain fever. There were, however, none of its symptoms. Although I was
quite conscious of what I had to do, I was entirely incapable of doing
it, or of ordering anything or directing any one. In fact, I began to
fear that all my former endeavours would prove useless, and the opening
of my kitchen be a marked failure. The day appointed by Lord Paulet
could not easily be changed, and such a course would have caused the
success of my project to be doubted. Though I had a couple of
assistants, neither of them could carry it out for me, as they did not
know my plans. This sudden indisposition I only mentioned to my people
and to Doctor Macgregor, who told me to keep quiet, and gave me some
soothing medicine. It was Sunday afternoon before my head was clear,
and, after a good night’s rest, I felt myself again, and quite able to
open my kitchen on the day appointed.

The doctor attributed this mental disorder to the effect produced by the
immense number of sick and wounded I was in the habit of seeing daily,
and the numerous dead bodies passing before the windows to be buried. I
had also witnessed several cases of autopsy and some operations. “This,”
he said, “with the constant worry of business, has unnerved you to that
extent, that had you unfortunately taken the fever, you would perhaps
never have recovered your senses.” However, thanks to a kind Providence,
I was able to open my kitchen at the appointed time. It met with perfect
success, and the entire approbation of all the medical gentlemen and
visitors present. They all expressed themselves highly gratified, and
declared that the various samples of diets I then submitted for their
opinion were much preferable to those produced under the old system,
besides having the merit of being concocted with the same ration

The plan I adopted was this:--my samples of diets and extra diets being
prepared, I arranged the basins containing the different diets on the
table, and in juxta-position I placed those prepared by the soldiers,
affixing a number to each, to enable the people present to make a
comparison. All was ready by eleven o’clock, and one being the time
appointed for the arrival of the visitors, I fetched Doctor Cumming, and
requested him to taste the several samples, and give me his candid
opinion; observing that everything was made from the usual allowance,
and cost about the same, or even less, when made in large quantities.

No. 1, was beef-tea. Tasting my sample first, Doctor Cumming pronounced
it good; the other, without taste or flavour. No. 1 was adopted.

Then followed chicken-broth, mutton-broth, beef-soup, rice-water,
barley-water, arrowroot-water, ditto with wine, sago with port,
calves’-foot jelly, &c. Everything was found superior, and so highly
commended by the doctor-in-chief, I no longer had any doubt of success,
nor of the general approval of all the faculty. I promised to lay the
recipes for my new diets before the doctor the next day, and he

About half-past twelve, the kitchen was crowded to excess with military
and medical men. Lord William Paulet entered, followed by his staff, and
accompanied by Mr. Milton, Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, &c. They were much
pleased with the cleanly appearance of the kitchen, and equally
surprised at the alteration which it had undergone in so short a time. I
then showed his lordship round, carefully pointing out to him the simple
but useful alterations I had effected; and requested him to taste the
various samples, compare the one with the other, and give his candid
opinion thereupon. Having done this, Lord W. Paulet expressed his high
satisfaction, and to confirm it, while in the kitchen, wrote the
following letter:--

_Lord William Paulet to Monsieur Soyer._

     It is with great pleasure that I state I have carefully viewed and
     tasted the new diets introduced by Monsieur Soyer in the hospitals
     this day; and had I not seen and tasted them, I could not have
     believed that such an amelioration could have been produced from
     the same materials as allowed by Government.



Above a hundred officials from the various hospitals were present, and
many of the Sisters of Mercy. Not one person had anything to say in
disapproval; but, on the contrary, praised everything. This was
sufficient to stamp it with success. The only thing I regretted was,
that--owing to the rough state of the Bosphorus that day--Lady Stratford
de Redcliffe, as well as a number of military men and medical officers
from the French and Turkish hospitals, were not present. However, they
visited my kitchen some days after, and having inspected everything,
added their testimonials of approbation to those I had already received.
They were particularly struck with the cleanliness and order in a place
where so much was done daily.

The day after the opening, I proposed to Doctors Cumming and Macgregor,
the superintendent, to take one wing of the hospital, which contained
one-fourth of the patients, and supply these with all which they might
require. This I did with the greatest ease, and without the least
confusion, much to the satisfaction of the patients. I continued to do
this for three days, and then took half of the hospital in hand. As I
wished fully to impress the patients with the superiority of my
newly-adopted diets, I then took the other half in hand, and put the
first back to the old _régime_, for a day or two, as I was not quite
prepared to undertake the whole at once. The patients immediately became
dissatisfied, so I was obliged to go with Dr. Macgregor to them and
explain the reason of the sudden change, which was only momentary, three
cheers from my numerous guests closing my laconic, though effective,



     The extra-diet kitchens closed--One large kitchen--Plan for keeping
     the dinners hot--General satisfaction--The General
     Hospital--Summons to Kululee--Labours there--Palace and Hyder Pacha
     Hospitals--Ordered to proceed to the Crimea--Model
     field-stove--Conversation with Lord W. Paulet--A new
     Purveyor-in-chief--Companions for the voyage to the Crimea--An
     evening at Dr. Macgregor’s--Return home--A midnight scene--The
     dying soldier--The guardian angel--Mr. Robertson, the new
     purveyor--Final tour of inspection--General Vivian and his
     aide-de-camp--Parting testimony.

A few days afterwards, I closed all the extra-diet kitchens, with the
exception of the one under the direction of Miss Nightingale, and
another under the direction of Dr. Taylor, having discharged about
twenty soldier cooks, who consumed daily ten times more fuel than was
required; this at the same time much deteriorated the quality of the
extra diets, which required the greatest attention as regarded the
regulation of the heat. We prepared everything in the one large
kitchen--viz., breakfast, dinner, tea, extra-diets, the cooking for the
orderlies, &c., included. Having got all under my own eye, I placed two
civilian cooks in charge of the extra-diets, with six soldiers to assist
them, who might at the same time be instructed, instead of the twelve
before required--thus simplifying the whole process.

The only difficulty that remained was, how to send the dinners hot to
the various wards, on account of the distance being so great. Miss
Nightingale submitted a very excellent plan, which was adopted with
success. It is very similar to that in use in the French hospitals, with
this difference, that we introduced double cases in which to carry
boiling water, thus keeping the contents of the several divisions hot
much longer. Two of these cases were sufficient for each ward, and
after they had been in use for a week, no establishment could be in
better order. Had there been room in the hospital we could have
accommodated as many more patients with the greatest ease, the receipts
being regulated by weight and measure, from an ounce for certain
articles, to seven or eight cwt. for others. I must also observe, in
thanking Mr. Milton, the purveyor, that he rendered me the full amount
of assistance he had promised, and without such powerful aid, as well as
that of Mr. Tucker, it would have been impossible for me to have made so
much progress in so short a period.

In the first place, the provisions were improved--the old fowls got
unexpectedly younger, and the fuel was better. I was thus perfectly
satisfied, and so was everybody else--medical officers as well as
patients. As soon as the alterations at the General Hospital were
completed, and which made a very good kitchen, being clean, light, and
commodious, instead of being ill-adapted for the purpose, as I at first
found it, I paid a second visit to Doctor Lawson, the chief medical
officer of this hospital. I then tried some experiments before him and
numerous other doctors similar to those I had previously made at the
Barrack Hospital, and with the same success; and I must say, as far as
the extra diet went, in justice to Doctor O’Flaherty, the
under-superintendent, with a great deal less trouble than I experienced
at the Barrack Hospital; Doctor O’Flaherty having carefully watched over
and disposed of that very important department. I next went to Kululee,
then in charge of the new lady manager, Miss Hutton, who had replaced
Miss Stanley. I received the following letter from that lady, and at
once placed myself at her disposal.

KULULEE HOSPITAL, _April, 14th, 1855_.

     MONSIEUR,--I hear that you are on the point of leaving Scutari.
     When may we hope that you will come to Kululee? A few days of your
     instruction and superintendence might effect more good than I can

I am, yours, &c.,

The day after the receipt of this I went to Kululee, where I had the
pleasure of seeing Miss Hutton for the first time, and met with a most
gracious reception from that lady and her assistants. We next visited
the General Hospital upon the heights, where I was introduced to the
matron and the Irish Sisters of Charity. These ladies were very anxious
to obtain some utensils and have a new extra-diet kitchen built. Captain
Gordon’s assistant made a small sketch of the place, and undertook to
have it done at once, being aware of its necessity. I left quite
satisfied that it would be immediately put in execution.

It only remained for me to give a list of the utensils required to the
purveyor-in-chief; and shortly after, in company with that gentleman, I
paid another visit to the hospital, where, thanks to his attention, they
had a most effective kitchen. I regretted that the large kitchen for the
convalescent belonged to the Turkish authorities, as it could not be
altered to my liking. Nothing could be altered without an order from the
Turkish officials, and to obtain this, would have taken as long a time
as the duration of the war. Upon leaving the General Hospital, we
visited the Barrack Hospital, where we found every department
perfect--the orders given upon our former visit with Lady Stratford de
Redcliffe having been carried out to the letter. I was now introduced to
Doctor Humphrey, who had been appointed in lieu of another medical
gentleman. He accompanied us round the hospital, and kindly offered me a
bed for the night, which I accepted--having to cook for the patients the
next morning, as well as to instruct some soldier-cooks who were at the
convalescent hospital, called the Riding School. The next day I was in
full action, and received visits from every doctor and Sister of
Charity, who all approved of the diets, as well as my new teapot, in
which I made in the space of ten minutes, out of the ration tea, enough
strong tea for about thirty persons; thus effecting a saving of at least
ten per cent. At the desire of Miss Hutton, I afterwards sent a civilian
cook to the Barrack Hospital, to carry out the system, and to set the
various kitchen departments in order. But I must observe in full
justice to that lady, who had succeeded Miss Stanley, that since my last
visit to these hospitals, every department under her care was so much
improved that hardly anything was required to perfect them. Although the
hospitals were full of patients, the lady assistants who attended this
duty appeared to devote their utmost energies to the benevolent and
humane cause for which they had left their native homes.

Thence I went to the Palace Hospital, Hyder Pacha, and having had a new
kitchen built for the use of the officers, placed a good civilian cook
in it, and with the assent and assistance of Doctors Cumming and
M’Elray, the doctor-in-chief, composed a bill of fare for their mess.
Having arranged everything in the various hospitals to my satisfaction,
I was honoured by several visits from Lady Stratford de Redcliffe, who
expressed her own and Lord Stratford’s approbation of my management, and
both afterwards took a most lively interest in the success of my
proceedings. I then was requested by Lord Panmure to proceed to the
Crimea for the same purpose, and also to try and improve the system of
camp cookery for the soldiers. I therefore informed Lord William Paulet
of my anticipated departure for the seat of war, showing him, at the
same time, my small model field stove. Having explained its principle,
he expressed his approval of its simplicity. I said, “I expect ten of
those stoves, which, upon arrival, I wish to have forwarded to the
Crimea. I have managed to make use of the Turkish coppers at the
hospital, which answer perfectly well, and of the existence of which I
was not aware before leaving England. They are the same as those adopted
in the hospital at Smyrna, and, although too large for camp use, would
do very well for my trial before the Crimean authorities. If these
stoves are approved of, those for the army on march or in camp can be
made thus--viz., two for a company, both of which can be carried on the
back of one mule, with sufficient wood inside for two days. When on
march, they will cook either under cover or in the open air, and in all
weathers, and the quantity of fuel required will be a mere trifle
compared with the present consumption. Thus you perceive, my lord, that
two small ones will cook for a full company of a hundred or a hundred
and twenty men, though I am aware a company seldom exceeds a hundred in
number. This will not matter much; and it is better to have them too
large than too small. We can also have smaller ones for picket and
outpost duty.”

“You are right, Monsieur Soyer; and I must say your plan appears very
sensible and well conceived. I heartily wish you the same success in the
Crimea that you have met with here.”

“In order to prevent any inconvenience from my departure from the
hospital, I will put all in good trim, and leave the whole under the
superintendence of a corporal who is now well acquainted with my system;
and I shall request several doctors to send occasionally for soup,
broth, pudding, &c., unknown to the cook, to see if any alteration takes
place after my departure; and perhaps your lordship would oblige me by
doing the same. This will make them attentive to the proportions
required and the proper management of the cooking.”

“I assure you I often send for a basin of the soldiers’ soup for my
lunch, it is so very good.”

“I do not think you will find any difference after my departure,
although, many persons say that it is all very well so long as I am
here, but that as soon as my back is turned it will be as bad as ever.
Colonel Dennis, in particular, will not be persuaded; I will vouch for
the contrary, as my receipts are all done by weight and measure, and
that causes much less trouble. Before I came they had never done
working, and all for want of a proper system of management. Doctor
Cumming and myself have talked over the subject, and we have no fear of
the result. The only thing required is for the serjeant in charge to see
all properly attended to in the morning.”

“I shall be happy to give you a letter to Lord Raglan, with whom I
suppose you are acquainted.”

“I am; but it is above twelve years since I had the pleasure of seeing
his lordship, and that was at the Reform Club; therefore a letter from
your lordship, in addition to one from the Minister-at-War, cannot fail
to be very acceptable.”

“It shall be ready for you to-morrow morning. By the way, I hope you do
not intend to go before the new purveyor-in-chief comes. It is most
important that you should see him.”

“Indeed! I was not aware that we were to have a new purveyor-in-chief. I
very much regret it--but is Mr. Milton going?”

“Of course he is: he only came out here till another could be appointed.
He cannot remain, as he holds a very important appointment at the
War-Office, and his presence is required in London. I should advise you
to see him, and mention about your stoves. He will forward them to
Balaklava for you.”

“I will do so, my lord. I much regret taking up so much of your valuable

“Do not mention that, Monsieur Soyer. This is business, and to my mind
of great importance.”

“A fresh tribulation!” thought I; “a new purveyor-in-chief, who, in my
absence, may upset everything I have done!” I went immediately to Miss
Nightingale, to inquire whether she had heard of this change. I met Mr.
Bracebridge there, and he told me that he had known it for some time. He
informed me that Miss Nightingale and himself were going to the Crimea,
and proposed that we should all start together. I, of course, was much
pleased at the news, as I knew that Miss Nightingale would be of great
assistance to me in the hospitals in the Crimea. I then promised Mr.
Bracebridge to be ready on the day fixed for our departure. Mr.
Bracebridge said, “Miss Nightingale is engaged at present. Do you wish
to see her?”

“No; I am going to Mr. Milton, to speak about the stoves I mentioned the
other day, and to inquire when the new purveyor-in-chief is coming.”

“Oh, I can tell you that--he will be here to-morrow without fail.”

“That will do nicely. We shall just have time to become acquainted, and
settle everything before my departure to the seat of war.”

I found Mr. Milton preparing for his departure.

“Well, Monsieur Soyer, have you any message for London?” said he, with a
jovial face and a smile.

“It is with great regret that I have just heard of your intended
departure, and the arrival of a new purveyor-in-chief.”

“I assure you that I have had quite enough of Scutari and its bother,
and much prefer the London fog to the bright sun of the East and its
accessory annoyances. The fact is, I was only here _pro tem._, till some
one could be permanently appointed, but I did not expect to be recalled
so early. Yesterday I received my _feuille de route_, as you call it in
French, from the War Office. I hope to have the pleasure of introducing
you to Mr. Robertson, my successor, to-morrow, and the day after I shall
probably be off.”

“I shall start a few days after you, but not exactly in the same

“Where are you going, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Why, are you not aware that Miss Nightingale, Mr. Bracebridge, and
myself are going on Saturday next to the Crimea?”

“Oh, that’s right! Some one was saying you would not go to the camp.”

“What could make them say so? Not fear on my part--for of that I never
dream; besides, our lives are more in danger here in the hospital than
in the open air. The observation I made to the Minister-at-War,
respecting the camp, was this,--that unless I could invent a cooking
apparatus for the army to supersede the tin kettles I had seen at
Chobham, it would be useless to attempt to teach the men to cook. An
officer who happened to be present observed, ‘You’re right. Monsieur
Soyer; they appear very unfit for a heavy company.--I have remarked that
myself.’ By-the-bye, have you seen the French canteens--_marmites_, as
they call them? They are very superior, and much larger than ours,
besides being made of better metal. One soldier is, however, required
to cook for every sixteen men with them, and they present the same
difficulty with respect to open-air cooking.[11] This is especially the
case on a long march--while those stoves, the model of which I had
submitted to the War Office, were quite free from any such

“They will be ordered,” said Mr. Milton, “as soon as they are approved
of by the Crimean authorities.”

“I am glad to hear you say so; but my greatest anxiety now, Mr. Milton,
is to see the new purveyor-in-chief, and have a fair understanding with
him, so that during my absence he may not undo what you and I have so
successfully commenced.”

“You may depend upon it that I shall advise him for the best on that
subject,” said Mr. Milton.

The evening was spent cheerfully at Doctor Macgregor’s. The American
clock upon the doctor’s chimney-piece deceived his guests, if not the
doctor, who was at once good-natured, amiable, and uncommonly fond of
anecdote, and, like a true Scotchman, professed an immense deal of
veneration of, and attachment to, his whisky-toddy. “The day,” he used
to say, “is for manual labour, the evening for comfort and sociality;
but, alas! in my case, night and day are the same--I may be called at
any hour; therefore, the longer you favour me with your company, my
friends, the better I shall like it, you may depend.”

We now perceived that the clock was under the powerful influence of the
doctor’s “treatment;” nevertheless, common sense induced us all to rise
and leave, and after a hearty shaking of hands, and no end of good
wishes, we parted. On arriving at the second door, which opened upon one
of the grand avenues of sick and wounded, we retired in a silent and
mournful procession--except the groans of the sufferers, nothing was
heard but the friction of our boots upon the stone floor, already worn
into a kind of groove between the rows of beds upon which lay the sick
and wounded, caused by the constant passing and repassing of the
doctors, Sisters of Mercy, orderlies, and other officials in attendance
upon the patients.

As we turned the angle of the long corridor to the right, we perceived,
at a great distance, a faint light flying from bed to bed, like a
will-o’-the-wisp flickering in a meadow on a summer’s eve, which at last
rested upon one spot; or as a bee sporting from flower to flower, till
it at length lights upon a delicious floral banquet, which the insect
determines not to leave till it has extracted the last drop of honey
from the devoted pistil.

But, alas! as we approached, we perceived our mistake. A group in the
shape of a _silhouette_ unfolded its outline in light shade. As we came
nearer and nearer, the picture burst upon us. A dying soldier was half
reclining upon his bed. Life, you could observe, was fast bidding him
adieu; Death, that implacable deity, was anxiously waiting for his soul
to convey it to its eternal destination.

But stop! near him was a guardian angel, sitting at the foot of his bed,
and most devotedly engaged pencilling down his last wishes to be
despatched to his homely friends or relations. A watch and a few more
trinkets were consigned to the care of the writer; a lighted lamp was
held by another person, and threw a painful yellowish _coloris_ over
that mournful picture, which a Rembrandt alone could have traced, but
which everybody, as long as the world lasts, would have understood,
felt, and admired. It was then near two o’clock in the morning.


Approaching, I made inquiries of Miss Nightingale as to the complaint of
her patient, when she replied in French, that the poor fellow was given
up by the doctors, and was not likely to get through the night; “so I
have been engaged noting down his last wishes, in order to forward them
to his relatives.”

The next morning, Miss Nightingale, Mr. Bracebridge, and myself had a
long conversation respecting our plan of operations in the coming
campaign. Having settled everything to our satisfaction, I once more
went round the hospitals; and, upon reaching home, I heard that Mr.
Robertson had arrived. He had been represented to me, by some person or
other, as a very old and infirm man, wearing green spectacles. At the
time I heard this, I was in the company of a very illustrious personage,
who was visiting my kitchen, and he also listened to the serjeant giving
this description, and very justly observed, that for such a fatiguing
situation a young man was required. “Now,” he continued, pointing from
the kitchen door to the building, “observe the tremendous distance it is
from one end of the building to the other. A purveyor should go round
once a-day, independent of the business of his office. I tell you
what--I have found out this much myself, that the head, when properly
screwed on, lasts much longer than the legs; and when both are required
at the same time, there is an additional strain.”

While we were discussing this important subject, in walked Mr. Milton,
accompanied by an old gentleman, as described by the serjeant, and a
third person. To my surprise, Mr. Robertson was not the reverend old
man. He happened to be one of Mr. Robertson’s friends, instead of
himself.[12] Instead of being an old man, I found him the very person
wanted--about thirty years of age--full of vigour and intelligence. In
a short time I was perfectly acquainted with his qualifications for the
office to which he had been appointed--requiring, as I said before, so
much bodily exercise. The few days I had to remain at Scutari enabled us
to come to a perfect understanding.

“Monsieur Soyer,” said Mr. Milton, “I now leave you in very good hands.
I have explained everything to Mr. Robertson respecting your department,
and I am certain he will be kind enough to attend to it in your absence.
I am off for England to-morrow; therefore, fare you well; take care of
yourself in the Crimea. I have also spoken to Mr. Robertson about your
stoves; he will forward them to the Crimea as soon as they arrive.”

“I wish you a pleasant journey, Mr. Milton. I hope to have the pleasure
of seeing you in London.”

Mr. Robertson accompanied me round the various stores, and after passing
all in review, and noting what would be required in future, we parted. I
felt fully convinced that my former efforts would not be destroyed, as I
had at first feared. The next day we went to the General and the Palace
Hospitals and Kululee, and made similar arrangements. I now felt almost
free of the hospitals, though my intention was to run down from the
Crimea now and then to have a look at them, as the least mismanagement
would create confusion. I then requested Lord W. Paulet to devote a few
hours, before my departure, to visiting the other hospitals, and he very
kindly fixed upon that afternoon. Mr. Robertson, Lord W. Paulet, the
Hon. Captain Bourke, his lordship’s aide-de-camp, and myself rode over
to the various hospitals, and I pointed out the improvements I had made,
all of which Lord W. Paulet considered very effective and judicious, and
promised that they should be followed up, referring me at the same time
to Mr. Robertson. “That gentleman,” he said, “is now major-domo in the
purveyor’s department.”

I told Lord W. Paulet that Mr. Robertson and myself had already settled
everything, and we rode back to the Barrack Hospital. Lord W. Paulet
very kindly invited me to dine with him, and I much regretted that time
did not allow of my accepting the invitation, as we had to leave the
next morning, and I wished to see Miss Nightingale and Mr. Bracebridge;
but I promised to return and spend a part of the evening with him, which
I did, and very merrily too. I must say that, in all the transactions
connected with my mission to the Crimea, to no gentleman am I more
indebted than to Lord W. Paulet, whose gracious reception, continued
kindness, and the extreme confidence he placed in me, gave me such
extraordinary encouragement that it greatly tended to my success: a
failure might have been the result, had he treated me otherwise. Lord W.
Paulet gave me the promised letters, and signed the following paper:--


_May 1st, 1855_.

     TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL LORD WM. PAULET.--Important regulations to
     insure for the future a good, clean, wholesome, and nutritious
     class of food, and delicate beverages, to be daily produced for the
     comfort of the sick and wounded in all the hospitals of the East,
     as well as for the standing army, which will prove economical both
     in a saving of time, and also a pecuniary sense. Monsieur Soyer
     most respectfully solicits the assistance of Brigadier-General Lord
     Wm. Paulet in granting the following requisites, which Monsieur
     Soyer considers indispensable to carry out the objects of the
     important mission conferred on him by the Government of her
     Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria the First, and of which his
     lordship has already given proofs of his high approval and
     satisfaction, as well as his assistance in facilitating the
     introduction of a completely new system of diet, which has met with
     the approval of Doctor Cumming, the chief medical officer, and
     every medical gentleman connected with his staff in the various
     English hospitals at Constantinople.

     First requisite.--That for every important hospital, a professed
     man-cook shall be engaged, with a civilian assistant, instead of
     military, as is now the case, and the principal to be under
     military rules and regulations.

     Second.--That all military men now engaged cooking in the hospitals
     and barrack kitchens shall be immediately instructed in the art of
     camp-cooking. As they are already acquainted with the plain mode of
     cooking, it will only require a few lessons from Monsieur Soyer,
     under his new and simple style, to become thoroughly conversant
     with this branch of culinary operations, highly essential at the
     present crisis, and about which the Right Honourable Lord Panmure,
     her Majesty’s Minister-at-War, expressed the greatest anxiety
     personally to Monsieur Soyer, on his mission to Scutari, with a
     view to disseminating the system throughout the army. Monsieur
     Soyer feels assured that if present in the camp for a few weeks he
     will be enabled to carry out this important object, at the same
     time introducing wholesome and nutritious food made out of the
     usual allowances of provisions supplied to the army, so soon as his
     field or bivouac stove shall be adopted by the Crimean authorities.


Approved. W. PAULET, B.-General, Commanding Troops.

_Scutari, May 1st, 1855._

I then returned my thanks and bade his lordship adieu. Thus terminated
my Scutari duties, which were afterwards carried on to my entire
satisfaction under the direction of Mr. Robertson, and supported by Lord
W. Paulet; later by General Storks, now Sir Henry, who succeeded his

Shortly after the opening of my kitchen, I received a visit from General
Vivian and his aide-de-camp, Captain Ramsey. During his visit, Miss
Nightingale entered the kitchen. I then introduced the General to her,
and we had a very animated and interesting conversation relating to
hospital treatment, &c. The General expressed his high gratification at
being introduced to Miss Nightingale, and I then had the honour of
showing him through the hospital, not omitting the other kitchens, where
the cooking was still carried on upon the old system, as I had not had,
in that short space of time, an opportunity to remedy it. The General
and Captain Ramsey expressed their high approval and satisfaction of the
great improvement I had already made in the culinary department of that
monster establishment. I may, perhaps, be pardoned for being vain enough
to quote the gallant General’s remark prior to his leaving my kitchen,
which remark encouraged me so much in the prosecution of my labours. It
was thus:--

“Monsieur Soyer, Miss Nightingale’s name and your own will be for ever
associated in the archives of this memorable war.”



     Departure--Bosphorus gulls--The Sultan afloat--The _Robert
     Lowe_--Splendid scene--Godfrey Tower--Sweet Waters of
     Asia--Therapia--Buyukderé--The Giant’s Mountain--The Euxine--Naval
     cookery--Miss Nightingale and the sick soldier--Divine service at
     sea--Conversation with Miss Nightingale--Plans for the
     future--Dinner on board the _Robert Lowe_--A travelling
     gentleman--P. M. and the looking-glass, an anecdote--A mutiny--The
     prison--View of the Russian coast--Bay of Balaklava--The
     harbour--Cossack Bay--P. M.’s horror--At anchor--Moored for the

The 2nd of May was the day on which we set sail for the Crimea. It was
indeed a lovely day--the air was redolent with perfume and freshness;
not a ripple seemed to ruffle the surface of the mighty Bosphorus, whose
ever-foaming current appeared to have buried itself deep in the bed of
that turbulent stream. A few caiques were seen here and there swiftly
gliding over its calm surface, occasionally disturbed by the dipping of
the sea-gulls. The Bosphorus gulls have a peculiar chalky colour,
differing from that of the ocean bird, which circumstance, no doubt,
caused Lord Byron, in his beautiful poem, to call them the ghosts of the
Houris, launched to eternity in the depths of that solemn flood of
romance, poetical love, and tragic reminiscence. While skimming its
surface they darted now and then with the rapidity of lightning down
upon a rash little denizen of the deep who had ventured too near the
surface of the limpid element to bask in the warmth of the generous rays
of that friend of the whole world, the sun. All was peace, love, and
repose. A vaporous golden tint seemed to envelope the world-famed city
of Constantinople--its mosques, forests of minarets, Golden Horn, and
European and Asiatic shores, with the Oriental atmosphere so peculiar
to the Bosphorus. Nature seemed to be in its most sublime humour;
heaven, earth, and ocean had that day agreed to be in love with

On a sudden, the report of cannon is heard, and the roar of this fatal
messenger of war is echoed and re-echoed from every part of the city.
Caiques of large dimensions, gorgeously decorated with gilding and rich
silken hangings, manned by numerous oarsmen, leave the marble staircase
of the Dolma Bachi Palace. Numbers of smaller caiques follow in the wake
of this nautical procession, which directs its course towards the Moslem
city of Stamboul. As the flotilla passed close to us, we perceived that
it contained the Sultan and his suite, proceeding to the Mosque of
Sultan Mahomet--it being Friday, and the Turkish Sunday. His Sublime
Majesty is always saluted with about fifty guns at his departure, and
the same number on his return from that ceremony.

This startling shock awoke me from a kind of lethargy, and made me
recollect that I had embarked in a caique at Tophané, and that I was
then afloat. Of a sudden we were hailed several times from a large ship
close at hand, with the words “Chabouk! Chabouk! Balabak!” which means,
“make haste, boatman.” At the same time, the hissing of a steamer, just
getting under way, was heard. In a trice we were alongside, and a minute
after I was upon the deck of the _Robert Lowe_. A few words of
remonstrance were addressed to me by the captain. “Indeed, Monsieur
Soyer, we were going without you! You are full half an hour behind time.
Mr. Bracebridge and Miss Nightingale have inquired several times after

“Well, captain, I assure you they told me at Major Macdonald’s office,
that you would not start till noon.”

“That was our intention; but having shipped all the troops, I wished to
leave earlier, as we must make our time for entering the harbour of
Balaklava, which is now so full that if we were to miss our turn, we
might be kept outside for a day or two, and that would not be at all
pleasant, especially if we happen to have rough weather. Here is Mr.
Bracebridge; he is, no doubt, looking for you.”

The screw was by this time propelling us slowly out of the Golden Horn.

“Good morning, Monsieur Soyer; have you all your people on board?” said
Mr. Bracebridge.

“Yes, I have.”

“I have only seen your secretary.”

“Oh, I am sure they are here; I sent them on board this morning before
nine o’clock, previous to going to Pera. Pray how is Miss Nightingale?”

“She will be on deck directly. By-the-bye, is Mademoiselle a good

“Tolerably good; with this weather no one need fear being ill at sea,”
said I, “though I hear the Black Sea is so very changeable, and that a
tremendous hurricane often comes up suddenly even in the middle of
summer. At all events, we have a good start.”

We were then passing between lower Scutari and the Sultan’s palace, and
facing us was the Sound of the Bosphorus, presenting a most delightful
view of the European and the Asiatic shores. When I observed to Mr.
Bracebridge that it was a pity Miss Nightingale was not on deck, he
answered, “You’re right; I will go and fetch her.”

A few minutes afterwards that lady made her appearance.

“What a delightful day! and did you ever see a finer panorama?”

“Never, Monsieur Soyer.”

“What a glorious mine of subjects for a Claude Lorraine, mademoiselle!
It is much to be regretted that he never visited these Moslem shores.”

The vessel was now going at full speed.

“We are near Kululee,” said Mr. Bracebridge.

“Yes, we are,” said I; “and there is our friend the Bey on the palace
steps. Look at him, Miss; he is in his grand costume. I wonder what is
going on there to-day?”

“To-day,” replied Mr. Bracebridge, “is Friday, the Turkish Sunday. Did
you not hear the cannon just now, when the Sultan went to the Mosque?”

“Oh, yes, I not only heard it, but also saw the procession, and very
nearly lost the boat.”

“I was told you were rather behind.”

“So much so, that you were upon the move.”

Miss Nightingale observed that although the Kululee hospitals were so
well situated, it was reported by medical men that they were very
unhealthy, more especially the lower one.

“So I hear, Mademoiselle; but my opinion is, that it is owing to
defective drainage. They were making fresh ventilators in the wards of
the lower one yesterday, which will be a very great improvement. Miss
Stanley is gone?”

“Yes,” said Miss Nightingale; “she has been very unwell for some time.”

We then passed before the Godfrey Tower, proudly standing on its rocky
shore, at the base of which myriads of tombstones stagger about in
pompous disorder, under the shady wings of multitudes of dark
cypress-trees, the solemn guardians of this land of repose. Then we came
to the Sweet Waters of Asia, where thousands of Turks and Turkish ladies
resort on their days of festival. We next passed Therapia, where all the
foreign ambassadors reside in summer; and I exchanged a few words with
Miss Nightingale respecting the Naval Hospital there. Buyukderé, the
Brighton of Constantinople, came next; and the large marble palace on
our right, built, but never finished, by Ibrahim Pacha, and that of the
Sultan Valide, the Giant’s Mountain. Ten minutes after, we entered the
Euxine or Black Sea, full sail, with a fair wind and fine weather.

The Oriental coast had partly disappeared, and every one was anxious to
inspect his fellow-passengers, and find out whether he had any friends
on board. The vessel was crammed with military men and Government
officials, besides about six hundred troops. Having the pleasure of
knowing many of the officers, a general conversation relating to the war
soon commenced. Miss Nightingale had retired, with, several of her
Sisters, to their apartment, and very few persons were aware of the fact
of her being on board, and they were all very anxious to see her; but
evening came on, and we were not again favoured with her presence that
day. The next day being Sunday, Miss Nightingale and myself, accompanied
by the captain, went round the lower deck to visit the soldiers, who
were busily employed making their pudding. Having questioned them upon
their method of cooking, and visited the cook-house, I at once perceived
what facilities were offered to me for making an immense amelioration in
the present system of naval cookery, especially in the method of cooking
salt meat, &c. (See naval recipes in Addenda.) I took the opportunity of
giving them a few hints. Miss Nightingale heard that there were some
invalids on board, and she asked to see them. One poor fellow, who had
been suffering from an attack of fever since our departure, refused to
take his medicine. Miss Nightingale asked the reason of his objection.
He replied, “Because I took some once, and it made me sick; and I
haven’t liked physic ever since.”

We could not help laughing at his simple remark. Miss Nightingale said,
“But if I give it you myself, you will take it, wont you?”

The soldier, looking very hard at her, replied, “Well, sure enough,
ma’am, it will make me sick just the same.” For all that he took the
medicine, and seemed to feel very grateful. None but an eye-witness or a
disinterested observer can judge of the effect produced by a female’s
attention to the sick soldier. Far from home, he seems to hear the voice
of her who nursed him in childhood--a mother or sister. He will listen
to and receive advice, finding sudden relief from the cheering accents
of a woman’s lips, while he would scarcely take the slightest notice of
the kindest orderly’s attentions. The man was not aware that it was Miss
Nightingale. A woman’s friendly voice had spoken to his heart, and he
felt more composed.

The sun darted his rays almost perpendicularly upon the deck of the
beautiful ship, the _Robert Lowe_, which glided rather than floated
over that inconstant ocean--the whimsical Mother Black Sea, called in
French “La Mère Noire,” who safely bore her children upon her tranquil
bosom in the morning, and at night rocked the cradle with such furious
love, that she changed the smile of comfort to sickness and tears in the
evening. The sails were furled, and the awning was now stretched
amidships. About twelve o’clock all the soldiers, under command of Major
Campbell, about six hundred in number, met upon deck; and divine service
was read by the Major himself. Miss Nightingale, Mr. Bracebridge,
myself, and all the officers on board, were present. Nothing recurs more
vividly to my recollection than the impression made upon my mind by that
religious ceremony, performed so solemnly, between heaven and the ocean.
It appeared as though all were impressed with the sacred mission they
were called upon to fulfil, and that every brave fellow present was
saying his last prayer, and preparing himself in case of emergency,
should it be his fate to succumb on the field of battle in the defence
of his country, to appear with a free and pure conscience before his
Creator, in whose hands alone are the issues of life and death. Many of
those poor fellows afterwards paid that tribute to their country. Such
are the chances of war. This ceremony, though not performed by a
clergyman, had such an effect upon my mind, that I shall never forget

The remainder of the afternoon was passed on deck, and as it was a day
of rest and delightful weather, we were favoured with the company of the
ladies, including that of Miss Nightingale.

Although I had frequently conversed with Miss Nightingale upon business
transactions, this was the first and best opportunity I had of
appreciating her amiable character and interesting powers of
conversation. For more than an hour I talked with her, upon the deck of
the good ship _Robert Lowe_. The subject was her duty, not of what she
had already done, but of what she was about to do. She gave me good
advice as to the best way for me to proceed in my new undertaking.
“Monsieur Soyer,” she said, “you will find everything very different in
the Crimea to what it was at Scutari, though you had there a great many
difficulties, the distance from supplies being so much greater.” We then
arranged that as soon as we were a little organized, our first visit
should be to the General Hospital and the Sanatorium, next to the
General Camp Hospital before Balaklava. The first thing Miss Nightingale
did after our arrival was to write to the commander-in-chief, Lord
Raglan, announcing it. I remarked that I had an official letter to his
lordship from the War Department.

“I am aware of that, Monsieur Soyer, and that you and Mr. Bracebridge
should go to head-quarters together the day we arrive; but it is
important his lordship should be immediately acquainted by letter of our

“Well, Mademoiselle,” said I, “you have been in the military service
longer than I have, and I am not surprised at your being better
acquainted with the rules of war than myself.” Miss Nightingale smiled
kindly at the remark.

Having had the honour and the opportunity of seeing Miss Nightingale
almost daily for above a year, my readers will no doubt be pleased, and
feel interested, by my giving a short description of this estimable
lady, whose fame in this war has been almost universal.

She is rather high in stature, fair in complexion, and slim in person;
her hair is brown, and is worn quite plain; her physiognomy is most
pleasing; her eyes, of a bluish tint, speak volumes, and are always
sparkling with intelligence; her mouth is small and well formed, while
her lips act in unison, and make known the impression of her heart--one
seems the reflex of the other. Her visage, as regards expression, is
very remarkable, and one can almost anticipate by her countenance what
she is about to say: alternately, with matters of the most grave import,
a gentle smile passes radiantly over her countenance, thus proving her
evenness of temper; at other times, when wit or a pleasantry prevails,
the heroine is lost in the happy, good-natured smile which pervades her
face, and you recognise only the charming woman. Her dress is generally
of a greyish or black tint; she wears a simple white cap, and often a
rough apron. In a word, her whole appearance is religiously simple and
unsophisticated. In conversation no member of the fair sex can be more
amiable and gentle than Miss Nightingale. Removed from her arduous and
cavalier-like duties, which require the nerve of a Hercules,--and she
possesses it when required,--she is Rachel on the stage in both tragedy
and comedy.

During the voyage Miss Nightingale conversed with the captain, Major
Campbell, and one or two more gentlemen on board. Dinner-time
arrived--four bells apprized us of the fact--the deck was soon cleared,
and the table surrounded. The _pièces de résistance_ were attacked on
all sides. The last decent piece of roast beef we were to see or partake
of for some time was that day before us. Miss Nightingale and the
Sisters of Mercy dined in their cabin. The conversation was so very
lively, that one might have fancied that we were going on a pleasure
excursion instead of the solemn pilgrimage from whence so many were
never to return. All bore testimony to the good fare provided by the
captain, and exquisite pale sherry flowed in the glasses, in honour
first of her Majesty, then Miss Nightingale, next the ladies, and last,
not least, the army and navy. Some good old port, with a fine crust,
properly decanted without shaking, was then introduced, with the
inseparable and justly-famed Stilton cheese and fresh plain salad.

This sudden change of countenance in the happy homely groups, who only a
few minutes before were as grave as grave--in fact, morally and properly
grave, exchanging peaceably word for word while upon deck, cannot be
attributed to the walk down, nor to the temperature of the room, or even
the charming architectural paintings upon glass which adorned the chief
cabin of the _Robert Lowe_, nor the laying out of the table, “which was
perfect.” No, not at all. It was the dinner--yes, the dinner!--which
made me heartily second the opinion of my illustrious compatriot,
Brillat Savarin, when he justly remarks in one of his immortal
aphorisms, that if there is one hour spent more pleasantly than another
in the course of the day, that one is the first hour at the dinner
table. Though he intends his remark for epicures, it can easily be
applied to all classes of society, according to the difference of time
each man can afford from his occupations or peculiar habits. But out of
this reunion of hilarity I will here give an anecdote which will
probably amuse, if not interest, the reader.


On the eve of my departure from Scutari I fell in with a travelling
gentleman named Peter Morrison, a personage of no small importance in
his own estimation, who was very desirous of accompanying me through my
Crimean campaign, and of making himself useful to me should his services
be required. Remuneration was to him a secondary consideration.
According to himself, “moving accidents by flood and field, and peril in
the imminent deadly breach,” excited his martial ardour, and these had
no terrors for him--while he was far removed from their sphere of
action. He afterwards gave us to understand that he was courting a
wealthy lady, who, being decidedly of opinion that

    None but the brave deserve the fair,

had declared that none should wed her who had not both “fought and bled
for his country.” P. M., as I shall designate this redoubtable hero,
needed some such stimulus to risk his life in his country’s cause, as
the sequel will show; for he preferred, with due regard to his
complexion, albeit none of the fairest, the shelter of the _bays_ used
in my kitchen, to any laurels he might reap on the field of Mars, as,
when in front of the enemy, his courage, like that of Bob Acres, “oozed
out at his fingers’ ends.” But to our anecdote.

During a gale a few weeks before we went on board, a looking-glass had
been broken in the cabin, the steward, as the ship made a heavy lurch,
having sent his head through it while carrying a dish to the table.
Probably the glass was not set flat in the frame, as his head had made
a perfect star of a hundred jets. The circular hole looked just as if a
shot had passed through it. Three small boards were fixed across to keep
it together.

Whilst at dinner, P. M., who was sitting next me, inquired how the glass
had been broken.

“Upon my word,” said I, “I do not know; but one of the mates says it was
done by a round shot.” (_This the mate had said in joke._) The captain,
who was very jocular, perceiving P. M. was rather uneasy at the
information, merely replied, “Ah, and I had a very narrow escape on the
occasion. I was sitting at the head of the table at the time, nearly
opposite the spot.”

P. M. exclaimed, in great trepidation, “What do you say, captain?--it
was a cannon-ball which broke the glass?”

“I did not say so,” replied the captain, “but such, unfortunately, is
the case.”

“Well,” said P. M., “I do not like the job I have undertaken. You don’t
mean to say our lives will be endangered at Balaklava?”

“Oh dear, no; not in the least, except they fire upon us.”

“I tell you what it is, I shall not stand it; for I bargained for
nothing of the kind.”

“At any rate,” said I, looking at the captain, who was laughing in his
sleeve, “if you are killed by a shot or shell, or die by illness, all
your former bargains will be of no avail, and off you must go.”

“Had I been aware of that, I certainly should never have left Scutari.”

The next morning we heard that some of the men having raised a kind of
mutiny or fight on board, had been imprisoned. Being anxious to see a
prison on board a ship, I proceeded with Major Campbell to visit them.
The prison was upon deck, in the open air, and instead of being in
chains, the prisoners were made fast with ropes to the deck. Two of them
seemed in great trouble, having entirely lost their senses the night
before. They were trying to recollect and inform the commander how the
quarrel began, when another, who imagined he had completely recovered,
stated the fact thus: “General, if you will allow me, I will tell you
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and instead of
kissing the good book, which I have not got by me, but which I had when
I paid my last visit to his Majesty the Lord Mayor of London, let me
kiss your glove instead.”

“We want no nonsense here; so look sharp, and tell us what it was all

“Yes, Colonel, I will, as far as I know. You see, Jarvis, who is a
relation of Martin’s wife, called her ugly names, and said she wasn’t
proper. Upon that we fought--Joe fought--I fought--till we couldn’t
fight any longer, and being dark we found it very troublesome, as we
didn’t know whom we might be hitting. I do not know who said she wasn’t
proper--I don’t know the wench--she might be proper, after all, for what
I know--that’s all.”

“Corporal,” said the Major, “don’t let those men land till I see you.”

By this time the Russian coast was in view. Breakfast was just over, and
everybody was on deck--the weather being beautiful. Miss Nightingale,
Mr. Bracebridge, and myself, with telescopes, were looking at the
convent and the monastery, still inhabited by Russian monks. The first
reports of the cannon of Sebastopol were here faintly heard--the wind
being favourable, as the captain informed us. On the right hand, on a
lofty high peaked mountain, the Russian picket was plainly seen mounting
guard. An hour after we were in the Bay of Balaklava, in view of the
Genoese Tower, planted on a high rock, at the elevation of about two
hundred feet above the level of the sea, at the spur of a range of
mountains extending along the shore. A few topmasts are all that can be
seen on entering the gorge; and no one can imagine, though so near, that
such a harbour is in existence as the one we were approaching. The
signal having been given by hoisting the flag on the top of the Genoese
Tower, we entered the far-famed, and now universally known, grand,
though small, Harbour of Balaklava, the entrance to which seems
impracticable. We then slowly threaded our way through that forest of
masts and huge vessels piled and packed so close together in the little
harbour. The principal vessels at that time lying there were.,--the
_Himalaya_, _Jura_, _Ætna_, _Leander_, _Star of the South_, _London_,
_Baraguay d’Hilliers_, &c. It is impossible to describe the animation of
the scene better than by comparing it to the emigration of a large
colony of ants from their habitation to a new quarter. Many people were
aware that Miss Nightingale was coming that day in the _Robert Lowe_,
and the decks of all the large vessels at anchor were crowded with
curious spectators, in expectation of seeing that lady, of whose
devotion to the sick and wounded they had heard so much.


We had no sooner entered the harbour than, to P. M.’s horror, he saw
painted on the rock in large letters--“Cossack Bay.” At this moment,
five or six ill-looking Bashi Bazouks, and as many Turks, with their
large turbans, yathagans, kresses, daggers, firelocks, &c., were
descending the mountain to the rock upon which the fatal name was
written, and immediately caused P. M. to inquire if they were enemies. I
replied that I thought they were, being upon Cossack Bay.

“I say, Monsieur Soyer,” said P. M., “this is beyond a joke; for if
those ugly fellows choose to fire upon us, they can do so as easy as

“No doubt they can,” said I.

“I shall not give them a chance,” cried P. M., and off he bolted.

The _Robert Lowe_ had anchored, and was moored in her new berth on the
right-hand side of the harbour, nearly opposite the commandant’s house.
Although the operation of getting in had taken nearly two hours, so
interesting was the sight that no one had thought of making preparations
to leave the vessel, which is generally the first thing thought of. Miss
Nightingale pointed out to me the hospital called the “Sanatorium,”
situated on the top of the hill, near the Genoese heights and
fortifications. Turning round, she next pointed to a row of white
buildings, which constituted the General Hospital, which she said she
should like to visit that day if time allowed. Mr. Bracebridge came and
informed us that the captain would be happy for us to stay on board as
long as he remained in harbour, which might be a few days--or till we
found a ship to suit us. As it was impossible to procure either a house,
hut, or even a tent, in Balaklava, we of course accepted the offer. The
day was drawing to a close, and, as we were rather fatigued, we
postponed our visit to the hospital till the next morning.



     Visitors to Miss Nightingale--The floating drawing-room--Terrible
     cannonade--A sortie--Second series of visitors--Young Thomas, the
     drummer-boy--His devotion to Miss Nightingale--Balaklava
     mud--General Hospital--The Sanatorium--Rugged ascent--Extensive
     view--Dr. Henderson--Storm of the 14th of November described by an
     eye-witness--Tour round the hospital--An officer patient--Return to
     the _Robert Lowe_--Off to the camp--A party of equestrians--A
     perfect Babel--Small hospital at Kadikoi--Splendid array of
     camps--A regimental hospital--Lord Raglan’s house--Colonel
     Steele--General Hospital before Sebastopol--“The good lady of
     Scutari”--An ovation--A peep at Sebastopol--The Three-mortar
     Battery--P. M. dodging a shell--A striking scene--Losing the
     way--The Zouaves--Various adventures--A casualty--Once more on

No sooner was it known that Miss Nightingale had arrived, than hosts of
visitors poured in from all directions, amongst whom were Commissary
Filder, Mr. Henderson, Chief Doctor at the Balaklava Hospital, the
Clergyman, Doctor Sutherland, Mr. Anderson, &c., &c., which caused her
to hold a kind of floating drawing-room. Mr. Bracebridge was also busily
engaged, so I did not see him again till dinner-time. I despatched the
four soldier cooks I had instructed and brought with me to the
Sanatorium, as the troops were landing, and they were required on shore.
Having settled my future plan of operations with my secretary, and
closed our post for the next day, I was quite at liberty to accompany
Miss Nightingale in the morning on her visit to the various hospitals,
as we had previously decided.

The same evening, about nine, a terrible cannonade was heard from the
besieged city, which produced more effect upon us than upon the
initiated. The report of the fusillade was also plainly heard. This
proved to be a sortie, which it appeared often happened, and produced
no effect upon the inhabitants. Such, however, was not the case with P.
M., though I tried to persuade him that there was no danger, “except,”
said I, “in case the enemy should prove victorious, and retake
Balaklava, which might happen through some _ruse de guerre_ unknown to
the allied army.” “Well,” said P. M., “but I did not bargain for that,
and I assure you I very much regret having come at all. Oh, give me
London and Red Lion Square before any of your seats of war, for I see no
fun in glory.”

“Now we are in for it,” I said, “we must go bravely through it. Screw
your courage to the sticking point, and Wigham Ward for ever!”

The next morning, at seven, everybody was up and busily engaged, when
Mr. Bracebridge came and told me that Miss Nightingale had been up,
writing since daybreak, and would be ready immediately after breakfast.
About eight o’clock, in poured a second series of visitors. Among the
earliest arrivals were Sir J. Macneil and Captain Tulloch; the former
gentleman I had the pleasure of knowing at the Reform Club a few years
back. We then had a short conversation touching the soldiers’ food, and
cooking in general. Colonel Harding, Admiral Boxer, Commissary Filder,
&c., came next. Miss Nightingale had given notice that she must be at
the hospital by half-past ten, and was then upon deck ready to start. I
took the opportunity of impressing upon her the necessity of leaving the
ship at once, or the day would pass without our doing anything. We
embarked in a small boat and went on shore, followed by young Thomas,
the drummer-boy, whom I must introduce to my readers as a little wonder;
and, although he had not taken time to grow to manhood, he did not like
to be called a boy. Although but twelve years old, he always called
himself Miss Nightingale’s and Mr. Bracebridge’s man. He was a regular
_enfant de troupe_, full of activity, wit, intelligence, and glee. He
had quitted his instruments and sticks, as he called them, to devote his
civil and military career to Miss Nightingale, that lady having claimed
his services. To her he was as devoted as an aide-de-camp to his
general. Before the enemy could have approached his adored mistress, the
drummer boy, would have been cut to pieces. This he told me himself at a
later period, when a report was in circulation that the Russians were
likely to attack Balaklava by the Kamara side. Miss Nightingale’s hut
being the nearest that way on the Genoese heights, would certainly have
been attacked first.

Though the weather was fine overhead, there was about ten inches of mud
in the unpaved and uneven streets of Balaklava, which caused us to be
half-an-hour going a distance that might, under ordinary circumstances,
have been accomplished in ten minutes. On our arrival at the General
Hospital, we were received by Miss Wear, the matron of the hospital,
“under Miss Nightingale.” Miss Nightingale requested me to try and find
Doctor Henderson, who unluckily, as we thought through a mistake, was
waiting for us at the Sanatorium on the Genoese heights. In his absence,
Miss Wear and the medical superintendent showed us over the wards, which
were crammed full of sick and wounded. We then visited the general
kitchen, which, though rather short of cooking utensils and
accommodation, was kept tolerably clean. A civilian cook was engaged
making rather good soup, but it had boiled too fast. At all events, it
was a satisfaction to me to find some one willing to improve, as he
observed. Promising to send him my receipts and have his kitchen
comfortably arranged, and to supply him with a few tin utensils, we left

We next went to the extra-diet kitchen, which was anything but a
comfortable one, though Mrs. Davis, who made the extra diets, managed
pretty well, by dint of perseverance and a deal of trouble. She was
compelled to use preserved soups, which are not wholesome for delicate
or weak stomachs, and are, moreover, generally served up too strong, as
scarcely any one who uses them will take the trouble to read the
instructions pasted upon each case, and add the proper quantity of water
required. These are at all times better adapted for persons in health
than for the sick, always excepting the essence of beef (see Hospital
Diets), which, when properly seasoned according to my receipt, is really
very good. I made a list of what apparatus and kitchen utensils were
required, and then we left Miss Davis, much pleased with Miss
Nightingale’s kind remarks, my approbation of her services, and, above
all, very proud of having, two days before, been visited and highly
complimented by Lady Stratford de Redcliffe and the other ladies. Lord
Stratford and family had passed us at sea the day before, on their
return to Constantinople, on board the _Caradoc_; a circumstance I much
regretted, as I had anticipated the pleasure of accompanying Lord and
Lady de Redcliffe to the various camp and hospital kitchens. We then
left the General Hospital, and ascended to the Sanatorium by a narrow
and almost perpendicular road cut out of the rock; in consequence of the
ups and downs, it took us full three-quarters of an hour to accomplish
the distance, and very uncomfortably too, the roads being so dirty. The
view during the ascent is transcendently beautiful and refreshing--the
sight of the harbour beneath filled with ships, the chain of rocky
mountains, distant view of the Guards’ camp, the village of Kadikoi, its
Greek church, the Zouave camp, and the traffic of thousands below,
busily running to and fro, formed a naval and military tableau which
well repaid us for our trouble. On reaching the verge of the hill facing
the grand tower, which proudly bore the British flagstaff, Miss
Nightingale and myself made an involuntary halt to admire this splendid

“Did you ever see anything more picturesque than this, Mademoiselle? And
were it not for the everlasting report of the cannon, could you not
believe you were in the Land of Promise, redolent with the green bloom
of nature, which almost covers those rocky mountains? Turn your eyes on
that side towards the busy harbour--can you not imagine you are looking
at Landseer’s celebrated pictures on one side of Peace and the other
side of War?”

Miss Nightingale replied, “I had heard Balaklava was a very pretty
place, but I did not expect to find anything so beautiful.”

“I believe, Mademoiselle, that gentleman coming down from the Sanatorium
is Dr. Henderson? I recollect having seen him inquiring after you last

“So it is, Monsieur Soyer; I suppose he has waited so long for us, that
he is coming back to the General Hospital.”

“Thomas,” said I to the boy, “run and tell that gentleman Miss
Nightingale is coming, or he may take another road, and miss us.” A few
minutes after, we met the doctor, who very much regretted not having met
us at the General Hospital, according to promise. Several important
cases sent from the trenches (among which was the amputation of an arm)
had delayed him.

“I suppose, doctor, you use chloroform in all cases of amputation?”

“Yes, we do, Monsieur Soyer, and with very great success, not having
lost a single patient since its application.”

By this time we had arrived at the hospital, which is composed of
immense rows of huts, erected on the crest of the lofty mountain facing
the sea, commanding a beautiful view of the bay. Miss Nightingale
observed that no doubt the site was a healthy one, but that it would be
very hot in summer and equally cold in winter.

“Well,” said the doctor, “we thought of that ourselves; but really
Balaklava is so mountainous, that for the life of us, we could not pitch
upon any other spot. However, the least breeze from the sea will be felt
in summer, and in winter we must contrive to screen it somehow. Should
we have another storm like that of the 14th of last November, we should
be blown away.”

One of the men, hearing the storm mentioned, told me that he had
witnessed it from beginning to end. I then asked him a few particulars,
and he related the circumstance as follows, while Dr. Henderson and Miss
Nightingale were walking among the ruins, talking over business matters.

“Would you believe it, sir--the furious waves seemed to fly right over
the tower, and the shipping in the bay was almost invisible for a long
time. In fact, we thought that all the vessels were lost; from the mass
of water blown into the air, we took it to be the level of the sea or
the beginning of a second deluge.” Pointing with his hand towards the
bay, “That is the spot where the _Prince_ was lost, and further on you
see the place where the _Retribution_ was at anchor, with the Duke of
Cambridge on board. The storm lasted above ten hours. We were quite wet
in the tower, and could not get out. Had we done so, we should probably
have been blown down the hill or into the sea. In the ravine above sixty
large poplar trees were torn up by the roots by one gust of wind.”

“How was it, in the first place, that you came to be there?”

“Why, you see, sir, we were stationed there to manage the signals for
ships to enter the harbour, and I happened to be on duty at the time.”

“It must have been a fearful sight,” said I.

“Sight, sir!--there was nothing to be seen for many hours; and it was
only towards night that it cleared up a little, and then we could see
the masts of the shipping in the harbour, rolling about like a forest
under the influence of the shock of an earthquake. The next day, I was
put on fatigue duty, to bury the corpses washed on shore from the wreck
of the _Prince_, and a dreadful job it was, I assure you, sir.”

“Where were they buried?”

“Over the way, on the edge of Leander Bay. You may see the spot from
this,” pointing it out. “There are above twenty there, to my knowledge;
but some were never found.” Thanking him for his information, I invited
him to come and see me when my kitchens were open, and get a basin of
good soup whenever he pleased. I then rejoined the doctor and Miss
Nightingale, who were returning to the hospital.

We visited the various wards, each of which contained about thirty
patients. Miss Nightingale had a kind word for all, and many a
conversation with those who had been severely wounded. Having seen five
or six of the wards, I begged Miss Nightingale to excuse my accompanying
her through the others; as I wished, in order to lose no time, to go and
visit the kitchens, and set my men to work, which plan she much approved
of, saying that when she had seen the hospitals, she should like to
visit the kitchens also. As I was going out, I met Mr. Bracebridge on
horseback, coming to meet us. We went to the kitchens, which we found
were built of mud, exposed to the open air, unroofed, and burning much
fuel. I immediately fixed upon a spot to build a kitchen, and sketched a
plan, which I submitted to the doctor and Miss Nightingale, who had then
joined us. We also visited those mud mounts called cook-houses, looked
over the provision stores, and departed. Miss Nightingale, Dr.
Henderson, and myself, returned together by the same road, Miss
Nightingale intending to visit an officer patient who was at the
doctor’s house. Mr. Bracebridge being on horseback, was compelled to
take another road. On reaching the doctor’s house, Miss Nightingale was
introduced to the patient, who was suffering from a very severe attack
of typhus fever. I stayed in the front room, making my sketch for the
new hospital kitchens. At length Miss Nightingale retired, after giving
words of consolation to the patient, and promising the doctor to send a
nurse who would set him to rights.

As we were returning to the vessel, I could not help remarking that Miss
Nightingale seemed much fatigued; upon which she replied, “I do feel
rather tired, those roads are so bad.” I inquired about the patient she
had visited.

“The poor young man,” said she, “is very ill. I very much fear for his
life.” She then stated what a bad attack of fever it was. Upon this, I
remarked, that it was very imprudent of her to remain so long near him.

“Oh, Monsieur Soyer, I am used to that.”

“Very true, Mademoiselle, but then it is in large airy wards, and not in
small rooms, like the one you have just left.”

“I must say that I have been very fortunate through my Scutari
campaign, and I hope to be as fortunate in the Crimea.”

“I hope so too, but would recommend you to be careful of your health, as
I am sure the army cannot spare you.”

By this time we were near the _Robert Lowe_--a boat was ready to take us
on board, and Mr. Bracebridge was anxiously waiting our arrival, to
inform Miss Nightingale that Lord Raglan had been on board, and also to
the General Hospital, in order to see her, and was very much
disappointed at not having had that pleasure. It was arranged that we
should visit the camp next day, and that I should go and deliver my
official letter, and present my humble duty to Lord Raglan. Miss
Nightingale decided upon taking that opportunity of returning his
lordship’s visit. Doctor Sutherland and Mr. Anderson, of the Sanitary
Commission, who happened to be on board, arranged about the horses, and
the time of our departure the next morning.

At nine, we were all on shore and mounted. There were about eight of us
ready to escort our heroine to the seat of war. Miss Nightingale was
attired simply in a genteel amazone, or riding-habit, and had quite a
martial air. She was mounted upon a very pretty mare, of a golden
colour, which, by its gambols and caracoling, seemed proud to carry its
noble charge. The weather was very fine. Our cavalcade produced an
extraordinary effect upon the motley crowd of all nations assembled at
Balaklava, who were astonished at seeing a lady so well escorted. It was
not so, however, with those who knew who the lady was.

On the road to head-quarters, we met several officers whom I had the
pleasure of knowing in England. All made inquiries respecting the lady
in our party. As I knew that Miss Nightingale wished to preserve her
incognito as much as possible, and especially in the camp, I referred
them to Mr. Bracebridge. At that time the number of the fair sex in the
Crimea numbered four, always excepting the Sisters of Mercy, who were
never seen out.

It took us about half-an-hour to go from the Col of Balaklava to Kadikoi
(about a mile distant), having to fight our way through a dense crowd
of Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Maltese, &c.--hundreds of mules, horses,
donkeys, artillery waggons, cannon, shot and shell, oxen and horses
kicking each other, waggons upset in deep mud-holes, infantry and
cavalry passing and repassing. The road was execrable, and not nearly
wide enough for the immense amount of traffic. Amidst this Babel of
tongues and deafening noise, we were obliged to speak at the top of our
voices in order to make ourselves heard. Our horses, by way of enjoying
the fun, kept prancing and kicking in all directions, particularly our
fair lady’s palfrey, which could not be kept quiet. Many females would
have felt very nervous in such a position; but Miss Nightingale appeared
to rise above such weakness, and even, on the contrary, to take
considerable interest in this her first introduction to the turmoils of
war. We at length emerged from the crowd, without having sustained much
damage. One of our cavaliers had part of his mackintosh carried away by
a log of wood that projected from the back of a mule, and P. M. lost a
strap, which nearly unseated him. His mule kept kicking and prancing
about, which, one is constrained to confess, is not over pleasant,
especially in a crowd--and such a crowd. As we were at last out of
danger, we could not help laughing at the misfortunes of our friends.
Such was our début on the soil of the seat of war.

Our first visit was to the hospital at Kadikoi, in a small Greek church
at the end of the village. Upon our arrival, we were informed that the
doctor was not in, so we promised to call again. We then galloped to the
top of a high hill on the left, on which we could not help making a
halt, as we were quite struck by the grandeur and novelty of the scene.
We could plainly distinguish everything for five miles around us. The
camps, with their myriads of white tents, appeared like large beds of
mushrooms growing at random. The sound of trumpets, the beating of
drums, the roar of cannon from Sebastopol, made a fearful noise, whilst
military manœuvres, and sentries placed in every direction, gave a
most martial aspect to the landscape, backed by the bold and rugged
range of mountains by which Balaklava is surrounded.

Having gazed for some time, highly delighted with the scene, so novel to
us, we proceeded on our journey. As Miss Nightingale wished to see one
of the small regimental hospitals, Doctor Sutherland recommended us to
visit that of the 11th Hussars. We were received by the doctor, who very
kindly showed us over. Miss Nightingale and myself inspected the
kitchen, which, though far from being comfortable or convenient, was, at
all events, very ingeniously contrived. Having made my notes, we called
at two other regiments, and afterwards proceeded direct to
head-quarters. Mr. Bracebridge and myself at once rode to Lord Raglan’s
house, the front of which was crowded with staff officers and gentlemen
on horseback. On asking whether his lordship was within, we were
answered in the negative, and were informed that he would probably not
return before dinner-time. I then inquired for Colonel Steele, his
lordship’s secretary, for whom I also had a letter. That gentleman
received us cordially, and having read Lord Panmure’s letter, promised
to give me his utmost support. Mr. Bracebridge stated he had come to
thank Lord Raglan in Miss Nightingale’s name, for his kind visit of the
day before. I next inquired when I could see Lord Raglan. Colonel Steele
replied, “When you like, Monsieur Soyer, but for a day or two he will be
very much engaged, as he is preparing for the reception of the Sardinian
army, which is shortly expected. Lord Raglan is aware of your arrival,
and I will give orders for anything you may require in order to enable
you to commence operations.”

“As I have a great deal to do at the Balaklava Hospital, I shall
commence operations there, and will call in a few days to see the

“Come whenever you like, Monsieur Soyer; Lord Raglan will be glad to see
you. He has often spoken of you at the dinner-table.”

“Really! I am glad to hear that. I had the honour of knowing his
lordship many years ago.”

“So he was saying.”

After having conversed with several officers whom I knew, I was about to
retire, when Colonel Steele said that he would write a note that
afternoon to the Chief Engineer, ordering him to send me some
carpenters, and give me all the assistance I might require. I thanked
the colonel, and retired.

Mr. Bracebridge had in the meantime joined Miss Nightingale, and
informed her that, owing to Lord Raglan’s absence, he had not mentioned
her intended visit, but merely mentioned his own. Dr. Sutherland then
inquired if Doctor Hall was at home, and on being told he was not, we
started direct to the General Hospital before Sebastopol, in
anticipation of meeting him there. He had, however, been and left. The
chief doctor was also absent on duty, as no previous appointment had
been made. We were shown round by the superintendent. The hospital was
quite full, having at the time about four hundred sick and wounded. The
place was in consequence rather crowded, but, nevertheless, well
ventilated, and everything seemed in good order. Dr. Sutherland made
several remarks upon an improved system of ventilation. I went to see
the kitchen, which I did not find in a better state than the one at the

A short time after, Mr. Bracebridge came and informed me that Miss
Nightingale wished to speak with me. Having passed a close review, I was
about returning to our party, when I met Miss Nightingale coming towards
this gipsy cooking encampment, in which there was considerably too much
to do for so important an establishment. We promised to call next day,
or the one following, to see Doctors Taylor and Mouatt, and retired
through a long row of huts. Some of the men had found out that it was
“the good lady of Scutari,” as they called her; for Miss Nightingale was
then but little known by name, it being her first visit to the Crimea. I
heard afterwards, that some of them had been patients at the Scutari
Hospital, and had experienced the full benefit of that benevolent lady’s
kind care and attention. A great number were waiting at the doors--sick
and convalescent--and gave her three hearty cheers as we passed,
followed by three times three. Miss Nightingale seemed much affected by
so unexpected a reception, and, being on horseback, could only bow
gracefully to them by way of returning thanks. Her horse being very
restless, in consequence of the shouts of such a number of men, Mr.
Anderson dismounted, and taking Miss Nightingale’s nag by the bridle,
led it gently along.

We then proceeded through the English and French camps, which, for
miles, surrounded the doomed Sebastopol. The scene, though more
extensive, was not nearly so picturesque as when beheld from the top of
the hill at Balaklava. The afternoon was then drawing on, and Dr.
Sutherland advised us to go home, as it was a very difficult matter for
one to find the way in the dark through the camp; but Mr. Anderson
proposed to have a peep at Sebastopol. It was four o’clock, and they
were firing sharply on both sides. Miss Nightingale, to whom the offer
was made, immediately accepted it; so we formed a column, and, for the
first time, fearlessly faced the enemy, and prepared to go under fire.
P. M. turned round to me, saying quietly, but with great trepidation--

“I say, Monsieur Soyer, of course you would not take Miss Nightingale
where there will be any danger.”

We soon after reached the flag-staff at the head of the Woronzoff Road,
and the sentry informed us we must dismount, as we were in danger, at
the same time pointing to the marks of a number of cannon balls and
splinters of shell, which, he said, they sent whenever they saw a group
of people, especially on horseback. He added that they would send a shot
or a shell in a moment. Fortunately, P. M. did not hear this, or we
should have lost his agreeable company. I mentioned this to Miss
Nightingale and to Mr. Bracebridge, who both laughed heartily.

We then dismounted. The sentry begged of us to go into a kind of
redoubt, built of stone, where there was a telescope. “There,” said he,
“you will be in safety, and have a good view of the town.”

This was true enough; the day being clear, and the sun pouring its rays
on the city, we could plainly discern the large buildings, Greek temple,
church, club-house, hospital, barracks, the harbour of Sebastopol, and
the fortifications--viz., the Malakoff, Redan, Quarantine, Fort
Constantine, and the Flagstaff batteries--and could see every shot sent
by the allied armies as well as by the enemy. The bursting of shells
could easily be distinguished. We were about to retire, when Mr.
Anderson proposed going a couple of hundred yards further--to the
Three-mortar Battery. Miss Nightingale immediately seconded the
proposal, but the sentry strongly objected, saying it was too dangerous;
that only a few days before those mortars had poured a very heavy fire
into the city, and that the Russians kept a good look-out upon them.

“Oh, never mind,” said Mr. Anderson; “I was there two days ago, and they
have no powder to waste upon a few individuals.”

Although I was very anxious to get so far, and to go with them, I could
not help observing to Miss Nightingale that there was a picket in the
Woronzoff Road, to indicate the limits, and it was very imprudent of her
to run such a risk for no purpose. I further remarked that, should any
accident happen to her, no one would pity, but, on the contrary, blame
her--that all the good she had done would fall into oblivion, and she
would scarcely be regretted.

The sentry then repeated his caution, saying, “Madam, even where you
stand you are in great danger; some of the shot reach more than half a
mile beyond this.” Mr. Bracebridge, though of my opinion, did not say
much to dissuade her. The sentry then said, “Well, madam, if you do not
fear risking your life, I cannot prevent your going; but remember that,
if anything happens, I have witnesses to prove that it was not through
my neglect in not informing you of the danger you incur by going to the
Three-mortar Battery.”

“My good young man,” replied Miss Nightingale, in French, “more dead and
wounded have passed through my hands than I hope you will ever see in
the battle-field during the whole of your military career; believe me, I
have no fear of death.” She then started with Mr. Anderson, who was very
impatient at so much time being lost. Mr. Bracebridge and myself
followed. P. M. was still in the redoubt, ensconced behind a gabion,
looking through the telescope, when I suddenly called him. He came
running out, as I had taken him by surprise, and he exclaimed, “I say,
where the deuce are you all going!”

“Oh, not far--only to the second trench.”

“But, my dear sir, there is a great deal of danger.” Taking him by the
arm, Mr. Bracebridge and myself commenced talking upon indifferent
topics, and so got him to advance. As he saw Miss Nightingale before us,
he managed to raise courage enough to keep from running away, while the
cannonading and bursting of shells was heard plainer, and could be seen
much better. He again said, “Why should we go to the trenches? This is
very rash to risk one’s life for nothing; it is what I call giving a
chance away.”

To comfort him, I called Mr. Bracebridge and Miss Nightingale. “P. M.,”
said I, “seems to fancy there is some danger in the trenches, and I wish
to impress upon his mind that there is much less danger there than where
we are”, when a shell came whistling over our heads, and Mr. Anderson
hearing it, cried out, “A shell! a shell!” upon which P. M. immediately
caught me by the shoulders with both hands, and placed himself in a
crouching position behind me, which made us all laugh heartily at his
expense, as the shell was not directed anywhere near us. I have
frequently laughed since with Miss Nightingale at his idea that if the
shell had struck me, he would have been any safer than if he had stood
by himself.

At all events, we arrived in the Three-mortar Battery without accident.
It contained three large mortars, and instead of being two hundred
yards, as Mr. Anderson had called the distance, was full half a mile
from the Flagstaff, going towards Sebastopol, and quite exposed to fire,
had they thought it worth while to play upon us. We had, however, an
excellent view of the besieged city, such as very few amateurs can boast
of having obtained. Before leaving the battery, I begged Miss
Nightingale, as a favour, to give me her hand, which she did. I then
requested her to ascend the stone rampart next the wooden gun carriage,
and lastly, to sit upon the centre mortar, to which requests she very
gracefully and kindly acceded. I then boldly exclaimed, “Gentlemen,
behold this amiable lady sitting fearlessly upon that terrible
instrument of war! behold the heroic daughter of England--the soldier’s
friend!” All present shouted, “Bravo! bravo! hurrah! hurrah! Long live
the daughter of England!”

As the cannonade increased instead of diminishing, this gave a kind of
martial note of approval to our solemn and enthusiastic ceremony.

We then left the spot, again to risk our noble selves, as I observed to
our friend P. M.

“Oh,” said he, “I shall run.”

Upon this I observed, “You may do as you like; but you will thereby
incur more danger, as they will take you for a deserter.”

“Oh, that’s true again; well, but you may say what you like about
bravery--let me tell you, Monsieur Soyer, that I did not bargain for
being brave, and I think the sooner we get out of this the better. Only
listen to the roaring of the cannon.”

We all laughed heartily at his fears and wry faces. Such were never
before seen in the Crimea. At last we regained the redoubt, quite safe
and sound, which the French corporal on duty attributed to their not
thinking it worth while to fire upon us, and partly to the presence of a
lady. He remarked that ladies often came to this spot to get a view, and
that he had never known the enemy to fire while they were present.

“Well,” I replied, “we certainly cannot extol their gallantry too
highly. But can they distinguish persons at this distance from their

“Of course they can, from their advanced batteries. Persons coming this
way can be seen plainly five minutes before they reach this spot, unless
they come by the Woronzoff Road.”

The sun was by this time fast sinking in the vast ocean in front of
Sebastopol, giving us to understand that night was about to spread its
gloomy wings over the camp, and that in less than two hours it would
envelope us in its mysterious darkness, as well as the besieged and
their assailants. Alas! how many of those brave fellows who saw that sun
set never beheld it rise again. Such was the subject of our conversation
while remounting our horses, with hearts full of emotion, and of the
awful grandeur of this great war, which, instead of comprising four or
five battles, might well be called a single one, or the hundred battle
war, lasting nearly fifteen months without intermission, excepting only
the few hours when the flag of truce was hoisted, in order that the last
religious rites to the mortal remains of the noble departed might be
performed. Oh war! war! where is thy fair side? Thou art only a
paraphernalia of destruction and misery!

We started at a sharp trot, and were hardly half way to Balaklava when
the dusk of evening was settled over the noisy camps, through which we
were then passing at full gallop. Mr. Anderson, knowing the road, as he
thought, endeavoured to cross the camp by a short cut, when we were
overtaken by night, and lost our way. What with the regiments sounding
their bugles and the drums beating the retreat, it would have puzzled
the coolest head and annoyed the best field-horses. Finding ourselves in
one of the Zouave camps, we inquired of the men in which direction
Balaklava lay. A group of about ten collected round us, and very
politely pointed out the road. It was in a straight line, and not so
much out of the way.

“But,” said they, “you cannot cut across the camp, as this is the first
day we hold the ground, and you are certain to be arrested by the
sentries, and clapped in the violon for the night.” They also informed
us that it was imprudent to gallop through the camp, for if the colonel
was about, or it was reported to him, he would be sure to stop us.

Another exclaimed, in French, “Don’t be afraid, friends; the colonel is
not very severe in cases in which ladies are concerned. The officers are
now devouring their popottes and taking their evening grog. There is no
danger, captain; make the best of your way, as it is getting late, and
there are a set of scamps prowling about who would think nothing of
waylaying you for the sake of a five-franc piece.”

Miss Nightingale, Mr. Bracebridge, and Mr. Anderson were riding slowly
in front; P. M. was anxious to know what the Zouaves said, so I
translated it as above, for the edification of my brave companion. We
then started at a smart pace, but could not come up with our _avant
garde_. We made another halt near a group who were sitting on the grass
close to their tent, playing some game with a set of mutton bones, and
drinking coffee. Others were singing their favourite African song, the
“Beau Zouave d’Afrique--Vlan--sont toujours en
avant--Vlan--Vlan--Rataplan--plan--plan.” Upon inquiring if they had
seen two gentlemen and a lady on horseback, they replied, “Yes,” and
pointed out the road they had taken.

On asking them how they liked camp life, their answer was, “Oh, very
much in Algeria, but not at all here; the weather is so bad, and that
trench business is such dull work. We should prefer a battle once or
twice a-week in the open field to being shot at like so many rabbits in
the trenches.”

Upon asking what they were drinking, they said, “Coffee; would you like
to taste it?” “With great pleasure,” said I. Upon which they gave me
some. It was not bad, but required a little more sugar. “Well,” they
said, “we sometimes buy some, as we are only allowed about enough for
breakfast.” I requested their acceptance of a few shillings to drink _la
goutte_, which one of them immediately refused, saying, “No, no,
Bourgeois; we did not ask you to taste our coffee wishing to make you
pay for it.”

“I know that, my dear fellow; this is to drink our health.”

“We will do that, then, and no mistake.”

“Good evening, my men, and thank you,” said I. P. M. then started off at
a gallop. I immediately stopped him, pretending that if we were seen we
were sure to be locked up all night, our lady fair not being with us,
the colonel would not joke.

“Well,” said he, fiercely, “it would only be for one night, I suppose.”

“Yes, one at least.”

“I should prefer being locked up all night in the guard-house to
venturing in the dark among so many brigands as the Zouaves say there
are roaming about. There we should be in safety; while here we may be
shot at any moment.”

As we were descending a deep ravine, we heard a female voice, and then
the voices of gentlemen. I had no doubt but that these proceeded from
Miss Nightingale and party, who were going slowly down the rocky side of
the ravine. Leaping from our horses, we went faster on foot; and in
about ten minutes succeeded, thanks to the light of the stars, in
catching them. When within hail, I called out, “Who goes there?” The
reply assured me they were our fair lady and her two cavaliers. On our
joining them they said they almost felt afraid that we had been made
prisoners; and Mr. Anderson said he had already given us up. Miss
Nightingale and Mr. Bracebridge were of the same opinion, and they
laughed heartily at P. M.’s description of our dreadful adventure, as he
called it. We were then at the other side of the ravine, and close to a
road which Mr. Anderson recognised as the one leading from Balaklava to

At last, we were in a fair way of reaching home that night, which P. M.
had long despaired of. The conversation became very animated; and I much
amused Miss Nightingale and party with my recital of what the Zouave had
said respecting his colonel. I also related the coffee business--Miss
Nightingale made particular inquiries as to its quality. Having replied
to her questions, and being a little ahead, I arrived first at the top
of a high hill, and immediately caught sight of the hundreds of lights
in the little low shops at Kadikoi. We were all right at last; but the
road being steep and very greasy, Miss Nightingale’s pony slipped
fearfully, which induced Mr. Anderson, who was nearest to her, to
dismount and lead it down the hill as far as the village. We then passed
through Kadikoi, which presented a different scene to that of the
morning, but still animated, from the groups of Turkish and Greek
labourers returning to their quarters, and a quantity of drunken men
rolling about. We reached the watering-place at the end of the harbour
at last. Miss Nightingale’s pony, which was again led by Mr.
Anderson--this spot being, night and day, full of horses--suddenly
turned round to get to the trough, very nearly throwing Miss Nightingale
off, and probably would have done so, had it not been held by Mr.
Anderson, who received a tremendous knock in the face from the brute’s
head. This accident made him bleed profusely, and gave him a pair of
black eyes. Of this we were not aware until we arrived at the hospital,
and could scarcely believe it when we did.

Miss Nightingale and a doctor attended him immediately; and upon
inquiring when it happened, he coolly replied, “About ten minutes ago,
while we were watering the horses.”

“But,” said Miss Nightingale, “you never mentioned it.”

“Of course not,” he replied; “why should I? it would only have made you
nervous; and I knew that nothing could be done till we arrived here.”
After his wound had been dressed, he declared that the shock was so
violent at the time, he actually thought his head had been split open.

We regretted that, after having gone through such an adventurous day
without accident, a casualty should have happened just at our return.
Our valiant friend, P. M., quietly vowed never to go camp-ranging again,
especially on a mule who was always bolting before or lagging behind,
but never kept parallel with our steeds. Indeed, we called the animal
Clockwork, as, when wound up, he would go fast enough, but when run out,
nothing but re-winding would move him.

A few days after, by the merest chance, I found a leaf from our friend
P. M.’s diary, of which, no doubt, a copy had been sent to his fair
Dulcinea. It read as follows:--

     Balaklava, Thursday.--Got up at five o’clock. Off for the day,
     accompanying M. Soyer and other friends. My mule very restive.
     Accident the first--broke a strap. Weather very hot, water scarce,
     wine and beer more so. Ride up a ravine--nearly spilt. Quarrel with
     a Bashi-Bazouk. Gallop away from my friends. Splendid view of
     head-quarters. Visit the sick and wounded at General Hospital: Miss
     Nightingale present--troops greet her with cheers. First glance of
     Sebastopol, peeping through the gabions. Dangerous visit to the
     Three-gun Battery. A shell! a shell! Barely have time to lie flat
     upon the grass. One of our party wounded by a splinter. Dangerous
     travelling at night. Take coffee with the Zouaves. Arrive home
     safely, but very hungry, after our perilous expedition.

We left Mr. Anderson, the horses were taken from us, and we went on
board the _Robert Lowe_. The captain was in great anxiety about us,
thinking that something had occurred to Miss Nightingale, who, indeed,
appeared much fatigued with her glorious excursion. She made no remark
on the subject; but, on the contrary, requested me to accompany her
early the next morning to both hospitals. This I promised to do with
great pleasure; and so ended that lady’s first visit to the camp
hospitals in the Crimea.

Seven bells was striking--all was silent and at rest in the
harbour--nothing was heard save the noise of the bells from the
different ships, the booming of the cannon at Sebastopol, with now and
then the sharp rattle of musketry, and the gloomy voice of the
sentinel’s challenge--“Who goes there?”

“A friend.”

“Pass, friend. All’s well.”



     Miss Nightingale indisposed--More visitors--Admiral Boxer--A
     valuable receipt--The admiral’s indefatigable industry--Miss
     Nightingale’s perseverance--Off to the hospitals again--Genoese
     Heights--Return--Last day on board the _Robert Lowe_--Removal to
     the _London_--A rough ride to Balaklava--Meeting with Lord
     Raglan--Introduction--Omer Pacha--Conversation--Arrival at
     Kadikoi--Reception of General della Marmora--Fraternization.

The next morning was wet, chilly, and uncomfortable; and I heard with
sorrow that Miss Nightingale was rather indisposed. It did not, indeed,
surprise me, considering the fatigue she had undergone the previous
day--more especially as she had taken no refreshment the whole of the
time. I made sure that she would postpone her visit to the hospitals.
Numbers of visitors poured in as usual; amongst them was Admiral Boxer,
Chief Admiral of the Port of Balaklava. Mr. Bracebridge was upon deck,
and directly he saw the admiral waiting, he went and spoke to him. “Good
morning, admiral,” said Mr. Bracebridge, and then did me the honour of
introducing me.

“Oh! so you are the Monsieur Soyer I have often heard of; and I made
sure you were a much older man than you appear to be.”

“Did you, indeed, admiral?”

“Yes, that I did. I bought one of your large cookery books about fifteen
years ago, and in your portrait you are represented as a man of about
forty years of age.”

“I must have grown ten years younger since then; as I am only forty-five
now, admiral.”

“I wish you had put that receipt for growing younger into your book. I
should have tried it long ago, and have been satisfied with five years,
knowing as much as I do.”

“Well done, admiral,” said a friend of his. “If Monsieur Soyer could
give such receipts as that, everybody would like to take a leaf out of
his book.”

“At all events, Monsieur Soyer, you are welcome to Balaklava, and when
you like to come and see me upon business--mind, I don’t invite you for
anything else at present, as all here is business, business, from
morning till night, and sometimes all night.”

“I assure you, Monsieur Soyer,” said his nephew, “the admiral is always
out first and on his rounds; and I, who seldom leave, often find him
writing when every one else is fast asleep.”

“Well, well, business must be attended to,” said Admiral Boxer. “At all
events, recollect that I give you the _entrée_ of the admiral’s ship.”

“Many thanks, admiral. You may rest assured I will not trouble you
often, and then only upon special business.”

“Monsieur Soyer, several officers from Scutari have spoken very highly
of your services there; and I sincerely trust you will be as successful
here.--By-the-bye, I must be off.” Looking at his watch. “Oh, I have ten
minutes yet; but could I not see Miss Nightingale?”

“Certainly, admiral. Some gentlemen are with her now--Doctor Henderson
and your Balaklava chaplain.”

“Oh, never mind, if the lady is engaged; but I believe you came on board
the same ship, and wish to remain together. I must look out for another
vessel for you, as the _Robert Lowe_ will be off in a day or two.”

“In that case, admiral, pray see Mr. Bracebridge about it. He is there
talking to Thomas, his servant. I will fetch him.”

“Pray, Mr. Bracebridge,” said the admiral, “give my compliments to Miss
Nightingale, and tell her from me that I am sorry to disturb her, but
the _Robert Lowe_ will sail in a day or two; however, I am going my
rounds, and will try and get her quarters upon one of the best vessels
in the harbour, and let you know, Mr. Bracebridge. Good-bye! good-bye!”

In a second he was in his boat, holding the helm, and talking to every
one he met. His boat was seen in every part of the harbour, and often in
the bay, even in rather rough weather. From daybreak till sunset, he
might be seen rowing about like a hunted pirate--very active, quick, and
expeditious--though very sailor-like--rather rough and straightforward--by
report generally liked. Such I found Admiral Boxer.

The weather having cleared up a little, and as I made sure that Miss
Nightingale would not go out as it was so very dirty on shore, I
prepared to visit the hospitals alone, in order to see how the workmen
were going on; intending to ride thence to head-quarters. I purposed
getting there about one or two o’clock, his lordship’s lunch-time--the
most likely hour to obtain an interview. On my way to Mr. Bracebridge’s
cabin, to inform him of my design, and ask him at the same time to go
with me--he having expressed a wish that we should go together--Thomas,
Miss Nightingale’s page, came and inquired if I was ready to go with her
to the hospitals.

“Pray, my lad, tell Miss Nightingale that I was going alone; but that,
if she is well enough to go, I shall be very happy to accompany her.”
Before I had time, however, to finish the sentence, Miss Nightingale had
ascended the cabin stairs, and, I must say, looked very well.

“Good morning, mademoiselle; how are you after your long journey of
yesterday? I heard you were rather indisposed.”

“I did feel unwell this morning, but am much better now. I am extremely
sorry about Mr. Anderson, who, I am afraid, will be very much disfigured
by last night’s accident.”

“I hope it will not prove very serious.”

“It may not; but it will be very disagreeable, as he is obliged to see
so many people.”

“No matter; all wounds are honourable in time of war, excepting,
perhaps, a pair of black eyes.”

“But what has become of your brave _compagnon de voyage_, P. M.? Has he
recovered from the effects of his fright?”

“All I know is, that he was not at breakfast this morning, and he told
everybody last evening that he would not, for any amount of money, again
accompany you, mademoiselle, or even her Majesty, through such danger as
he incurred yesterday.” Every one who knew him laughed at his bravery,
particularly Miss Nightingale, who, turning to Mr. Bracebridge,
said--“Monsieur Soyer and myself are going to the General Hospital, and
thence to the Sanatorium, where I wish you to be kind enough to meet

“About what time?” inquired Mr. Bracebridge.

“Two o’clock, as at that hour Mr. Anderson and Dr. Sutherland will be
there about the ventilation.”

We then started. The roads were very muddy. I observed to Miss
Nightingale that she ought to have had boots made on purpose for such
rough walking, to which, she assented, saying, “I will do so, Monsieur

As we were passing, I left my card at Colonel Hardinge’s, the commandant
of Balaklava. I had the pleasure of meeting many officers there with
whom I was acquainted; they all gave me pressing invitations to visit
them in camp, and others to dine with them. As I had no time to stay, I
promised to call upon every one, and rejoined Miss Nightingale. On
arriving at the hospital I found the workmen in full activity. Miss
Nightingale remained there about two hours. We went next to the
Sanatorium, and, in going up the hill, called upon the sick officer who
was in Dr. Henderson’s hut. The nurse said that he was a little better,
but far from being well. He was delirious at times.

“You had better go back to the hospital this evening, Mrs. ----, and tell
Miss Weare to appoint another nurse to attend in your stead.”

“Thank you, madam, I will do so; and am rather glad of it, as I feel
very tired.”

We then proceeded to the Genoese Heights, where I had the pleasure of
meeting Captain King, the chief engineer, whom I found very ready to
assist me in every way.

“You are aware,” said he, “that we are not in London; and I cannot build
a kitchen in the Crimea such as you had at the Reform Club.”

“I should be very sorry if you could, as in that case you would have to
get somebody to manage it, for I assure you I should not like to begin
my gastronomic career again; and I must say I feel every bit as proud in
having to cook for the soldiers, if not more so, than ever I did in
cooking for the greatest epicures or the first lords of England.”

“Then,” said Captain King, “we shall work well together.”

“I have no doubt of it, captain, as I only require a few workmen, such
as carpenters and bricklayers; some planks, nails, and a few bricks and
a little mortar. If my new field stoves were finished I should not
trouble you at all, as they will cook in the open air, and do not
require any fixing.”

“If you do not need anything more elaborate than your kitchen here, we
shall be able to give you satisfaction. Have you seen the plan I have
drawn out for you?”

“Yes, I have--it will do very well.”

I then went to look after our party. Miss Nightingale, Dr. Sutherland,
the hospital surveyor, and several other doctors, were all together, and
they had nearly finished their rounds. They informed me that they were
going to see a small naval hospital, situated nearly at the top of the
high mountain to the left of the Sanatorium.

The boy Thomas came, and said Miss Nightingale was going home
immediately, inquiring, at the same time, for Mr. Bracebridge.

“He has been here,” I said, “these two hours; and I saw him ride with
Captain King towards the heights, as if he was going to the naval

“Very well, sir, I will tell Dr. Sutherland.”

We were then all going towards the new kitchen. I showed my plan to Miss
Nightingale and Dr. Sutherland, who both admired its simplicity and
expedition as regards cooking. I observed that this one, when
completed, would serve as a model for any others which might be
required in the camp.

“Where are the utensils?” asked the hospital purveyor; “we have nothing
in store.”

“I assure you you are mistaken,” said I, “because it was only yesterday
that I saw them in Mr. Fitzgerald’s store-room.”

“I declare,” said he, “that for days and days I have been asking for
kitchen utensils, and the only things I could get were some spoons, a
frying-pan, and large forks.”

“Oh,” said I, “very likely; but they only arrived with us, and were
ordered, at my suggestion, by Mr. Robertson, the purveyor-in-chief at

“I beg your pardon; that’s all right; but I can assure you that if you
had depended upon the Balaklava or Kadikoi tinkers, they would have made
you pay as much as five or six shillings for an article worth one in

Miss Nightingale and party were by this time half way to Balaklava, but
we soon caught them. The weather was bad, the road worse, and rain kept
falling. In fact, the mud was so deep in front of the ship, that we were
obliged to form a kind of bridge across the road for the lady to get to
the boat to go on board. Dr. Sutherland, the captain of the _Diamond_,
and the doctor of the Naval Brigade, then made an appointment to go and
visit the new hospital building for the sick sailors on the Leander Bay
side, facing the Genoese Tower. After this we parted--to meet early the
next morning. Upon our return, a message was delivered from the admiral,
to the effect that there were two ships at our disposal, and requesting
Mr. Bracebridge to go and see them, and choose the one he liked best
without delay, as probably the _Robert Lowe_ would leave the harbour for

Mr. Bracebridge attended to the order immediately, and having inspected
both, selected the _London_, as she was likely to remain the longest.
The captain informed us that it had at one time been called the _Great
London_, and that it was launched in the beginning of the reign of
George the Third. The inhabitants of London used to go and view it as a
curiosity; but when it sailed from the Thames the crowd was immense. It
was built by Mr. Green.

This being probably our last day on board the _Robert Lowe_, we invited
a few friends to dine with us, and, despite the bad weather, we passed a
very pleasant and sociable evening, enlivened by the sound of merry
glees and national songs. Our hearts and souls were fluttering either in
France or England, according to the style of harmony. As Miss
Nightingale’s state cabin was at a good distance from the saloon, she
could not be in the slightest way disturbed by the double harmony which
reigned among us. The conversation was turned chiefly upon the arrival
of the Sardinian army, and of the destruction by fire of one of their
vessels, called the _Capitole_. She was filled with troops, but I
believe none were lost. This made a sad pendant to the French vessel,
the _Semillante_, wrecked some time before.

The next morning, some large vessels were reported in sight, supposed to
be the Sardinian fleet, though, from their great distance and the
contrary winds, they were not expected in till late in the afternoon.
This led to the departure of the _Robert Lowe_ that day, and earlier
than the captain had expected. We all left her early, and Miss
Nightingale installed her nurses in the Sanatorium at the Genoese
Heights, near the Tower, a sketch of which appeared in the _Illustrated
London News_, of the latter end of May, 1855, where we accompanied her
with a numerous escort.

As it seemed probable that Miss Nightingale would be engaged the whole
of the day classing her ladies in their various departments, we
postponed our visit to the Leander Bay naval hospital till the morrow.
It was also necessary for us to take up our quarters on board the
_London_. The morning had been gloomy, and about one o’clock it began to
rain. I thought this would be a good opportunity for obtaining an
audience with Lord Raglan at head-quarters. Having mentioned the matter
to Mr. Bracebridge, he approved it, and proposed accompanying me. We
dressed to face the weather. I rode the mule, and off we went through
the rain and deep mud.

In going, we took the longest way and the worst road, and were nearly
two hours on our journey instead of three-quarters of an hour, which is
about the time required, and even less in fine weather. We had almost
reached the general’s house, when we perceived, at a short distance, a
kind of squadron of cavalry coming towards Balaklava. Mr. Bracebridge
exclaimed, “If I am not mistaken, Lord Raglan and his staff are going

We perceived that some of them wore their rough weather coats. We
immediately galloped towards them, and found that it really was Lord
Raglan and his staff, with about thirty mounted officers, amongst whom
were some attached to the French and Turkish army.

Our first intention was to retire, but seeing Colonel Steele, I rode up
to him, told him I had called, and requested him to fix an hour for an
audience. Colonel Steele replied, “You could not have come at a better
time. Come with me; I will introduce you to his lordship; he will be
delighted to see you; he has been inquiring daily after you and Miss

While this conversation was going on, we had got quite close to Lord
Raglan. Colonel Steele addressed him, “I beg pardon, my lord; Monsieur
Soyer is here.” Lord Raglan turned suddenly round, and, before I had
time to salute him, said, “Ah, Monsieur Soyer, how are you? I am indeed
very glad to see you.” I assured his lordship I felt highly flattered at
his kind reception.

“You are welcome to the seat of war, Monsieur Soyer. It is many years
since we had the pleasure of seeing each other.”

“It must be about ten years, my Lord.”

“More than that; let me see--it cannot be less than fourteen, I am sure.
I recollect going with some friends of mine, to visit you in your
interesting kitchen at the Reform Club. You remember?”

“So well, that I recollect your lordship saying you never had a good
dinner excepting when they gave you the _pot-au-feu_ made after my
receipt, and that I was one of your great benefactors.”

“Perfectly right, Monsieur Soyer. You have been one not only to me, but
the public at large, in making all your receipts known. Since we met,
you have worked very hard, and, although I did not see you, I watched
your progress and industry.”

“I am still quite ready to render myself useful, and willing to work
harder than ever, under your direction.”

“Well, well, you may depend upon it I shall do all in my power to render
your services available.” Turning to an officer on his left, Lord Raglan
said, “Will you allow me to introduce Monsieur Soyer?” Then addressing
himself to me, Lord Raglan said, “Monsieur Soyer--His Excellency Omer

I bowed to the distinguished Turkish commander, who said in French, “Ah,
Monsieur Soyer, I have frequently heard Beyram Pacha speak of you; only
yesterday he mentioned your name. He is acquainted with you?”

“Yes, your excellency; I had the honour of sailing from Marseilles to
Constantinople in company with the general.”

“He told me you were about to open a large hotel at Eupatoria.”

“No, no, your excellency; Monsieur Soyer is come to show our soldiers
how to make the best of their rations, which I consider very kind of
him; and no doubt they will improve under his tuition. They will not
change their old style of cooking for anyone else. Myself, several
colonels, and even generals, have taken a deal of interest and trouble
in trying to teach them a better way of cooking. They adopt our plan
while we are present, but when once our backs are turned, they go on in
their old way.”

“Very true, very true,” said Omer Pacha. “It is just the same with my
men. Show them anything better than their pilaff, they will not adopt it
for the world.”

“You have done wonders, Monsieur Soyer, in the hospitals at Scutari, as
I perceive from the report and the letter addressed to me by Lord
William Paulet.”

“I am very happy to have succeeded so well; and hope the system will in
time be followed out by every hospital, as it is less trouble than the
old one, not more expensive, and has been highly approved by all the
medical authorities.”

“Oh,” said Lord Raglan, “if it has been approved of by the faculty,
there is no doubt of its being adopted at home.”

“I have great numbers of testimonials from the heads of the medical
departments.” By this time we had arrived near Kadikoi, which then
consisted of only a few wooden huts. The rain never ceased, and we went
at a foot-pace all the way, which gave us an opportunity of conversing.
I had the honour of riding on Lord Raglan’s right side, and Omer Pacha
was on his left. No sooner did we come within view of the plain of
Balaklava, than his lordship pointed out the spot where the battle was
fought, and asked me if I could see a small church at a distance.

“Perfectly well,” was my answer.

“From this spot, on a fine day, you can see the enemy quite distinctly,”
said Lord Raglan; “and on that large mound which appears so close to us,
you can easily see their sentries.”

“So I can, my lord. Is that a Russian picket?”

“Yes, it is.”

I thanked Lord Raglan for the information; saying, “As I have no
particular fancy to have the honour of being made a prisoner of war, I
shall take care not to go too near our friends the enemies.” His
lordship turned round and made some remark to Omer Pacha, who laughed
heartily; but I did not distinctly hear what he said--the road was
rugged, and Lord Raglan wore a mackintosh with a hood over his head--it
was, however, to the effect that the Russians could not secure a more
useful prisoner than myself, especially for---- (the name escaped me),
who is a great epicure.

We were by that time near the Col of Balaklava. Lord Raglan asked me if
I had seen the Sardinians land. I replied that, although I knew they
were expected, I was not aware of their arrival.

“Oh yes, General della Marmora has arrived, and I am going to receive

A large crowd had by this time gathered round the general and his staff.
When near the harbour, I took leave of his lordship, who kindly invited
me to call at head-quarters, whenever I liked, and told me that Colonel
Steele would give me all the information and assistance I might require
to carry out my views. I followed the brilliant _cortège_, being anxious
to witness the reception of the Sardinian general, which was most
cordial and effective, especially when the band struck up “God save the
Queen;” such an animated and enthusiastic _tableau_ never met my eyes.
The sketch was worthy the pencil of the great Horace Vernet.

Mr. Bracebridge, who had been introduced to Lord Raglan at the same time
as myself, but who drew back and conversed with Colonel Steele, left us
at the small bridge leading from the Col into Balaklava, and went direct
to the town side, while we turned to the left hand, where the Sardinian
fleet was anchored. The arrival of the Sardinians had created quite a
stir in Balaklava. Towards dusk, they might be seen in all directions.
Their dress, manner, language, &c., all formed a marked contrast to the
usual daily routine. The fraternization between them and the English
took place immediately; they were like brothers who, not having met for
many years, were at last united in order to defend the same cause and
brave the same dangers. All was joy, heroism, and thirst for glory. The
incessant roar of the cannon of Sebastopol had for the first time
re-echoed on board the English and Sardinian men-of-war, producing a
double impression upon the feelings of both armies. The evening closed
with the vibration in the ear of “God save the Queen,” “Partant pour la
Syrie,” and the grand Sardinian national air, which was performed by
their band.



     A comfortable berth--A skirmish with the rats--A doubtful
     victory--Arrival of reinforcements--Abandon the field--The
     Sardinian contingent--Naval hospital in Leander Bay--Victims of the
     wreck of the _Prince_--A Maltese cook--Magnificent
     bouquets--Another brush with the rats--A captain in undress--How to
     catch them--A receipt worth knowing--A good joke--Castle of a king
     in Balaklava.

A quarter to eleven had struck when I made my first appearance on board
the _London_. All had turned in and were asleep, and the lights were out
in the chief cabin. The night watch showed me my berth, which I could
feel, but not see; so I crept into it half undressed, the best way I
could, and in a few minutes, from the fatigues of the day, I fell into a
deep slumber. This lasted for several hours; and I was at last aroused
by several persevering rats, who tried, at the risk of their lives, to
pull a piece of Sardinian biscuit out of my great-coat pocket. This I
had obtained on board the _Carlo Alberto_ as a sample.

The presence of such unwelcome visitors made me spring quickly out of my
slice of a bed, which is very judiciously called cabin-berth; and, as I
found it too small for one, I had a great objection to extra lodgers. I
therefore stood upon the offensive and the defensive, which caused my
assailants to flee in the greatest confusion, and with such celerity
that I was unable to make any of them prisoners. Relying upon the
effects of their defeat, fatigue enticed me to try another dose of
sleep, when all at once, with the perseverance of Zouaves, the rats
returned to the assault, and running over my face, made me capitulate
immediately, and leave them in possession of my nautical bedchamber. I
spent the remainder of the night uncomfortably enough upon the narrow
cabin benches, falling now and then on the floor by way of variation.
The light at last began to peep through the cabin windows, and I could
look after my garments, which I at once rescued from the teeth of my
enemies, the Zouave rats. Not a morsel of the biscuit was left; they had
gnawed two large holes in a new great-coat, no doubt to save the
buttons, which they had not swallowed, but very nearly nibbled off. When
I was dressed, I rushed upon deck, and began to breathe freely. The sun
shone, and the morning gave promise of a fine day. At eight we had
breakfast, and I related my night’s sport to the captain, Mr.
Bracebridge, and others. Every one laughed heartily at my tribulation,
which was poor consolation for such a victim as I had been.

On inquiring about Miss Nightingale, I learnt from Mr. Bracebridge that
she had come on board late in the evening. I remarked that it was very
imprudent of her remaining so late out in such bad weather; and I told
Mr. Bracebridge that he ought to prevent it, as she was sure to be taken
ill. “So I told her,” Mr. Bracebridge replied, “but she says it will not
be for long--only till the sisters are installed; then she will be able
to come home sooner. You were highly honoured yesterday, Monsieur Soyer;
how you seemed to amuse Lord Raglan and Omer Pacha!”

“Yes, indeed, his lordship is very lively and jocular.”

Having explained all that took place, I asked him where he went after
leaving us.

“As I did not see Miss Nightingale return from the Genoese heights, I
went in search of her. By-the-bye, are you going with us?”

“Going where?”

“Why, to Leander Bay, to visit the sailors’ new hospital.”

“Of course I am,” I replied. “The present Admiral (Lushington), Captain
Hamilton, Doctors Smart and Sutherland will accompany Miss Nightingale.”

The Doctor of the _Diamond_ called for us in his boat, and beneath a
glowing sun, on a fine spring day, we crossed the busy harbour. The
Sardinian man-of-war was the greatest attraction. The band played a
fine march and some original melodies, which enlivened our short trip.
All the shipping had hoisted their flags, and other vessels were seen in
the offing, conveying the remainder of the Sardinian army.

While we were crossing, Miss Nightingale inquired about my doings of the
previous day, which I carefully related to her, dwelling particularly
upon the kind reception I had received from Lord Raglan and Omer Pacha,
and the willingness of the former to assist me in my undertaking.

“I am very glad to hear it,” said Miss Nightingale; “but, for all that,
you will have innumerable difficulties to contend with. Not a man is at
work at your kitchen. They say they have no more planks, and all do just
as they please. The engineering department is over-burdened with work.
For my part, I can get nothing done, nor can the Purveyor-in-chief. I
don’t blame any one; but if delays of this kind occur for such trifles,
what will it be for so important an affair as your general and
extra-diet kitchens?”

“You are right, and I thank you for the hint. Upon our return, I will go
and see Captain King.”

We had then arrived in Leander Bay. I pointed out the spot at which the
poor victims of the wreck of the _Prince_ were buried--the sight of
which made a singular impression upon every member of the party,
especially when I told them the number which lay there. There was
scarcely any earth over them; and the workmen told us the stench from
the bodies was so dreadful, they were often compelled to leave their
work in consequence. Another said we did not perceive it because the
wind was in another direction. Mr. Bracebridge took note of this, in
order to mention the matter to Dr. Sutherland, who knew nothing of it at
the time. On reaching the green mountain, at the top of which is
situated the new Naval Hospital, we were greeted by the sight of a
complete garden of wild flowers, vines, and aromatic plants. This repaid
us for the dismal scene below. Several French soldiers were picking the
flowers, and gathering salad and wild sorrel.

At the hospital we met Dr. Sutherland and Mr. Anderson, who had not
recovered from the effect of his accident, and still had a pair of black
eyes. The Commander had been waiting some time for us, and was on the
point of retiring, when our arrival induced him to change his intention.
We visited the hospital, which, though a small one, was delightfully
situated. The huts were built on a new principle, with a new style of
ventilation. The kitchen had then only just been commenced. I gave the
sailor cook, a Maltese, who seemed very intelligent, a few hints, and
promised to send the doctor a plan, and to give him my hospital
receipts. The latter I had been expecting for some time from
Constantinople; but they had been lost, and I was obliged to have them
reprinted. The plan, however, I sent. It was adopted, and, upon my
second visit, everything was going on very satisfactorily.

We then separated into groups, and enjoyed a delightful ramble over the
rocks and mountains, herborising for a couple of hours. When we again
reunited, we all had enormous bouquets of flowers, collected in honour
of our fair lady, who could not help laughing at the appearance of her
beaux and their bouquets. Only one was accepted, and the fortunate
candidate was our worthy friend the invalid, Mr. Anderson. We carried
our botanical harvest home, and descended the hill full of health and
spirits. Even the cannon of Sebastopol was silent, at least to our ears,
the wind being the wrong way for the report to reach us. In a few
minutes we were once more afloat, and were about conducting Miss
Nightingale on board, when she said that she wished to go to the General
Hospital; so Captain Hamilton landed us as near to it as possible. We
then separated--Dr. Smart and Mr. Anderson inviting me to go and see
them often, as they had much to inform me of relating to the food of the

Dr. Smart accompanied Miss Nightingale to the hospital, and I went to
find Captain King; but he had gone to the Sanatorium--at least so they
told me at his office. I went up there, being anxious to have this
kitchen completed, as it was really much wanted. The hospital was
getting fuller every day, and I had a great desire to commence
operations at the camp. The Captain was not there, nor could I find a
single workman. To my great sorrow, I met Miss Nightingale coming down
the hill, attended by a nurse or two, and the page-boy. She was walking
through the mud in thin boots. The weather had entirely changed, and a
heavy rain was falling. Upon meeting her, I could not refrain from
expressing my fear that she would catch cold. She had been to ask the
nurse at Dr. Henderson’s how the officer patient was. Upon reaching the
harbour, we took a Maltese boat, and arrived on board the _London_
almost wet through.

A different cabin to the one I had occupied the night before was
allotted to me. All the rat-holes had been stopped, and by special
favour I was allowed a night-lamp. I had the pleasure of seeing the rats
run about, which afforded me the opportunity of hunting them at my ease.
I then perceived that several escaped through the bull’s-eye, which I
immediately closed, and so captured three. I then commenced killing them
with a stick, and in so doing made noise enough to arouse everybody.
Some of the crew came to see what was the matter, while the Captain, who
was half asleep, and rather deaf, told the mate to send for the police
and turn the drunken man out.

Having explained to the first mate the cause of my nocturnal
disturbance, he told me that they were sure to come in at the
bull’s-eye, if left open, that being the easiest way for them when in
harbour. “And,” said he, “they travel that way from one ship to another
in bands of ten or twenty at a time.” He then showed me how to close and
fasten the bull’s-eye, after which he retired to his berth. All at once,
one of the brutes, which had remained concealed, in attempting to escape
upset the lamp upon the floor and extinguished it, and thus compelled me
for the second time to seek to repose upon the hard and unsophisticated
cabin bench, when the Captain made his appearance rather in a state of
_négligé_, holding, a rushlight in one hand and a sword in the other,
with a nightcap tied round with a red riband upon his head. In great
anxiety, he inquired what the row was about.

“The row, Captain,” said I, “is nothing. It’s only the bull’s-eye in my
cabin, which being half open, the rats have got in again.”

“What do you say, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Nothing,” again I shouted.

“Call that nothing? I never had such a row in my ship before. Bless my
soul,” said he, “what a nuisance those rats are! They make quite as free
in my cabin; but, being used to it, I do not care so much about them.
The worst of it is that we can never keep a bit of cheese or a candle;
they eat them up as fast as I buy them.”

“It is certainly very provoking, Captain; but why not try and catch

“Oh, bless you, we have tried everything--poison, traps, broken glass.
We caught a few, but I would give the world to have them all caught.”

“I can give you a receipt which will enable you to have them almost all
caught in a few days.”

“The deuce you could!” said he, coming and sitting opposite to me. “Tell
me how it is done--I shall be so much obliged to you; but I must go and
put something on first, I am so cold.” As he said this, I perceived that
the skylight over his head was open.

“Oh, never mind that; it won’t take two minutes to tell you--listen to

“So I will,” he said.

“The place where you keep your cheese would be the very spot to make the
trial. The thing is quite easy. Have your cheese and candles removed.”

“So I will; but I wish you would let me put a coat on--I am getting so
very cold.”

“Never mind about that; I shall not keep you a minute--listen to me.”

“So I will.”

“When the cabin is perfectly empty, have it cleaned and well scrubbed.”

“That will be done.”

“When it is dry, take half a pound of good Cheshire cheese, scrape it
fine, and mix it with about two pounds of rough bread-crumbs.”

“Yes, I will.”

“Perhaps you think it is a pity to give them half a pound of good

“Not at all, because the vermin eat pounds of it daily.”

“Mix both well together.”

“Yes, I understand--and make them into balls.”

“No, not at all--only spread the lot upon the floor, leave the door and
window open, and go to bed. Of course they will come and eat.”

“I should say they would,” he observed.

“The next evening do the same, cutting the cheese a trifle larger. They
will come again and eat it.”

“What next?” said he.

“The third night, leave the doors and windows open; go to bed as usual,
and put nothing at all in the cabin.”

“What then?” he asked again, in a state of anxiety.

“Why, of course, when they come and find nothing to eat, and being in
still greater numbers than the two previous nights, they will be all

“How,” said he, “will they be all caught?”

“Why, of course, finding nothing to eat, they will be all taken in.”

“That be d----d! I have made a nice fool of myself, standing here half
naked to listen to such rubbish as that.”

Having said this, he ran into his cabin, and for a long while I heard
him sneezing and muttering to himself. The word “fool” was all that I
could catch; and soon after all was silent till daybreak.

On waking, I at first regretted having carried the joke so far, when all
at once I heard the good captain burst out laughing and sneezing. The
first visit I had in the morning, while shaving in my cabin, was from
the captain. As it was then only six o’clock, I made sure he was coming
to challenge me, and began to think of choosing my favourite weapons,
which I had so successfully employed on a similar occasion in London,
after a serious discussion with a red republican on the subject of

One afternoon, at a French restaurant in the Haymarket, a rather
animated discussion, _apropos_ of the new republic of the year ‘48, took
place between myself and a person whom I afterwards ascertained to be
the duellist Cournet, an officer in the French navy, who has already
been mentioned in the earlier pages of this work.

My entire disapproval of the conduct of the friends of liberty, as shown
by their wanton destruction of everything, both useful and ornamental,
even to the court breeches and white inexpressibles of the National
Guard (which were exposed to dry at every window of the Palace of the
Tuileries, thus giving to that noble building somewhat the appearance of
Rag Fair), was so strongly expressed, that Cournet, “taking umbrage
thereat,” after calling me a monarchist and an enemy to liberty,
insisted upon my meeting him the next morning, to give him the
satisfaction due from one gentleman to another.

I replied to his challenge by desiring that the matter should be settled
at once.

He answered, in a haughty tone, “Comme vous voudrez, monsieur. C’est à
vous le choix des armes. Nous tirerons ce que vous voudrez!”

“Eh, bien,” said I, “puisque c’est à moi le choix des armes, sortons à
l’instant même, monsieur, et nous allons nous tirer les cheveux.”

“As you please, sir. The choice of weapons is yours.”

“In that case, I suppose we must pull triggers for it.”

“Sir,” replied he, “we will pull any mortal thing you please.”

“Good,” said I; “then we will at once proceed to pull each other’s

The roar of laughter which followed this sally somewhat calmed the ire
of this rabid and irascible duellist, more especially when he was
informed who I was, and that my province was to make people live well,
and not die badly.

The Captain, however, entered with a smile on his countenance, and
looked altogether pleased. He begged of me to say nothing about it, as
the crew would laugh at him, and it was necessary on board ship to be
very severe. Moreover, he declared that he wished to catch some of his
brother captains, who, like him, were very much pestered with rats.

As I was extremely anxious to see Captain King respecting the slow
progress of the kitchen, I started about seven o’clock, expecting to
find him at home. After a long and disagreeable mountainous walk, I
arrived too late. “But,” said his man, “you will very likely meet him at
his office about nine o’clock, or else at the Sanatorium or
head-quarters, or at Kadikoi, as he told me he was going to those

“I suppose I have a chance of finding him anywhere, except at
Sebastopol,” I replied.

More fortunate than on former occasions, I met the captain on horseback
going to his office. We mounted the tumble-down rotten wooden staircase
of this late palazzo, now converted into one of the principal and most
important departments in the British army in the Crimea--viz., the
office of the chief engineer. The large room which was dedicated to the
captain would hold, at a pinch, seven or eight people of a very moderate
size standing; the second about five; and the third none, being filled
with plans, models, and drawings.

Such was the castle of a king in Balaklava; and I have seen from thirty
to forty people waiting in the mud to have an interview with his
Majesty, who, I must confess, received his loyal subjects with a most
humorous and happy countenance, having always a smile for a friend and
kind words for everybody. When we got in, I immediately locked the door,
informing him that he, the king, was my prisoner for at least ten
minutes, as that was all the time I should require. We went earnestly to
business. I submitted my various plans, and requested him to have the
Sanatorium kitchen finished. To this he agreed, promising to do all he
could for me, at the same time observing they were short of materials
and good workmen.

I then set the captain and king at liberty.

I next went to see Commissary Filder, being anxious to fix a time for
inspecting the provisions in general use.



     Question of fuel--Saving of hundreds per cent.--Miss Nightingale’s
     indisposition--Mr. Upton--Who caught the rats?--Lots of
     acquaintances--A short cut--Arrive at head-quarters--General Della
     Marmora’s visit--Interview with Lord Raglan--Inspection of
     field-stove--Conversation--Model admired--Omer Pacha on army
     cookery--Valuable suggestions--Lord Raglan’s cook--Golding’s
     preserved meats--Various methods--Dr. Hall--The eccentric
     Louis--Dr. Cumming’s letter--French head-quarters--A flying
     visit--Fraternization--Ride home.

On my return to our ship, I left my card at Colonel Hardinge’s. He
kindly invited me to breakfast; and I regretted that I could not accept
the invitation, having promised Colonel Steele to be at head-quarters at
eleven o’clock. After a little business conversation respecting the
arrival of the fuel, he gave me an estimate of the number of vessels
required daily for that purpose alone, the number of men employed in
loading and unloading the ships, the encumbrance it caused in the
harbour, the room required for storing it, the number of mules for
carrying it to the various camps, and the difficulty of distribution.
“No one,” said he, “can imagine the immense quantity of labour that is
required for keeping up the supplies of fuel.”

“I am going to-day,” I remarked, “to see the Commander-in-chief; and I
intend to submit a small model of my camp kitchen for his inspection.”
In a few words I explained its principle, and stated the small quantity
of fuel it would require. Colonel Hardinge remarked, “Why, you will save
at least between three and four hundred per cent.; for it is not the
cost of the coal or wood which is the principal item, but the labour,
expense, and inconvenience of transport. All these will be greatly

“I am much obliged to you,” I said, “for your very encouraging remarks.”

“Any more information you may require I shall at all times be happy to
afford; and as you have no horses yet, whenever you want a pony, let me

“I feel grateful, Colonel, for your kind reception.”

Crowds of people were waiting for an audience, yet I managed to escape.
Balaklava House was indeed a palace compared with the rest of the
Tartaric habitations. On arriving on board the _London_, I heard with
regret that Miss Nightingale was indisposed. Mr. Bracebridge did not
think it was anything very serious. Mrs. Roberts, Miss Nightingale’s
head nurse, who always accompanied her and attended her during the
voyage, informed me that Miss Nightingale was not going out, having much
writing to do, it being post-day.

Mr. Bracebridge wished me to go with him to see Mr. Upton, the son of
the architect who built the harbour and docks of Sebastopol. On my
reminding him of my appointment at head-quarters (which he had
forgotten), Mr. Bracebridge proposed going the next morning, as he had a
particular desire to see Mr. Upton and family. “I hear,” said he, “Mr.
Upton is a Warwickshire man. His father was born at the small village of
Grendon, close to my place and that of your late friend, Sir George
Chetwynd, of Grendon Hall.”

“Really! I know the place very well; and to-morrow I shall be happy to
accompany you, unless fresh orders from head-quarters interfere with the

“Your pony is ready, Monsieur Soyer,” said the steward of the ship. I
sent for Miss Nightingale’s page, Thomas.

“Do you want me, Monsieur Soyer?” asked the boy.

“Yes, my lad, I do. Tell your mistress I am going to head-quarters; give
her my best compliments, and say I shall have the pleasure of seeing
Lord Raglan; and ask her if I can take any message for her to him, or to
any one else in the camp.”

The Captain, who was smoking on the upper deck, called out, “Who caught
the rats?”

“You mean, who caught the captain,” said I, “who could not smell a rat?”

The boy returned, and informed me that Miss Nightingale was very much
obliged to me, and that she had written to Lord Raglan upon business
that very morning.

I then started. The roads were still very heavy from the immense
quantity of rain which had fallen, but the weather was fine overhead,
and everybody seemed to be out. People, in fact, sprang up like
mushrooms in a green field after a little rain and a few hours of August
sunshine. I met numerous friends and acquaintances between Balaklava and
Kadikoi. Many of these--military as well as medical gentlemen--I had
seen at Scutari. Indeed, the excursion put me more in mind of riding in
Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon, than being in a distant country, and at
the seat of war. For above a mile it was a constant nodding of heads and
shaking of hands. As my time was short, I felt anxious to get on my
journey as fast as possible. I did not know the way to head-quarters, so
I inquired of an officer which was the shortest road. He kindly informed
me that he was going there, and knew the short cuts, but that he was in
a great hurry, and if I could ride fast, he should be much pleased to
show me the way. Of course I expressed my willingness to accommodate my
pace to his, and away we went across country. After riding for
twenty-five minutes, we arrived near the ever-celebrated farm which
constituted the head-quarters. Its appearance was by no means grand nor
imposing, and put me very much in mind of Shakspeare’s house at
Stratford, or the humble cot of the poet Burns in Ayrshire.

My readers are too well acquainted with the locality and the
non-architectural design of the house and its dependencies for me to
attempt giving a description. The well-known spot was first taken as the
English head-quarters, and retaken by drawing, daguerreotyping,
engraving, photographing, lithographing, &c.: in fact, it became, as
well as the wooden French head-quarters, so celebrated during the
war-time, that the Tuileries, Windsor, and the marble palace of Dolma
Bach were actually cast into the shade, and a very deep shade too. Even
cities were at a discount compared with Sebastopol. Yes, Sebastopol,
pretty, picturesque Sebastopol, with its few thousand inhabitants, was
in everybody’s mouth and thoughts.

The court-yard at head-quarters that morning presented a very lively
scene. I found it, to my great disappointment, filled with officers’
chargers, which were being slowly led about by the orderlies. There were
some belonging to Sardinians, French, and Turks, besides English ones.
This sight made me despair of seeing the General that morning, and I
feared that I should lose another day. Time was then precious to me.

Upon inquiry, I was informed that the Sardinian General, Della Marmora,
was returning a visit to Lord Raglan and to General Canrobert, and that
they would all be off directly, as a grand review of their troops was to
take place the following day. This afforded me an opportunity of paying
my second visit to Dr. Hall, the chief superintendent. He was out, but I
was told that he would be home by one or two o’clock. On retracing my
steps to head-quarters, I found, as I had been at first informed, every
one on the point of departure. The different uniforms formed an
exquisite contrast in the military cavalcade. The court-yard was soon
cleared, and I went in, and had the pleasure of seeing General Airey,
Colonel Steele, &c. Colonel Steele said I was just in time to see Lord
Raglan, and I was at once ushered in.

“What have you to show me, Monsieur Soyer?” said Lord Raglan, after a
kind greeting.

“I wish to submit to your lordship’s inspection the model of my
field-stove, and if you approve of it, the progress of my undertaking
will be greatly accelerated.”

“Very well; explain it at once.”

“In the first place, here is a simple plan of the kitchen in course of
erection at the Sanatorium Hospital.” I pointed out the details, which
his lordship seemed to understand at first sight.

“If that is all you require, surely you can have it done without much

“That is all; but I require men as well.”

“You shall have them--orders will be given to that effect.”

“This one will serve as a model for all the others: they will be upon a
similar scale. For example, the General Hospital before Sebastopol does
not require one on so extensive a scale, though the most important.”

“Well, what you require must be done. By-the-bye, Monsieur Soyer, you
are very fortunate in having had the honour of escorting Miss
Nightingale to the seat of war.”

“I am fully aware, my Lord, that it is a great honour.”

“The lady mentioned you in her letter to me, as well as Mr. Bracebridge,
whom I know very well. I went to Balaklava the other day to visit her.”

“So I heard; but Miss Nightingale was at the Sanatorium whilst your
lordship went to the General Hospital.”

“They could not tell me where she was--therefore I did not go to the
Sanatorium. I saw a poor lady who seems very ill. I told her she had
better take care of herself, and have some one to nurse her, instead of
nursing others. She spoke very good French, and a very lady-like person
she is.”

“I know whom your lordship means--the lady is Miss Wear.”

“I almost forget the name, but I believe that was it.”

Lord Raglan made many inquiries respecting Miss Nightingale, whose
character he seemed to admire very much. We then returned to business
matters. I expressed my desire to visit the hospital kitchens in the
camp, in company with some of the authorities. To this Lord Raglan
immediately acceded.

“No person could be better than Dr. Hall. Do you know him, Monsieur

“No, my Lord, I have not that pleasure; I called upon him twice, but
unfortunately he was out.”

“He lives close at hand, and I will send for him.”

I told Lord Raglan that I had just left his hut, and that he was
absent, but would be certain to be back by three or four o’clock.

“Very well; then you can settle that together.”

As I perceived that numbers of persons were waiting to see his lordship,
and that messages were continually being sent in, I said that I should
be happy to wait, and would call again.

“No, no, not at all,” said Lord Raglan; “if you were to wait, you might
do so for a month. What is that you have under your arm? Is it a cooking

“Yes, this is the model of the field stove I have invented, and which I
wish to submit for your lordship’s opinion and approval, by command of
Lord Panmure, who approved of it very highly. Mr. Brunel, the great
engineer, did the same. They are now in use in various hospitals,
particularly at Smyrna, and at Scutari, where they answer admirably.
They can also be used in the field, as they will cook either in or out
of doors. Those for out-of-door purposes only require to be made smaller
and lighter than the hospital ones.”

Having carefully explained the principle upon which it was constructed,
Lord Raglan thought it would answer perfectly, and asked, “Do you wish
to have them adopted immediately?”

“Not before you have seen them at work, my Lord.”

“Ah, that will do better.”

“I am expecting some of them shortly; in fact, they should have been
here before.”

“Well, you had better make inquiries about them, or they may be delayed
somewhere, as this happens almost every day.”

Several gentlemen were present when I explained the principle of the
stove, in which Lord Raglan seemed much interested, showing the model
and taking the trouble to explain its principle to them himself. Colonel
Symonds said, “Monsieur Soyer, I will go and fetch his Excellency Omer
Pacha; he is much interested in this kind of thing.”

“Do, Colonel,” said Lord Raglan. Then turning to me: “I am much pleased
with what I have seen, and have no doubt those stoves will prove a
great boon to the army; but mind, they must not be made too heavy, and
they must be adapted for companies. Neither must you forget the smaller
ones which I mentioned to you, for picket and outpost duty.” Omer Pacha
entered. “Now,” said Lord Raglan, “form your own opinion of Soyer’s
field stove, and let me know what you think of it.”

“Monsieur Soyer,” said Omer Pacha, “what have you good to eat there?”

“Nothing at present, your Excellency; but by-and-by, when my plans are
adopted, we shall be able to cook for and feed the army with ease.”

“Ah, this is a matter of great importance. Pray explain your plans to
me.” When I had done this, Omer Pacha said, “It will first be necessary
to have something to cook.”

The truth of the observation I respectfully admitted, with a low bow,
adding, “Your Excellency is right; but as the probability is that
something to be cooked never yet entirely failed, and in expectation of
better times coming, we confidently hope that the provisions for the
army will shortly be on the increase instead of the decrease. This hope
has induced me to invent this apparatus, of which, when its principle
has been fully explained, I have no doubt you will, with Lord Raglan,

“Monsieur Soyer, I have no doubt that, as regards cooking, you are a
very clever man; but if you could manage to cook a dinner out of
nothing, you would be more clever still.”

“Not having tried the experiment, I really cannot say whether I could do
so or not; but I will try, and then report progress to your Excellency.”

A hearty laugh from all present terminated this _petite plaisanterie_.
This brought to my mind the story of a very promising schoolboy, who,
when asked by a learned man whether he could speak Latin, replied, “I
cannot tell, sir.”

“Why can’t you tell, my boy?”

“Because I never tried, sir,” was the answer.

“At all events,” I continued, addressing Omer Pacha, “you will perceive
that if I cannot make something out of nothing, I am able to do a great
deal with a little, which in war-time is a very important matter.”

“Very true; but pray show me the interior of this little model.”

Having shown and explained the apparatus, Omer Pacha admitted its
practicability, and, after giving me a few hints on the Turkish system
of camp cookery, retired, followed by his staff, wishing me every
success. Lord Raglan met Omer Pacha in the passage, and they exchanged a
few words, which I could hear bore reference to the subject we had
discussed. I was leaving, when Lord Raglan re-entered.

“So you are going, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Yes, my Lord. I fear my visit has been too long.”

“No, not at all--this is rather a quiet day, and before you go I wish
you would be kind enough to look at my kitchen.”

“I shall be most happy to do so.”

“Do you know my cook?--his name is Armand--he is not a _cordon bleu_,
but he is a good man, and does his best with what he can get.”

“The French proverb _à la guerre comme à la guerre_ is very applicable
to the circumstances--nay, rather too much so to permit one to hope to
obtain a good dinner.”

“Very true,” said Lord Raglan; “and we are really so tired of those
preserved meats.”

“Indeed; but some of them are not bad.”

“The great fault is, that the meat is always overdone. How do you
account for that, Monsieur Soyer?”

“If it were not so, they would not keep. When I was sent for to Deptford
to report upon Golding’s preserved meats--which, no doubt, your lordship

“I do, indeed; they were too bad to be forgotten.”

“I assure your lordship the fault was more in the cooking than in the
bad quality of the meat--some of which I found in a state of liquid
putrefaction. No doubt, the meat was not of prime quality, and many
improper things were introduced. Nevertheless, if the articles had been
properly preserved, they would have been found as sweet when taken out
as when they were put in. For example, the entrails of any animal might
be enclosed in these tin cases in the state in which they came from the
animal, and, if well preserved, upon opening them a couple of years
after, they would be found pretty much in their original state,
excepting being slightly discoloured by the cooking--but whole, and not
in a liquid state, as those were. The meat was, therefore, either not
cooked enough, or some atmospheric air had remained in it which caused

“Could not any other way of preserving be introduced?”

“Many experiments have been tried, but almost all proved unsuccessful.
I, at one time, made several myself, the results of some of which I
submitted to Captain Miles, Admiral Berkeley, Sir Charles Napier, &c.,
and they were found very good. They were then about a month old, but the
time the government wished for the test was a twelvemonth. I was certain
they would keep any length of time, but as I was then very much engaged
at the Reform Club, and also writing my cookery-book, _The Modern
Housewife_, I did not pursue it further. The principal improvement in my
method was the omission of the liquids previously introduced, either
broth or water. I only put the meat in well seasoned, and left it to
cook slowly in its own gravy; and when opened, it turned out surrounded
by a firm jelly, and cut solid.”

“I should advise you to turn your immediate attention to that subject.”

“I will, my Lord, as soon as time permits. I shall now go and see your
kitchen, and pay a visit to your _chef de cuisine_.”

“Pray do, and see whether you can contrive to improve it. I believe it
is a very bad one, for he is always complaining. When you return, lunch
will be upon the table, and you can take some refreshment.”

Thanking Lord Raglan for his extreme kindness, I took my leave. I was
anxious to see Colonel Steele, to inform him of the result of my
interview; but as he was out, I proceeded to the kitchen, which was
some distance from the house, across the courtyard. The _chef_ had gone
to Kamiesch to market: I therefore postponed my visit, and returned to
the dining-room to take some refreshment. Afterwards I went in search of
Doctor Hall, whom at last I had the good fortune to find at home, if
such a small place could be called a home. It was about ten feet square,
and the height of a sentry-box, affording about enough room for four
persons to stand up in, and only for two to sit down. This _petit
châlet_ was for all that nicely furnished, and the spot where most of
the hospital business was transacted both for the East and the Crimea,
it being the general head-quarters for the various medical departments.
Such was the habitation, office, and château of the present Sir John

At the door I was received by his major-domo, a Frenchman named Louis, a
very intelligent man, and one as well known in the camp from his
extraordinary look, shrewdness, eccentricity, and style of riding, as
the doctor himself. On alighting, Louis took my horse by the bridle, and
walking to the entrance, introduced me to the doctor, who was very busy
writing. He got up and requested me to enter, which I did.

“Pray be seated, Monsieur Soyer--I am very happy to see you. I heard of
your arrival, and also of your former visits.”

“To-day, doctor, I have been more fortunate.”

“You see, Monsieur Soyer, I have so many places to visit every day,
particularly in the morning, that I am very seldom at home.”

I could but smile at the word “home,” which, as my readers will
understand by my description, was but a humble one. Such was the general
amount of luxury in the establishments in the Crimea.

“As I am aware, doctor, of the value of your time, do not let me disturb
you in the least. A few minutes will settle our business. First of all,
I have a letter of introduction from Dr. Cumming.”

“Let me see it.”

It contained only a few lines, and was to the following effect:--

To DR. HALL, _Chief of the Medical Department, Crimea_.

     DEAR SIR,--Monsieur Soyer, who you are well aware has rendered us
     important service in the culinary department of our hospitals on
     the Bosphorus, prior to going to the Crimea begs of me to give him
     a letter of introduction to you. Hoping that his services may prove
     as successful in the Crimea as they have been here,

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

When Dr. Hall had read the letter, and expressed his satisfaction at the
contents, I related the result of my interview with the
Commander-in-chief, and my desire to visit the camp hospitals with the
doctor at his earliest convenience. Dr. Hall immediately fixed the next
day for the purpose, and kindly offered to send a pony for me about
eight the next morning.

After having exchanged the usual compliments, we parted. Before I left,
the doctor called Louis and gave him the order for the pony. As it was
only three o’clock, and I had a few hours to spare, I felt inclined to
visit the French camp, in order to compare their system of cooking with
that in use among the English, as well as to make some inquiries about
their provisions.

The French head-quarters did not bear the slightest resemblance to the
English. The pile was entirely constructed of wood, and thus gave a wide
scope to the architects to distinguish themselves in the modern science
of joining and building, and to render as convenient and comfortable as
possible this seat of important business transactions. It was in fact a
well-built village, of which the General-in-chief was the lord; and,
though not gaudy, still luxuriously comfortable, with every department
distinct and well arranged. This was, to a certain extent, the case at
the English head-quarters, but a farm did not afford sufficient space
and accommodation. At the commencement of the campaign, it was no
uncommon thing for a general to rest from the fatigues of war in a
small dilapidated room, something like a good-sized English pig-sty.

The French head-quarters, like the English, were surrounded by the staff
and principal business offices, which, though answering the same
purpose, presented quite a different appearance. In the arrangement of
the offices and the manners of the inhabitants, one could in fact
distinguish France from England, and England from France.

The vicinity was well guarded--several regiments being encamped round
that select group of habitations. It was only with a silver key one
could open the doors of the field kitchens and _popottes_, which key was
always to be found at the regimental canteen. A few bottles of wine,
glasses of absinthe or vermouth, were enough to initiate me in less than
two hours in all that I required to know relating to my mission.

After settling my account with three or four coquettish and
cavalier-like _vivandières_, wishing them all the commercial prosperity
imaginable, and shaking hands with several companies of the various
regiments, including those of the Imperial Guard, who had just arrived,
I cheerfully retired with the gratification of having conquered a
portion of the _élite_ of the French armies--of course, I only mean in
pure friendship. Moreover, I gained most honourable titles, from
lieutenant to captain, colonel, and now and then general. At all events,
my passport through that important part of the French camp was signed by
several hundreds of those brave fellows, as well as by innumerable
smiles from the fair and dark heroines, the _cantinières_ of the first
French division. With a promise to return soon, I retired, having
experienced much gratification and enriched my budget of anecdote.

In this interesting visit to the French camp, head-quarters, canteens,
&c., and becoming well acquainted with the officers’ and soldiers’
_popottes_--which name I immediately added to my gastronomic bill of
fare--the three hours I had to spare nearly expired. The sun was
rapidly descending to the level of the ocean in the direction of

Having paid my bill at the canteen, and shaken hands with nearly a whole
regiment, I jumped on my pony and galloped all the way home, perfectly
satisfied with my day’s work, which at the time I felt was one of the
most interesting of my life.



     Miss Nightingale dangerously ill--Her removal to the
     Sanatorium--Worst form of Crimean fever--General
     consternation--Conversation with the Captain--Better news--Visit
     the Sanatorium--Disembarkation of the Sardinians--Bridge over the
     _London_--Admiral Boxer--Act as interpreter--Overwhelmed with
     complaints--Soda-water for horses--All right at last--Alexandrian
     horse-flesh--A character--An interesting ride--The General
     Hospital--Reasons for my return to Turkey--Letters--Head-quarters
     again--Lord Raglan’s anxiety for Miss Nightingale--Return to
     Balaklava--Admiral Boxer and the Sardinians--All in the
     wrong--Quieted at last.

Alas! how short are the moments in which real happiness favours us with
its charms, and how quickly it deserts one in the midst of mirth and
joy! On this eventful day, I was doomed to experience the truth of the
saying that “sorrow treads upon the heels of joy;” for I had scarcely
set my foot upon the deck of the _London_, when P. M. came and apprised
me that Miss Nightingale was not expected to live. It appeared that
after my departure she had a terrible attack of fever, and was obliged
to be immediately removed to the hospital. On asking to which
establishment this excellent lady had been taken, I was told the
Sanatorium. P. M. continued, “Several doctors, Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge,
and myself, accompanied her there--I have only been back a few minutes.”

“Why did you not take her to the General Hospital? It was much nearer.”

“Don’t you know that cholera is raging there?”

“There certainly are a few cases. Do you think I can do anything for

“No, I am sure you cannot; she is not allowed to take anything, and the
doctors have forbidden any one to be admitted, except her private nurse,
Mrs. Roberts.”

It was then getting late--Mr. Bracebridge had not returned. The captain
and P. M. gave me a full account of this lamentable event. It appeared
that about noon Miss Wear had come on board to see Miss Nightingale upon
business. She found that lady very poorly, but thinking it was a slight
indisposition, took no notice of it, more especially as Miss Nightingale
did not complain in the least. About two, by the orders of Mrs. Roberts,
they were obliged to send in a great hurry for a doctor. Mrs. Roberts
stated that her mistress had been suddenly taken dangerously ill--that
she was in fact attacked by the worst form of Crimean fever. The first
thing ordered by the doctor was her instant removal to the hospital on
the heights.

“So,” said the captain, who was relating this part of the sad history,
“I set all my men to work. We got a stretcher from the hospital, and she
was carried very carefully by my men and some soldiers sent by the

“I followed through Balaklava,” said P. M., “amidst a regular procession
of soldiers, holding a white umbrella over her face. The crowd was so
great, we could scarcely pass, and it took us nearly an hour to get up
to the heights. I assure you, all Balaklava was in an uproar.”

“What do the doctors say of the case?”

“That the lady is dangerously ill, and that no one must go near her, not
even Mr. Bracebridge.”

“What mournful tidings!” I said. “I should not be surprised if she
caught the fever from the patient at Dr. Henderson’s. I warned her of
the danger of exposing herself so much several times.”

“By-the-bye, where is Mr. Bracebridge?”

“I left him there.”

“Does he intend to come back, or stay where he is?”

“I don’t know, but I do not see what good he can do there.”

“I hope we shall hear better news when he returns.”

“Now, Mr. Soyer, tell us about your visit to head-quarters. Did you see
Lord Raglan?”

“Certainly I did.”

“And how were you received?” asked the captain.

“Admirably,” I replied.

“I hear his lordship is a most amiable and kind man.”

“He is indeed, I assure you; and I cannot but express my gratitude for
the reception he afforded me. I am certain he will be very sorry to hear
of Miss Nightingale’s serious and sudden illness, for he inquired very
kindly after her this morning.”

My companions made many more inquiries respecting the events of the day;
but I had forgotten all, I was so absorbed by this unexpected blow. It
seemed likely to upset all our plans. I spoke to the captain of the
several visits Miss Nightingale had paid to the sick officer at Dr.
Henderson’s at the time he was so dangerously ill, remarking upon her
neglect of herself by going all day without refreshment, and braving all
weathers. We could not help noticing how singular it appeared, that
after her hard labours at Scutari, and escaping both the cholera and
fevers which raged there, she should be so suddenly taken ill at
Balaklava. It was indeed very melancholy and remarkable. At last Mr.
Bracebridge returned. He informed us that Miss Nightingale was a little
better, but that such a violent case of fever required a certain time.
“Mrs. Roberts,” he continued, “is with her, and the boy to go for the
doctor, in case he should be needed.”

“Poor boy!” said the captain, “how he cried when he saw his mistress
carried upon a stretcher by soldiers!”

“Yes,” said Mr. Bracebridge, “he is a very affectionate lad.”

After a few questions about my visit to Lord Raglan, being all very much
fagged, we retired for the night. Upon that occasion, owing to excessive
fatigue and the absence of rats, which had at length been successfully
turned out of my cabin without making use of my receipt, I enjoyed a
comfortable night’s rest. The next morning, at eight precisely, Louis
was at his post with the pony, of which I could not, however, make use,
not knowing what alteration Miss Nightingale’s illness might cause at
both hospitals, where, no doubt, my presence would be required. I sent
Dr. Hall a note, apologizing for not waiting upon him that day, and
postponing our visit to the day following, if agreeable to him. Louis
promised to send me an answer at five o’clock by the doctor’s courier.
No news had been received at the General Hospital from the Sanatorium;
therefore Mr. Bracebridge and myself went up the first thing, instead of
going to Mr. Upton, as we had previously arranged. On our arrival, the
report was anything but favourable; and this seemed to paralyse all our
energies. Indeed, for a few days no business of consequence was
transacted. My kitchen at the Sanatorium alone progressed. I offered my
services to Drs. Henderson and Hadley, in case I could be of use to Miss
Nightingale. Dr. Henderson said, “I am the only cook she requires at
present. We must wait nearly a week before I can leave her in your
hands, even should her illness take a favourable turn.” I then begged of
him to give me his private opinion of her state.

“She is suffering, I assure you, Monsieur Soyer, from as bad an attack
of fever as I have seen; but I should say the chances are in her favour,
because she does not fret in the slightest degree, but is perfectly

On calling at the General Hospital for Dr. Hall’s reply, I found that he
had fixed the same time the next day for our visit. We then returned on
board the _London_. Many inquiries respecting Miss Nightingale had been
made by almost all the authorities, amongst whom were Sir John Macneil,
Captain Tulloch, Admiral Boxer, the Governor, Commissary Filder, and Dr.
Sutherland. The latter went at once to see her. Finding she had all
proper attention, he came in the evening, and requested us to leave her
as quiet as possible. He told Mr. Bracebridge on no account to go near
her, not even if sent for, as any excitement might be fatal. This
request was of course punctually attended to.

The remainder of the Sardinian army had now arrived. The disembarkation
kept the harbour in a constant bustle, morning, noon, and night. It
was, in fact, a real maritime bivouac, and our vessel very much
resembled the famed metropolis from which it takes its name. During the
night a strong bridge was built over it, communicating with the shore on
the one side, and one of the Sardinian ships, which had been towed
alongside, on the other. This was made for the purpose of landing men
and horses. At five in the morning I was up and on deck, as from the
noise it was impossible to sleep. The first person on board was Admiral
Boxer, as busy as could be, giving his orders. On seeing me, he inquired
about Miss Nightingale.

“What a good job,” said he, “they were able to remove her from here!”

“You are right, admiral. I perceive you are about to put the troops from
one of the vessels on shore.”

“From one, say you? I am landing the whole of the Sardinian army, and
some of our own troops besides.”

“At any rate, I think this is one of the greatest curiosities of the
Crimean war.”

“Why?” asked the admiral, talking to twenty others at the time.

“Why, admiral, pray who would have thought of seeing while in the Crimea
a Sardinian army cross London Bridge?”

“Ha! ha! ha! true enough; that’s not bad; singular things are seen and
done in time of war. What do you think of their soldiers, Monsieur

“Fine fellows!”

“They are fine fellows. But I wish they spoke English--we should get on
much quicker.”

“I’ll speak to them for you, if you like, admiral.”

“Ah, to be sure, so you can.”

I immediately set about acting as interpreter between the English
admiral and the Sardinian captains. In his anxiety to get rid of them as
quickly as possible, Admiral Boxer asked whether they had pretty much
what they required; a question which brought about ten complainants on
deck, who surrounded me. One had no hay, barley, or water for his
horses. They all spoke at the same time, and made a hubbub which could
only be feebly imitated at the Paris Stock Exchange.

“What’s all this row about? This will never do,” said the admiral. “Pray
don’t tell them who I am, or they will bother my life out.”

“I have told them, and that’s why they are making such a row. I asked
them, as you wished me, whether they had everything they wanted.”

“I said pretty much what they wanted.”

“I know you did, admiral, and so I told them; but they say they don’t
know the meaning of that.”

“Tell them they are fine fellows--fine fellows, and that there is a
beautiful camp ready for them, where they will find everything they
require, without any drawback. I will send lots of men to wait upon them
directly; but they must get out of the harbour before night.”

General della Marmora sent for the admiral; so he left me to settle the
matter, which I did in a very few words.

“My dear fellows,” said I to them, “your valuable services will be much
better appreciated by your sovereign and General-in-chief if you put up
with a little inconvenience for the present, and remain quiet, than if,
on the contrary, you are too particular.”

“Do you know, monsieur, that our horses have not had a drop of water

“Colonel,” said I, “I am not at all surprised at that; and more, you
must put up with it.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Simply because you can’t get it, unless you like to do as I did
yesterday--give them soda-water.”

“Do you mean to say there is no water at all in this grand vessel?”

“None, except soda-water.”

“Eh bien,” said another, “give de soda-water alors.”

“What, for the horses?”

“Oui, for the chevals!”

“Here, my man,” said I to one of the crew, “tell the steward to bring a
dozen of soda-water for the colonel’s horse. Mind, colonel, it costs a
shilling a bottle; but, as you are a good customer, and take a dozen, no
doubt he will let you have it cheaper.”

“I will not pay a sou for this bubbling water. I know what you mean. It
fizzes like champagne, but it is not good to drink. The horses will
never touch it. I thought it was spring-water that you called

At all events, the soda-water was brought, to the great annoyance of the
colonel, who thought he should have to pay for it; but I sent for some
sherry and a few glasses, and we drank a bottle or two, instead of
giving it to the horses, to the great gratification of the colonel, who,
after partaking of it, said he liked it much better with sherry than
brandy. About twenty banabaks soon after arrived with water in skins and
leathern horse-buckets. The horses were properly watered; and thus ended
the Sardinian revolt in the harbour of Balaklava, on the 14th of May, in
the year 1855, beneath the ruins of the Genoese Tower and fortifications
built by their ancestors.

The Sardinian troops and horses soon after crossed new London Bridge; by
eight o’clock I was mounting my horse to go and meet Dr. Hall. The
troops that had then landed were in full march towards their very
picturesque camp at the top of the mountain; a band of music was playing
at their head, and their artillery train and baggage-waggons followed.
The weather was brilliant, and the heat of the sun intense. Louis was
mounted upon a fine black horse, which the doctor had brought from
Alexandria. Nobody but Louis could ride him, on account of his tricks.
His appearance was worthy of the finest circus in the world for the
performance of the high school of equitation. To this splendid animal
Louis owed his reputation and popularity; and, as he lived at
head-quarters, all the Staff knew him. It is hardly possible to describe
his personal appearance. He was short in stature, with extraordinary
large ears; his long moustaches, hair, and eyebrows were between the
colour of a canary bird and that of the dun pony I was riding. His dress
was of a similar colour, with the exception of his cap, which was, if
possible, of an intenser yellow. This contrast of colours in an
individual mounted upon such a splendid charger, caused him to be
remarked by every one throughout the camp.

Our ride seemed very short, for Louis, who is a very clever fellow, was
full of anecdote, and related some that were really very amusing. He
spoke several languages, frequently mingling one with another. He spoke
his own language, the French, worse than any other, he had been so long
away from his native land. He was present at the battles of Alma,
Balaklava, Inkermann, and the Tchernaya, where his charger was wounded
close to the Traktir Bridge, he, as usual during an action, keeping in
close attendance on his brave master, more especially if danger was
imminent; and no better fate had he at the battle of Inkermann, where he
was seriously wounded in the leg, and the traces of both wounds are, I
regret to say, still apparent. On the eve of my departure from the seat
of war, I, out of veneration for this once splendid charger, purchased
him of his owner, who would probably have been obliged to abandon his
faithful steed to the tender mercies of the hungry inhabitants, who,
doubtless, had they got him in their clutches, would have given him a
dressing _à la Tartare_, or perhaps converted his body into those
suspicious articles of food, sausages. On his voyage home, in charge of
a careful groom, Neptune had no more respect for this four-legged hero
than for the commonest quadruped; for not only was he pitched, bit, and
tossed about in all directions, but worse still, when the ship
_Clarendon_ arrived off Cadiz, she struck on a sunken rock, and the most
valueless animals were thrown overboard; but “Inkermann,” with his usual
luck, in spite of Mars and Neptune, escaped the plunge taken by his less
fortunate companions, and is now in London, enjoying, as hitherto, his
full feed, though in the profoundest retirement, having sold out of the
army. Louis spoke very highly of his master, and never seemed to be
pleased or displeased at anything--good news, bad, or indifferent, were
all the same to him. If you said to him, “The weather is very bad,” he
would answer, “I have nothing to do with that, no more than if it were
fine.” On asking him, at our first interview, if he was a Frenchman,
“Of course I am,” he replied; “all my family were Frenchmen.” I must say
that, with all his eccentricity, he was very obliging; and I feel very
grateful for the kind attentions he paid me, particularly during my
serious illness, when he often visited me. Upon our arrival, the
doctor’s horse was at the door, and his master soon made his appearance.

“Good morning, Doctor! I fear we are behind time.”

“I can always employ my time here,” said he, looking at his watch; “you
are only a few minutes late.”

We then, started. Louis asked whether he was to accompany us; to which
the doctor answered, “No: I expect Dr. Henderson from Balaklava, so be
in the way; tell him we are gone to the General Hospital.”

During our ride, I told my companion about the Sardinian insurrection
near our new London Bridge, which seemed to amuse him very much. He
informed me that Miss Nightingale had passed a better night, but was far
from being out of danger. The cannon of Sebastopol made a fearful noise.

“Have you seen Sebastopol yet, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Yes, I have, Doctor, and was rather close, too!” and I related our
Nightingale campaign.

“To-day you will have another view, quite as good, though not so

We then began talking upon business, and I was speaking of my having
visited the military and civil hospitals in France, when Dr. Henderson
galloped after us, and a conversation ensued relative to the arrival of
the armies, and the fact that many of the men had been attacked by
fever, before their hospitals were ready. Dr. Hall decided upon a course
of action, and we alighted at the General Hospital. The doctor, Mr.
Mouatt, was unfortunately out, but was expected back shortly. Dr.
Henderson left us, and I accompanied Dr. Hall round several huts. He
visited all the worst cases, which were at that time very numerous. We
then repaired to the kitchen, which, as I have before said, was far from
being equal to the requirements of such an immense hospital. It was in
the open air, and ill provided with things necessary for the
establishment. Having pointed this out to Dr. Hall, he immediately
agreed that one similar to that at the Sanatorium should be erected; but
Dr. Mouatt was not present. The want of materials and of workmen was so
great, that, previous to its erection, I was obliged to leave the Crimea
and return to Scutari for a short time. My head man there had been taken
ill, and his life was, as he thought, in great danger. Several times
prior to my return he had threatened to run away, which would quite have
upset all my former efforts.

I remained in the Crimea about ten days longer, and my reader will
perceive that every minute of my time was occupied. I devoted some of it
to the most important hospital of all--the one before Sebastopol; a plan
for the improvement of which I immediately made and forwarded to the
proper parties, so much was I impressed with the necessity of having a
kitchen erected immediately. Fearing that I should be obliged to leave
the Crimea for Scutari before it could be even commenced, the day after
my visit I wrote two official letters, one to Lord Raglan, and the other
to Dr. Hall. The General-in-chief and Dr. Hall had both visited the
spot, and agreed with me that it was one of the most important hospitals
in the East. It was situated under the very walls of Sebastopol, subject
to a divided attack, or to a _sortie_, and might at any moment be
suddenly encumbered with a large number of wounded, requiring a great
quantity of nutritious articles, more particularly beverages, after any
surgical operation. In reply I received the following communications:--

BEFORE SEVASTOPOL, _30th May, 1855_.

     SIR,--I am directed by Lord Raglan to acknowledge the receipt of
     your several communications of the 25th and 28th instants, and to
     express to you his lordship’s thanks for the valuable information
     contained therein.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
_Lieut.-Col., Military Sec._

     Mons. Soyer.

     MY DEAR MR. SOYER,--I have this day received your letter of the
     22nd June, and am much obliged to you for your thoughtful care of
     our wants in the all-important business of cooking for both sick
     and well. Our new hospital is nearly fit for the reception of
     patients; but you know how tedious the want of labor makes
     everything here. I was out at the Monastery yesterday, and was glad
     to see that they had commenced on the kitchen, and were going to
     fit it up after your excellent model at the Castle.

Very truly yours,

     _5th July, 1855._

I also had several interviews with Dr. Mouatt, who took my suggestion
during my absence in hand, but never apparently succeeded in carrying it
out, although the materials requisite were simply planks, nails, and

I merely advert to the foregoing in answer to some observations that
were wafted about the camp to the effect that I never took much trouble
about this particular hospital, while in reality it was the very first
which attracted my attention, as the above letters will convince my

Upon our return from the hospital to head-quarters, I called at Colonel
Steele’s. Lord Raglan was just going out, and the first question he
asked, even before I had time to pay my respects, was--“How is poor Miss

“A little better to-day. Dr. Henderson, whom I have just seen, says she
has passed a better night.”

“Well, I hope she has; I shall pay her a visit as soon as possible--that
is, when she is a little better. Was she ill at all at Scutari?”

“Not, my Lord, while I was there, and, I think, not before. It is rather
remarkable that she should catch the Crimean fever just after her

I told Lord Raglan of her imprudence in visiting a patient at Dr.
Henderson’s, who had been attacked by the worst form of Crimean fever;
also, of her remaining out so late, and not taking any refreshment.

“She appears,” said Lord Raglan, “to have no fear.”

“None whatever.”

I recounted her visit to the three-gun battery, and the scene that took
place upon the centre mortar. Lord Raglan remarked--“It should be
called the Nightingale mortar.”

He then jumped upon his horse, and I had but a few minutes to explain
the result of my visit with Dr. Hall to the various hospitals. I
mentioned that the most important thing was the immediate erection of a
kitchen for the General Hospital, in case of a decided attack upon

“Very true, Monsieur Soyer,” said Lord Raglan.

I stated that I had addressed a letter to his lordship to that effect.

“Yes, I have seen it, and it shall be attended to.”

Lord Raglan and his staff then started in the direction of the French
head-quarters, and I towards Balaklava, where I arrived about dusk. I
left my pony at the General Hospital, and walked to the opposite side of
the harbour, which I had in the morning left all in confusion, and, to
my astonishment, found quiet and almost deserted. The only person I saw
was Admiral Boxer, who came and thanked me for the assistance I had
given him in the morning.

“Don’t mention it, admiral,” said I; “I shall at all times be happy to
do everything in my power to render myself agreeable to you. Pray tell
me, where are they all gone?”

“To their camp, to be sure.”

“What--regiments, horses, and all?”

“Yes, the vessels alongside this morning have not only discharged their
cargoes, but are, I believe, out of the harbour and anchored in the bay.
We shall have two more in, which must be discharged to-morrow.”

“This silence is almost inconceivable after so much noise and bustle.”

“It is,” said the admiral. “I don’t understand those Sardinians, they
speak so fast and loud; but they are fine fellows for all that, and no

The words were hardly out of his mouth, when two Sardinians attached to
the commissariat came towards us, and inquired whether we understood
French or Italian. I informed them that I spoke French.

“Then, pray, sir, can you tell us where to find ce diable d’amiral

“What do they say?” asked Admiral Boxer, addressing me.

“Nothing particular,” I replied. “Gentlemen,” said I, turning to the
Sardinians, “what could the admiral do for you? It is very probable that
I shall have the pleasure of seeing him this evening.”

The one who had as yet scarcely spoken exclaimed--“A truce to the
pleasure! I wish I could get hold of him, I would tell him my mind in a
few words.”

“Pray be calm, gentlemen.”

All this time Admiral Boxer kept asking--“What do they say? They are
speaking about me, I know they are. Tell them they are a fine set of
fellows, and I will do anything for them, but they must be out by
to-morrow night.”

“Very well; but first let me inquire what the row is all about.”

“Do so.”

“Now, gentlemen, what is it you want? for here is a person who can do as
much for you as the admiral himself, and perhaps more.”

“Ah, pray ask him, then.”

“But you have not yet told me what you require.”

“Eh bien!” they said, both speaking at once, “pray, my friend, ask this
gentleman to tell the English admiral to postpone the order for our
landing to-morrow morning till the next day. It is impossible for us to
land our men and horses so early. We have above four hundred horses on
board; not half of which have been watered to-day, nor can they be, till
we find some water. There is only a small pump to draw it from the hold
of the vessel, and it takes hours to water a few horses.”

Having explained this their chief trouble to the admiral, he said--“Tell
them there will be plenty of water for them by four o’clock in the

When I had done so, they inquired whether they could depend upon that
gentleman’s word. I assured them that they might.

“With respect to the other matters, we ought to see the admiral

“Oh, don’t trouble yourself; I will do the rest for you.”

This was merely a request concerning themselves. I did not like to
trouble the admiral about it, and I thought the best way to get rid of
them was to show them his flag-ship, telling them they might go there if
they liked, but that it was a hundred to one if they found him on board.

“No, no!” said one of them; “it is dinner-time, and the English like
their dinner too well; he is sure to be at home, so we will go and see.”
Having their boat with them, they went across.

The admiral asked--“What do they want besides the water for their

“Oh, they were inquiring about the camp.”

I then related all our conversation, at which the admiral laughed
heartily, saying he could understand some of it, but they spoke so very

“When they come on board to-morrow, they will be sure to recognise me.”

“Oh no! having only seen you in the dark, they will not know you again;
and I shall be there. Don’t trouble yourself; they will be quiet enough
when they get all they want, and they have a very fine camp.”

“Have you seen it?”

“No, admiral, not yet.”

“Then you ought to go and see it; they are building a large hospital
there. Mind, they have reason to complain. I am aware they ought to have
more time; but see what a fleet I have in such a small harbour, and
every day there are more troops coming. Perhaps an expedition of our own
troops will sail shortly, so I must be prepared for everything. That is
what has kept me on this side of the harbour to-night; besides, I wished
to see how they were going on with the new quay.”

“You have done wonders, admiral, on this side of the harbour since my

“Remember, Monsieur Soyer, we cannot always do as we like. We are not in
England.” We parted for the night.



     Dinner on board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_--Bread-biscuit--Good news
     of Miss Nightingale--Operations at the Sanatorium kitchen--A
     borrowed pony--Don’t lose the saddle--No police nor
     newspapers--Difficulties at Balaklava--Dry vegetables in cake--A
     receipt--Promise of support--A new mother--Mrs. Seacole’s
     enthusiasm--The lady’s sons--Advice--My pony lost--A friend in
     need--Mr. Russell--Mr. Angel--Crimean _Hue and Cry_--Useless
     inquiries--Monsieur Armand’s difficulties--A dinner at the
     Post-office--A jovial party--Festivity and song--Break up at last.

On reaching the _London_, I found Mr. Bracebridge dressed and waiting
for me to go and dine on board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_, with Sir John
Macneil and Captain Tulloch. We had that evening a most interesting
conversation on all kinds of army stores and provisions. Sir John, who
took a vital interest in my mission, gave me several important hints,
and I submitted my opinion of the salt as well as fresh meats--fresh and
dried vegetables, and especially the bread, which at that period arrived
daily from Constantinople, but which, in consequence of its being
sometimes put on board ship before it had got quite cool, lost a great
deal of its nutritive quality during the passage. Had it been made in
the Crimea of the same materials, it would have been very good. I was
informed that bakeries were to be established. I told Sir John that I
had made a kind of bread-biscuit, somewhat like common bread, but baked
in flat cakes about twelve times the size of an ordinary biscuit; it
would keep for months, and then eat well, though rather dry; it would
soak well in tea, coffee, or soup, and be very palatable; it was made of
three parts flour and one of peameal, and was reported upon by the
medical gentlemen as being very nutritious and wholesome. A few days
later I had the pleasure of showing some to those gentlemen, and they
both highly approved of it. I afterwards had some made on board the
_Abundance_. I submitted it to them, and they pronounced it

The evening we spent on board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_ will not be soon
forgotten. After a short nautical and nocturnal trip upon the water, we
arrived safely in our old _London_. On our way to the _Baraguay
d’Hilliers_, Mr. Bracebridge informed me that Miss Nightingale was
pronounced out of danger, and that the news had been telegraphed to
London. The medical men were of opinion that she should return to
Scutari, and after a few days’ rest proceed to England. Although out of
danger, she would not be able to quit Balaklava for eight or ten days.
The next morning, at seven o’clock, I was at the Sanatorium kitchen,
which was finished. I set my soldier-cooks to work, and all went on
admirably. It was then ten o’clock, so I called upon Dr. Hadley (the
chief doctor at the Sanatorium, who had succeeded Dr. Henderson, and to
both of these gentlemen I must return my sincere thanks for their
assistance and kindness), and requested him to come and taste some extra
diets and soups I had prepared for the convalescents. Recollecting that
I had not called upon Lord Raglan’s _chef de cuisine_, I mentioned the
circumstance to Dr. Hadley, stating how much I wished to do so, but that
I had no horse. Dr. Hadley very kindly offered me his pony, a fine grey,
smartly caparisoned, which I at once accepted. When I had mounted, Dr.
Hadley said--“Soyer, if you fall off, mind and get up again; for,” said
he, “joking apart, though the pony is very quiet, recollect the road to
Balaklava is a queer one, therefore take care of yourself. We should not
mind so much if we had done with, you; but as we really require your
services, for our own sakes take care of yourself.”

“I will do so,” said I, laughing, “were it only for the sake of your
pony, which might get loose if I were to fall off, and you might not
recover him again.”

“Never mind the pony,” said he: “you may lose him; but, whatever you do,
don’t lose the saddle. We had better have a bit of supper on your return
this evening, off that Yorkshire ham--you can cook it on your bivouac

“So we will, Doctor. I shall be back at six.”

“Don’t stay in the camp after dark; I can assure you it is a very
dangerous place. Robberies and murders are of frequent occurrence,
though we hear but little about them. We have no police, and no
newspapers are published here, so we know nothing but what passes in our
own circle.”

“You are perfectly right, Doctor; though I am not afraid, as I never
travel without a revolver; yet it is best to be upon the safe side.”

Having fixed upon six o’clock for my return, and seven for supper, I
started. There were about twenty convalescents outside the wards,
enjoying the warmth of the sun’s rays. They were all in high glee at
hearing our dialogue, which seemed to revive them from a state of
lethargy to the consciousness of life.

The ride from the top of the Genoese heights to Balaklava harbour, by a
new road, through mud, over rocks, rivulets, &c., and mounted upon a
strange nag, was anything but pleasant to my feelings as a horseman. At
all events, after numerous slippery evolutions on the part of my new
charger, I found myself safe at the bottom of the ravine; but here
another difficulty presented itself. The quay of the harbour was
encumbered with French and Sardinian waggons, mules, and horses. The
French, who had a wine depôt there for the troops, were strongly
fortified with about a hundred pipes of wine, instead of gabions. So
crowded was the road from the immense traffic and the unloading of
shipping stores, that it took me nearly half-an-hour to ride a few
hundred yards. This brought me as far as the Commissariat, where I had
to call upon Commissary Filder. I found that he had just returned from
head-quarters. We had about ten minutes’ conversation upon business. I
related the result of my visit to the various provision stores--made
remarks upon the same, and particularly upon the dry vegetables at that
time issued to the troops. He then referred me to Under-Commissary
Adams, to whom I promised a scale for a fresh composition of dry
vegetables in cake, more suitable for the troops, in lieu of the finer
and more expensive quality then issued in boxes. They were composed of
one vegetable only, and were much too highly dried, having thus lost
their aroma as well as their nutritious qualities. I therefore proposed
that the firm of Messrs. Chollet, in Paris, should prepare a sample of
cakes of dried vegetables, to be called coarse julienne, for the army.
Each hundredweight of fresh vegetables was to consist of the following

Twenty pounds of carrots, twenty pounds of turnips, ten of parsnips,
fifteen of onions, twenty of cabbage, five of celery, and ten of leeks;
with one pound of aromatic seasoning, composed of four ounces of thyme,
four of winter savory, two of bayleaf, four of pepper, and an ounce of
cloves; the whole to be pulverized and mixed with the vegetables.

Each cake was to serve for one hundred men, and to be marked in
compartments of ten rations each, like chocolate cakes, instead of being
marked upon the wrapper, which is always torn off when the vegetables
are issued, and the soldiers cannot tell about quantity. This plan will
obviate that evil; for I had seen in camp piles of this excellent
vegetable rising pyramidically from the soldiers’ canteen pan while
cooking, in consequence of their having put in the best part of three
days’ rations instead of one. The dry rations are issued for three days
at a time.

My proposition having met with the approval of the authorities, was at
once forwarded to the War Office.

I also promised to submit to Commissary Filder’s notice several plans
for improvement in the distribution of the meat.

“Monsieur Soyer,” said he, “anything you may propose or point out as an
improvement will, so far as it is practicable, be carried out. Lose no
time; the sooner you let us have it the better.”

After this interview, I went to inspect the kitchen, where I saw Mr.
Fitzgerald, the purveyor, to whom I also made my report. As this is the
first time I have had the pleasure of introducing this gentleman to the
notice of my readers, it would be an omission on my part were I not to
return my grateful acknowledgments for the readiness with which he at
all times assisted me to obtain what I required for the hospitals in the
Crimea. It is true he was at first rather reluctant; this I attributed
to his not having received the proper instructions from the authorities.

Having the best part of the day before me, I set off at a gallop towards
head-quarters, intending to keep the promise I had made Lord Raglan
respecting his dilapidated culinary department, and also to make the
acquaintance of M. Armand, his _chef de cuisine_. As I was not well
acquainted with the road across the country, I made up my mind to follow
the high one which passes close to head-quarters. When about half-way, I
perceived a group of officers standing by the road-side round a kind of
tent much like a gipsy tent, but considerably larger. This excited my
interest, and I was riding towards it, when, to my astonishment, several
voices called out--“Soyer! Soyer! come here--come this way!” I readily
complied with the invitation, and found two or three gentlemen whom I
had the pleasure of knowing. During our conversation, an old dame of a
jovial appearance, but a few shades darker than the white lily, issued
from the tent, bawling out, in order to make her voice heard above the
noise, “Who is my new son?” to which one of the officers replied,
“Monsieur Soyer, to be sure; don’t you know him?”

“God bless me, my son, are you Monsieur Soyer of whom I heard so much in
Jamaica? Well, to be sure! I have sold many and many a score of your
Relish and other sauces--God knows how many.”

“My dear lady,” said I, “don’t blame me for that; I assure you I am not
at all offended with you for so doing, and shall allow you to sell as
much more in the Crimea.”

“So I would if I could only get them. Bless me, I had a gross about ten
days ago, and they are all gone; nor can I get any more for another
month perhaps. Come down, my son, and take a glass of champagne with my
old friend, Sir John Campbell.”

I immediately alighted, and Sir John came towards me and shook me
heartily by the hand, saying, “Welcome to the seat of war, Monsieur

“Many thanks, general, for your kind wishes. I had the pleasure of
leaving my card at Cathcart’s Hill the other day.”

“You did; and I was very sorry that I was out when you called; but mind,
you must come and dine with me some day.”

“Thank you, general, I shall do myself the honour.”

“Now, Mrs. Seacole, give us another bottle of champagne.”

“Mrs. Seacole,” I exclaimed; “is that lady the celebrated Mrs. Seacole?”

“Of course,” said the general.

She then came forth from her bivouac cellar, with two bottles in her
hands, exclaiming, “I shall stand mine, and no mistake.”

We all declared it would never do for a lady to stand treat in the

“Lord bless you, Monsieur Soyer,” said the lady, “don’t you know me?”

“Yes, I do now, my dear madam.”

“Well, all those fine fellows you see here are my Jamaica sons--are you
not?” said she, opening the champagne, and addressing the general.

“We are, Mrs. Seacole, and a very good mother you have been to us.”

“I have known you, general, for many years.”

“Well, here’s a health to all.”

We emptied our glasses, and returned the compliment. The general then
left, again expressing his desire to see me at Cathcart’s Hill.

“Walk inside, walk inside, my sons; you will be better there--it is not
so hot. Go in, Monsieur Soyer.”

No sooner had we entered than the old lady expressed her desire to
consult me about what she should do to make money in her new
speculation, in which she had embarked a large capital, pointing to two
iron houses in course of construction on the other side of the road. She
told me that her intention was to have beds there for visitors, which I
persuaded her not to do, saying, “All the visitors--and they are few in
number--sleep on board the vessels in the harbour, and the officers
under canvass in the camp. Lay in a good stock of hams, wines, spirits,
ale and porter, sauces, pickles, and a few preserves and dry
vegetables--in short, anything which will not spoil by keeping.”

“Yes,” said she, “I mean to have all that.”

“In that case you will no doubt make money, as you are so well known to
all the army.”

“I assure you, the last time Lord Raglan passed here, he spoke to me for
more than ten minutes, and promised to do all he could for me.”

“That’s right,” we all said.

“I know Miss Nightingale too. She was very kind to me when I passed
through Scutari, on my way here; she gave me lodging and everything I
required, in the hospital.”

“We passed this way a few days before Miss Nightingale was taken ill,”
said I.

“I know you did; and I am sure, if the lady had known I was here, she
would have called to see me. Thank God, I hear she is quite out of

“Yes, she is improving.”

“When you see her, present my best respects, and tell the dear lady that
I shall go and see her.”

“I will, Mrs. Seacole. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, my son.”

On getting up in a hurry to be off, I missed my horse, and found one of
the officers’ chargers, which had been left in charge of the same man to
whom I had given mine, led by a Zouave. Upon inquiring of the Zouave
where the man had gone, he informed me that he did not know, but that he
had given him a shilling (which he showed me) to hold this animal for,
as far as he could understand, about an hour, while he went on the grey
in the direction of head-quarters. I called Mrs. Seacole out, and told
her what had happened. She stepped up to the Zouave, and he began
talking so fast, that I shall not forget the expression he made as long
as I live. His speech may be thus translated: “By the name of Jupiter! I
have neither stolen nor sold your horse. Look at me! (showing his
corporation.) If you like, captain, to lend me this quadruped, I will
soon find the voyiou (meaning a low rascal). There is my name and the
number of my regiment. We are encamped near the French head-quarters.”

All this time Mrs. Seacole had been looking about, and every grey pony
she saw far or near was mine--at least in her eyes. The two officers
mounted their horses, and went one one way and the other another, but
soon returned, having found nothing. Having sent in all directions
without being able to obtain any trace of the pony, we concluded that
the animal was lost. I take this opportunity of publicly thanking those
two gentlemen for the vivid interest they took in trying to find the
borrowed steed. I very much regret that I do not recollect their names.
They will no doubt remember the circumstance if this little work falls
into their hands.[14]

All our efforts to find the pony being useless, I made up my mind to
walk back to Balaklava. Just as I was thanking Mrs. Seacole for her
extraordinary exertions, Mr. Day, her partner, came in, and he advised
me to go at once to the _Hue and Cry_, at head-quarters.

“How am I to do this?” I asked.

“Take my pony. It is not twenty minutes’ ride from hence; and you will
stand a good chance of getting it back, especially if the man who held
it was an Englishman. He is sure to be found in the English camp.”

Thanking him for his kindness, I mounted, and started full gallop for
head-quarters. I made inquiries at the Post-office, where I had the
pleasure of meeting Mr. Russell, who introduced me to Mr. Angel, the
postmaster. I then inquired for the _Hue and Cry_, and related the
circumstances under which I had lost my pony. All seemed highly amused.
They laughed heartily at my expense, and I could not help joining in the
merriment. Mr. Angel invited me to dine with him, having a few friends
that evening to join his popotte.

“I am much obliged, my dear sir; but I am staying at Balaklava, and I
suppose you dine late.”

“About six o’clock,” replied Mr. Angel. “You can sleep here. We have no
bed, it’s true; but I can lend you a blanket; and there is a small hut,
which is empty, you can have all to yourself. Mr. Bracebridge slept
there the night before last, when on a visit to Captain Boucher, a
friend of his.”

“Oh, as far as that goes, I shall be comfortable enough.”

“Then you will dine with me?”

“I will,” said I, “and am much obliged for your kind invitation.”

I thought by accepting it, I should have an excellent opportunity of
looking out for my pony in the morning, if I did not happen to find it
that night; I therefore went to the _Hue and Cry_, and gave the best
description, to my knowledge, as I had not had the honour of his
acquaintance long, and did not know of any private marks by which he
might be recognised. They gave me but faint hopes of seeing it again,
and by way of comforting me, showed me a long list of missing horses,
mules, and ponies, enough to fill half a column of the _Times_.

“I don’t care so much about the pony, as that can be replaced; but the
saddle is a new one from London, and neither the animal nor the saddle
belong to me.”

“You may, perhaps,” said one, “find the horse, but not the saddle,
especially if it is gone to the French camp, for, believe me, the
Zouaves are very fond of English saddles, as well as everything they can
get hold of which does not require feeding; so they will probably keep
the saddle and turn the horse loose. At all events, we will do what we
can for you; but I advise you to look out for yourself.”

It was then about four o’clock, and I had an hour’s ride about the camp,
but it was all in vain. Every inquiry proved fruitless; and I could not
obtain the slightest clue to the lost pony. I could not help smiling
when I recollected Dr. Hadley’s last words, “You may lose the horse but
don’t lose the saddle.” Hoping for better luck next day, I returned to
head-quarters, and begged Lord Raglan’s groom to give Mr. Day’s pony a
night’s lodging. Making sure Monsieur Armand would be in, I went to see
him. He was rather busy, but he received me very politely, and showed me
what he called his kitchen, though it had not the slightest claim to the
title, as it was all but destitute of culinary utensils. The provisions
were of inferior quality; but, as he told me, the best he could procure.
I then offered my services if I could be of any use in getting stoves or
a small oven erected.

“Ever since I have been here,” he replied, “I have been asking for one
or two charcoal stoves and a few shelves, but not a thing can I obtain
for love or money.”

“Upon my word you surprise me! How can that be in the house of the
Commander-in-chief? Truly, every one has much to do.”

“Such is the case.”

“Never mind; I think I shall be able to get something done for you, as
his lordship has spoken to me upon the subject.”

“I shall be much obliged to you if you will,” said he; and then pointed
out the principal things he required, which were soon afterwards

As it was nearly six o’clock, I left him, and returned to the
Post-office, where a sumptuous table was laid out. There was actually a
tablecloth and real plates, knives, forks, and various kinds of glasses.
In fact, for the Crimea, it was as the French say, _épatant_. We sat
down six to dinner; and had some very strong preserved soup, a very nice
tough fowl--the remainder of the bill of fare was made from the ration
meat. We had very good wine; and, perhaps, never was a dinner better
relished, or accompanied with more mirth and jokes. Russell the great
was the hero, besides having an Angel for the host. Towards eight
o’clock, the party amounted to about fifteen, as far as we could discern
through the clouded atmosphere with which the room was filled. Every one
was smoking; some large chibouques, long and short pipes, a few cigars,
but no cigarettes. The unexpected increase to our party, I must observe,
was partly owing to our vocal abilities, several lively choruses having
attracted Mr. Angel’s illustrious neighbours, as the denizens of the
woods were allured by the melody of Orpheus.

Our mirth at last became so boisterous that it not only brought around
us men of all ranks, but attracted the attention of the
Commander-in-chief, who sent to inquire what the noise was about. This
we considered a rather inharmonious inquiry, but found that, by
decreasing the pitch of our vocal organs from allegro to piano, we
should produce as much effect, with less noise, as his lordship wisely
called it; though I heard the next day, that Lord Raglan, who was
sitting at his door enjoying the fresh air with several gentlemen of his
staff, enjoyed it, and gave orders that we should not be disturbed.
Complaints poured in from the numerous tents which surrounded
head-quarters. It was then about ten o’clock, which is equivalent to
twelve or one p.m. in London. The _mot d’ordre_ from our chairman was,
“Tell those who cannot sleep to join our bacchanalian party.” So many
took the hint, that no room could at length be obtained in the modern
Crimean Temple of Momus.

At last the order took a more positive character, for the very Angel who
was presiding, observed, and very justly, that they were all playing the
devil with him, and still more so with his cellar, which being but
meagerly stocked, could not long stand so severe an attack. He therefore
begged all new comers to go back to their quarters, and bring or send
the liquid requisite to keep up the spirits of the guests till
midnight--which was done. Every one, like Cinderella, disappeared, by
slipping quietly out at the most convenient opportunity.



     Comfortable couch--A terrible _sortie_--The borrowed animal
     reclaimed--A bad position--Lord Raglan lends me another
     steed--General Estcourt--Female improvements--Visit to the French
     camp--A French canteen--A lively vivandière--French regimental
     kitchens--Discoveries--Interview with Colonel Steele--Pertinent
     remarks--A carriage--Mrs. Estcourt and her sister--General Camp
     Hospital--Cathcart’s Hill--Strange reports--Concert _à la_
     Soyer--Receipt for a stew--Conversation with Sir John Campbell--A
     flag of truce--A good peep at Sebastopol--A cavalcade of
     amateurs--A sad spectacle--A narrow escape--Noisy night.

Next morning, I found myself wrapped up in a horse-cloth, with a pair of
top-boots for a pillow. The unfeeling and ungrateful board to which I
had intrusted my precious limbs, had by the morning stamped his patron’s
seal upon my back. The following day we learnt that a terrible sortie
had taken place in the night, and that there had been a severe loss of
men on both sides. At an early hour the court-yard was thronged with
officers; despatches were flying in every direction; the cannon was
roaring as usual, but the fusillade had ceased. I then went to the
stable for my pony, when I found the owner, Mr. Day, upon his back, just
going home.

“Ah, Monsieur Soyer, I made sure that you had lost my pony as well as
your own. I expected you back immediately, being in want of it.”

“I was not aware of that, or I would have walked from your place sooner
than have deprived you of it.”

“Oh, never mind. Have you heard anything of your animal?”

“No! but I am going to look after him this morning. That is the reason
why I slept at head-quarters last night.”

“I am going about the camp,” said he, “and will inquire for you.”

He then started, of course leaving me without a horse, and with dreadful
pains in my back and legs, which I attributed to the softness of the bed
with which I had been favoured; though I could not boast of a single
feather, like that Tocrisse of a recruit, who took one out of his
master’s feather bed, laid it down on the boarded floor of his hut, and
next morning told his companions that his master must be foolish to
sleep upon a feather bed.

“Why?” asked they.

“Why, if one feather is so hard, what must the lot the captain sleeps
upon be?”

The worst of my position was, how to get another horse, as it was
impossible for me to walk all day about the camp, being so stiff and
tired. I went to Lord Raglan’s coachman, and inquired if he had one to
spare. He replied--

“Monsieur Soyer, we can spare a pony for you, but you must ask
permission of the master of the horse or Lord Raglan, as I have special
orders not to lend one upon my own responsibility. I am sure his
lordship will let you have it immediately.”

At this moment I caught sight of Lord Raglan’s valet, and I begged him
to make the request; which he did, and came to tell me that his lordship
desired I should have it by all means. Once more mounted, I made an
early call upon the friends of the previous night, most of whom resided
round head-quarters. I had the pleasure of being introduced to General
Estcourt, who took me to see the printing press where my receipts for
the army were done--some of which have appeared in the public press.
Afterwards I went with him to his quarters, which, though small, were
very neatly arranged. The taste was not military, and I thought that I
detected the work of a female hand, which I could not help remarking to
the general.

“You are right, Monsieur,” said he, smiling--“it has only lately been
arranged by ladies. Mrs. Estcourt and my sister are here, and this is a
little bit of their handywork. They are staying on board ship at
Balaklava, and come here every day. Before they arrived I had only this
small room (showing me his bed made upon boards) where I sleep as well
as ever I did in my life. The only thing which awakes me in the night is
when the cannon ceases firing--I am so used to it.”

“I believe that, general, and have no doubt you seldom miss hearing a
report. In fact, you are the nearest of those at head-quarters to

I then inquired about the sortie of the previous night. The general said
he did not know the result of it, and very kindly invited me to
breakfast, which I declined, having to go round the French camp in
search of my pony.

“I shall be happy,” said General Estcourt, “to do anything I can for
you; and if you call in the afternoon, my wife and her sister will be
here, and I will introduce you to them.”

Thanking him kindly, I retired, and proceeded round the French camp
making inquiries; then to their head-quarters, where I met Captain
Boucher, General Canrobert’s aide-de-camp, with whom I had the pleasure
of travelling. He promised to introduce me to the general, who, he said,
would be very glad to see me. Upon my telling him about my pony, he

“If he is in our camp you are sure to get him back, for we have put a
stop to that kind of piracy by very severe punishment. They used to come
and steal our horses from our very stables; but tell me what sort of a
horse he is, and I will advertise him with the others, and we shall know
in less than five or six hours if he is in our camp? the plan we have
adopted cannot fail.”

Having described the animal to the captain, I thanked him for his

Considering my French review terminated, I thought of returning at once
to the English head-quarters, having to see several of the authorities
upon business. On my way I happened to pass by a nice French canteen. I
inquired if I could get any breakfast? A rather stout vivandière,
dressed in the uniform of the Imperial Guard, very politely said to me:

“What a stupid question to ask! Do you think we have not everything
required for the purpose here? Perhaps, Captain of the Lord knows what
regiment, you think we have come out merely to thread pearls, sing
‘Partant pour la Syrie,’ and dance the Fandango.”

On my way I visited several regimental kitchens and tasted the soup.
Some was better than at others. They had no vegetables excepting some
vegetable marrow--more likely to spoil the soup than improve it. I made
several important discoveries respecting the system of cooking pursued
in the French camp, after visiting, with some of my new acquaintances, a
row of twelve kitchens, which number, they informed me, was required for
each regiment--being at the rate of one per company. One man was told
off as cook for every squad or mess of sixteen. The buildings were
composed of mud and stone, and covered an extent of about four hundred
yards. I bade my brave companions farewell, and left them quite a happy
man, having entirely forgotten horse and saddle, in making the discovery
that in lieu of four hundred yards of space, a dozen buildings, and
about eighty men for each regiment, an immense consumption of fuel, and
smoke enough to blind three parts of the army--as the men were all cooks
in turn--my system was simple, effective, and vastly superior to that
even of the French, which had hitherto always been considered as
preferable to the English. This was indeed the case, for all French
soldiers understand a little cooking, and their canteen, pan was far
superior to that in use amongst the English troops, which I condemned at
first sight in the camp at Chobham.

I returned to head-quarters, intending to communicate my discovery to
Lord Raglan; but learning that he was very busy, and would not be
disengaged till evening, I went to Colonel Steele, who, in spite of the
pressure of business, gave me an immediate audience, and promised to
speak to Lord Raglan on the subject. Head-quarters were that day, in a
manner, taken by storm. They were literally besieged, and this gave me
an opportunity of getting acquainted with several officers and other
officials whom I had not the pleasure of knowing--or, at least, only by
sight. Amongst these were Sir George Brown, Sir W. Codrington, Sir Colin
Campbell, Lord Rokeby, Captain Whitmore, and Brevet-Major A. Macdonald.

Lord Raglan passed me in the passage, and said, “You wish to see me,
Monsieur Soyer?”

Knowing his lordship was much occupied, I replied, “Colonel Steele will
give you the particulars that I came to communicate.”

“That will do; but have you found your horse?”

“No, my lord.”

“I have been to visit Miss Nightingale. She is still very ill. Bad job,
bad job, poor lady!” he continued, walking away towards Colonel Steele’s
office, with his hands full of papers.

After this I called upon Doctor Hall, with whom I had a few minutes’
conversation upon business. Louis was somewhere about, busily engaged,
and, as usual, unwilling to give a direct reply, no matter what question
you put to him. He came to see me. I inquired if he knew anything about
the sortie of the previous night, upon which he answered that the black
horse he rode the day before had thrown him in the mud, and made him in
such a mess. I replied in his style:

“The sun is very hot to-day.”

Upon which he observed, “he never was there in his life.”

I begged of him to tell me how he was to-morrow.

“Don’t believe that,” said he; “it is quite false.”

An interesting young man indeed was Louis.

A very great curiosity then made its appearance, breaking the thread of
our scientific conversation. What, reader, do you think it was? A
carriage!--a thing unknown in the camp--or at least a bad imitation of
one--drawn by two very obstinate mules, one pulling against the other,
which seemed to amuse my intelligent friend Louis, who never liked to
see anything going on smoothly. General Estcourt went out to meet it,
and two ladies alighted. To this Louis thoroughly objected,
saying--“Ladies, indeed! they are the two female Zouaves who performed
in the _Anglaises pour Rire_, at the theatre in their camp. One,” said
he, “is Jean Huguet--the other Panaudet, aide-de-camp to the drum-major
of a regiment of cavalry. The first plays Lady Painbeche in that
tragedy--the other, Lady Don’t-you-wish-you-may-get-it.”

Very fertile indeed was the brain of Louis at composition of the higher
school; and, like Marplot, never wishing to see anything in its right
light, he succeeded admirably. The sight of a carriage was something
wonderful, but two ladies at once, and fashionably dressed, was too much
good-luck. I advanced towards them, and had the honour of being
introduced by the general to Mrs. Estcourt and his sister. The general
invited me to walk in, and I had the honour of taking a glass of wine
with the fair--who might well be called fairies at the time--ladies
being so scarce, in fact, all but invisible, in the Crimea.

After a short, but very interesting, conversation with the ladies, I
retired, leaving some copies of my receipts with Mrs. Estcourt, who
kindly undertook to look at the proofs before printing. Thence I
proceeded to the General Camp Hospital, and there met Doctor Mouatt, who
told me he was waiting for the bricks for his oven from the Ordnance
Office at head-quarters. I informed him that I had given in the plan for
a kitchen, and endeavoured to convince him of the necessity of having it
done at once.

“I am well aware of that, and it shall be attended to.”

All inquiries respecting my pony were fruitless. At last, upon asking at
a canteen, a soldier told me he had heard of one being found in some
regiment, but could not tell me which one, though he thought it was
somewhere about Cathcart’s Hill.

On arriving at Cathcart’s Hill, I met Sir John Campbell, who invited me
to take some refreshment and a glass of Bordeaux. We descended to his
rocky abode in front of Sebastopol, whence you could trace every shot or
shell which passed, as well as view the whole city. On recounting my
adventure of the lost pony, and of my being absent two days from

“We heard,” said the aide-de-camp to Sir John, “that you had lost two

“No! no!” said I, “one at a time is quite enough, captain.”

“I can assure you that is the joke at head-quarters. I also heard of
your concert _à la Soyer_.”

“We spent a regular London evening,” I replied.

“I wish I had been there,” said the general; “we are getting very dull
in our division. Before you go, Mons. Soyer, come and see my kitchen.”

“I will, general.”

Though very small, it was more deserving that title than the one at Lord

“Here,” said Sir John, “is our ration meat; I am sure you cannot make a
tempting dish out of these materials, especially from the salt meat,
which requires so much soaking, it is so hard.”

“Well, general, I will not say I can make a dish worthy of Lucullus out
of this; but I will try to make something palatable and fit to eat.”

“I can assure you, Monsieur Soyer, that if you succeed, it will be
conferring a great boon upon the army; and you must give them the

I did as follows: I cut about two pounds of salt beef, and as much salt
pork, in pieces of about a quarter of a pound in weight, placed them, in
a canteen pan with cold water, and set it on the fire. When lukewarm, I
took the pan off, washed the meat well, and threw the water away. I then
added three pints of fresh water, a quarter of a pound of onions sliced,
two ounces of sugar, a teaspoonful of pepper, and two ounces of rice. I
set it to stew and simmer gently for two hours. The general said:--

“You must come and dine with us about that time.”

“I should certainly much like to taste it, general; but I must be at
Balaklava before seven o’clock to-night. To-morrow I am coming over to
the General Hospital, and if you will be kind enough to order some to
be saved for me, that I may taste it when I come, I shall esteem it a
great favour.”

“I will do so, Monsieur Soyer, but try and be here to dinner. We shall
dine about five o’clock.”

The stew by this time began to simmer, and upon tasting the broth, I
found it already very palatable, without being too salt. I begged of the
cook to let it simmer very gently, which he promised to do.

We prepared to separate. Before leaving, I said, “The soldiers will be
able to do their rations the same way. I have recommended it to
Commissary Filder, who has agreed to it, and consented that the salt
rations should be issued the night before, thus giving the soldiers time
to soak the meat well. In consequence of this, it will require less
sugar; although it is rumoured that a quarter of an ounce is to be added
to their daily rations. They will then have as much as they require; and
when my new field-stoves are issued, they will admit both of the soaking
and the cooking of the meat; and various messes can be made, almost
impracticable in the small tin canteens now in use.”

I then told the general of my visit to the French kitchens, and what I
had seen there. He agreed with me that they employed too many men,
especially in time of war. It is true that the French soldiers
understood cooking much better than our men did, but, nevertheless,
their system admitted of great improvements. We were then standing in
front of Sir John’s cave facing Sebastopol. Of a sudden all the
batteries ceased firing, and Sir John exclaimed, “Hallo! there is a flag
of truce hoisted on the Russian side, and it is accepted. No doubt it is
for leave to bury the dead. Now is the time to have a good peep at
Sebastopol, Mons. Soyer; you have two hours for that purpose.”

The generals, staff officers, and a number of military men who were
present as lookers-on, started off; and I of course followed, making
sure Sebastopol was not more than a mile and a half or two miles
distant--which, _à vol d’oiseau_, it was not; but there were four or
five deep ravines, which made the distance much longer. The few who
started from the hill were joined by many on the road, and we soon
formed a small cavalcade of amateurs. I understood, from several parties
of whom I inquired, that we should have plenty of time to go and return
before the recommencement of hostilities, and that there was not,
therefore, the slightest danger. As it was on the French side the sortie
had taken place, some went one way and some another; and only about six
of us went towards the French trenches. Upon our arrival we experienced
some difficulty in getting in, and it was full twenty minutes before
they would admit us.

One of the gentlemen present--an English officer, unknown to me--wrote
our names upon his card, and, by order of the commandant of a battery,
we were allowed to enter. The sight is too painful to dwell upon, from
the immense numbers of dead and wounded piled one upon the other. They
were mostly young men, who had fallen so bravely in defence of their
country in this glorious, though disastrous, combat. I could not help
remarking, both in the French and Russian dead, that those who had been
killed by gun-shots passing through the body lay as if they had fallen
in to a sweet slumber, with a smile upon their cold lips, and a happy
and pleasing expression of countenance, very different to the fearful
and contorted appearance generally presented, when from our comfortable
homes we are summoned by that “strict serjeant--Death,” in consequence
of old age or illness. This induced me to say to my companions in the
trenches, “It appears to me as if death had not time to convey them to
his mournful shore, but that the genius of glory had unexpectedly
stepped in, and taken possession of their souls, which were now happily
ascending to heaven and a better world; while, on the contrary, those
who have lost a limb or received serious wounds in the head, appear to
have expired in the most painful torture.”

The funeral service was going on rapidly and solemnly on all sides. The
main attack had been against the French, and their newly-arrived
Imperial Guard suffered considerable loss. The greater part of the time
allowed for the armistice had now elapsed, and we therefore thought of
retiring. None of us were, however, acquainted with the French trenches,
and it took us a considerable time to find our way out. I must have
taken a wrong turn, or at least the man to whom I had entrusted my pony
had done so, although I had given him a franc, and promised him another
on getting out all right, merely to see that no one untied the pony. As
he was on duty at the time, and agreed to do this, I trusted him with
it. My friends found their steeds where they had left them. Pondering
upon my ill-luck, and fearing the pony, which belonged to Lord Raglan,
was also lost, I felt much perplexed, so I scrambled up between the
gabions, and perceived, to my great joy, a man leading my pony about in
the ravine. I met the person with whom I had left him, and he told me
that his commanding-officer would not allow the pony to remain there any
longer, as hostilities would begin again immediately, and being in sight
of the enemy, they might think it belonged to a superior, and direct
their fire that way; and having some other duties to perform, he gave my
steed in charge of another man, and requested me to give the other man
the franc I had promised him.

I ran off to the man, making sure I should reach him in two minutes, but
it took me above twenty. Instead of going towards him, I got near the
Russian side, and had it been dark instead of day, I have no doubt I
should have been taken prisoner, from being unable in the short time
left of the suspension of hostilities to retrace my steps. One of the
sentries who had seen us came and advised me to be off as soon as
possible, as the firing would begin again directly. Thanking him, I got
my pony, and was no sooner mounted than the cannonade and fusillade
thundered in every direction; and some missiles passed me much too close
to be pleasant.

A regiment of French soldiers who had just been relieved from duty, and
were on their way to their quarters, told me they were going to the
Clocheton, a place of which I had heard, but did not know. I followed
them, as the night was fast setting in and rain was falling. I passed
it, with a jolly set of fellows, full of song, cognac, and rum; and, as
I stood some drink, I was set down in their estimation as a gentleman. I
afterwards slept upon some straw, on the floor of the canteen. My horse
had a very good meal, and plenty of water, but was compelled to remain
out all night, which annoyed me very much. It could not, however, be
helped. We had a very noisy night, and several shots were heard hissing
over our heads, as we were only a few hundred yards from the small house
called the Clocheton, so celebrated and well known in the French camp.
It was from that picturesque spot that Monsieur de Bazancourt wrote his
popular history of the war.



     Kitchens in the Turkish and Sardinian camps--Triumphal entry into
     Balaklava--Missed for three days--Telegraphed for--Lots of news--My
     secretary in trouble--Arrival of Lord Ward in the _London_--The
     Queen’s birthday in the harbour of Balaklava--Baking on board the
     floating batteries--Miss Nightingale ordered home--“Who lost the
     four horses?”--Lord Raglan and Mrs. Roberts--His visit to Miss
     Nightingale’s sick-bed--Dinner-parties--A Crimean banquet--Sick
     Sardinians--The dying officer--The last request--An expedition to
     Kertch--A change of quarters--Samples of
     bread--Bread-biscuit--Letters to the _Times_.

At six the next morning I started, and made it my business to visit the
kitchens in the Turkish and Sardinian camps, on my way home. At eight I
made my triumphal entry into Balaklava. My return seemed to be quite an
event, as it had not only been reported that I had lost three horses,
but also that I had lost myself. I found, when I got on board the
_London_--which was still vomiting forth troops, horses, guns, and
projectiles of all kinds, to feed the voracious appetite of mighty,
grand, but very unsociable and terrible Mr. War, with whom I had lately
had the unexpected honour of being on a little too familiar terms--that
every one had missed me for three days, and the last they had heard of
me was that I had been seen going towards Sebastopol at the time the
flag of truce was hoisted. No one had seen me return, and they concluded
that poor Soyer had either been killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

I was told that Mr. Bracebridge had been anxiously inquiring for me in
every direction, and that P. M. had just gone in a great hurry to the
telegraph office, to send word to head-quarters. Seeing the affair was
getting rather serious, I set off at full gallop to stop him, and found
him in the office, writing the following lines:--

“Monsieur Soyer has been absent from Balaklava these last three days,
and has not been heard of. An answer will oblige.”

My unexpected arrival put him in good spirits. I convinced him that I
was neither killed, wounded, nor taken prisoner, and having related my
adventures, I inquired about business.

The first thing he told me was that Miss Nightingale was getting better.
This I knew, having made inquiries on board. Then he informed me that
Lord Raglan had visited her. This I also knew. Then that Thomas, my head
man, had been all over the camp, hunting for me; that the hospital
kitchens were all going on well. He next informed me that Dr. Hadley was
morally in deep mourning, not so much on account of his pony, or even
myself, but his saddle and bridle, which he said no money could replace,
it having been made to order in London. I observed that I was worse off
than he was, as from his kindness in lending me the pony, I had been so
long away.

“But, P. M., will you be kind enough to jump on that pony, and go to
him. Say I will see him in the afternoon, and of course that I shall be
happy to pay for both pony and saddle.”

“I will do so; but he told me yesterday that he didn’t care a fig about
the pony--it was the saddle he regretted.”

“When did he first hear I had lost it?”

“Why, not four hours after you left. Mrs. Seacole sent all over the camp
for it, and some officers who were present at the time brought the news,
at which every one laughed; but I assure you the case was getting very
serious at last.”

“Never mind--_à la guerre comme à la guerre_--we must expect something a
little out of the way in campaigning.”

“I tell you what, Monsieur Soyer, I began to think it was a great deal
out of the way. You have only one life, like the rest of us, and you
cannot be spared by us, not even to go to the Russians.”

P. M. started on his mission to Dr. Hadley, and I returned to the
_London_, and wrote the receipt for the composition of the preserved
vegetables, which I had promised to Commissary Filder, and took it over
myself. On my way I met about a score of friends, or at all events
persons who knew me, and had heard the false report. I was informed that
Admiral Boxer was much put out about my absence, and at not receiving
any tidings about me.

To my great astonishment, I met my secretary on foot, and at once
inquired what he had done with the pony, making sure that he had lost
it, or that he had been thrown, and the animal had run away, as it was a
very mettlesome little creature.

“It is nothing of the kind; it was worse. The brute is marked ‘L. R.,
head-quarters;’ and before I reached Dr. Hadley’s house, a policeman
stopped me and took it away, saying it had been stolen from Monsieur
Soyer; and there was a regular row at head-quarters about it. The fellow
wanted to take me up, though I told him I was your secretary. And mind
you, had it not been for an officer--a friend of yours, who knew
me--having dined with us on board the _Robert Lowe_, I really cannot
tell how I should have managed.”

“Where is the pony now?”

“God knows. Perhaps that fellow has stolen it.”

“I hope not. Describe the man. Who was he?”

“A soldier, I believe; but let us go to the Commandant’s, and inquire,
for I think he took the pony to the stable-yard.”

Upon making inquiries, we heard the animal had been sent direct to
head-quarters. Thus terminated the adventures connected with my first
interview with the good and benevolent Mrs. Seacole, whom I have ever
since christened La Mère Noire, although she has a fair daughter.

Before the evening was over I had visited the various hospitals,
inspected a fresh arrival of provisions--particularly fresh vegetables,
which were sent from Constantinople weekly, for the use of the hospitals
and camp. These often arrived in a bad state, owing to the heat of the
weather, which was intense. The difficulty of transport and distribution
throughout the camps rendered the dry composition I had submitted to the
Commissariat much preferable, more especially for issue to the troops in

The great event during my unexpected and adventurous absence was the
arrival of Lord Ward in his beautiful steamer, the _London_, filled with
all kinds of provisions, to be gratuitously distributed among the
soldiers, more as a luxury than a necessity. Provisions were not at this
time so scarce as they had been--the soldiers were receiving ample
rations. Facility and method in the cooking was what was most required.


At midday a royal salute was fired; shouts were heard in all directions,
and about noon the band struck up “God save the Queen.” The ships were
gaily dressed out with their flags, and this put every sailor in good
humour. They were regaled with plenty of roast beef and plum-pudding,
and abundance of rum. Tunes struck up in every direction--“Drops of
brandy,” “Barley bree,” hornpipes, &c.; but the “Ratcatcher’s Daughter”
would have been most in harmony. I was then dining with Captain Shepherd
and a party of about ten, on board his superb ship, the _Triton_. When
dinner was over, we left the jovial board to smoke our cigars upon deck.
We went to breathe the fresh air, and to watch the frolics of the joyous
but rather tumultuous crew, who were performing their nautical steps
between decks, to the shrieking sounds of a damaged fiddle and still
more damaging fiddler. The tunes we listened to produced upon our ears
the effect we anticipated, but the air we were breathing quite the
contrary effect upon our noses. Captain Heath, the harbour-master, who
was then living on board, also gave a dinner-party that day; and as his
numerous guests appeared upon deck, there was quite an array of naval
and military men.

I seldom smoke, and I remarked that the air we were so anxious to
breathe was anything but wholesome or agreeable. Thereupon the commander
of the _Diamond_ observed that an unpleasant odour arose from the sea.

“It does not come from the water,” I replied, “but from the shore.”

“What can it be, Monsieur Soyer?” said he.

“Don’t you know, captain--you who daily visit your naval hospital on the
heights, that on that bank are the bodies of the poor unfortunate
fellows lost in the _Prince_, and the sea has washed away the earth
which covered them? Some of them are actually on a level with the

“Impossible,” said he; “I can’t believe it.”

“If you like,” I replied, “I will convince you of the fact.”

Some of those who overheard our conversation begged Captain Shepherd to
let us have a boat, with which request the captain complied. It was a
fine moonlight night when we started, and we soon reached the spot. The
smell had disappeared; so he said I was mistaken.

“Not at all, captain,” said I. “Pray thrust your oar through the soil we
are standing upon.”

It was covered with lime, and he did as I requested, and found that what
I had stated was correct. We then returned on board, and mentioned the
fact. All admitted that it was a dreadful thing, and might bring on
cholera. Captains Heath and Shepherd observed that it was intended to
throw a mound three feet deep over them, and that it was likely the
heavy weather had washed away the gravel. The remains of some of these
bodies were plainly visible, the most singular thing being their
extraordinary state of preservation.

I noticed that the Board of Health were aware of this, and had taken
sanitary measures by having great quantities of lime thrown over the
remains. Captain Heath observed that the mound would very likely be
completed the following day. I believe that such was the case, for a
short time after I saw it was done.

This unpleasant discovery broke up our party sooner than was intended,
but it did not disturb the mirth of the sailors; their fun lasted till
daybreak. This corner of the harbour was seldom frequented, which no
doubt was the reason that the exposure of the bodies had not been
noticed sooner. In pointing out this fact to Colonel Hardinge, he
observed that under the water his power ceased. Admiral Boxer’s nephew,
who was there, remarked that above the level of the water he had no
power; so that the tide, alternately washing over and receding from the
bodies, led me to infer that neither the naval nor military authorities
could remove the nuisance, as it must have been well known to many that
the bodies from the wreck were deposited there.

The floating bakeries called the _Bruiser_ and the _Abundance_ were now
ready to commence baking, and were visited by all the authorities--Lord
Raglan, Sir John Macneil, Colonel Tulloch, Commissary Filder, Dr.
Sutherland, the Admiral and the Commandant, &c. The vessels were so
crowded, that Captain Thompson, with whom I had the pleasure of being
well acquainted, expressed his fears of never being able to make a fair
beginning. Good bread was at that time, I must say, the most important
thing wanted. Bakeries were in course of erection at Kadikoi, so that
between the steamers and them about twenty-five or thirty thousand
rations could be made, producing a supply of bread four days per week,
and the other three biscuit. No one could then wish for better field

While at the Sanatorium, making inquiry about Miss Nightingale, I heard
from the purveyor that the doctor’s advice was that she should go direct
to England, when able to travel. My friend, Dr. Hadley, whom I was going
to face boldly, and scold for causing me so much trouble with his saddle
and bridle, had been waiting anxiously for my return. In despair, he had
gone out in search of them. I therefore did not see, though I heard much
about him.

Having met Mr. Parker, the clergyman, he informed me that he had been
told that I had lost four horses in three days--viz., three myself and
my secretary one, and that none of them belonged to me. Upon this I
replied, “Therein lies the merit of being trusted. Had they been my own
it would have been nothing, as any fool can manage to lose his own
horse, but it requires a good deal of skill and standing in society to
lose four belonging to other persons, in so short a space of time.”

My mishap afforded much amusement; and the standing jest in camp for
some time was, “Who lost the four horses?” I was very anxious to know
the actual state of Miss Nightingale’s health, and went to her hut to
inquire. I found Mrs. Roberts, who was quite astonished and very much
delighted to see me.

“Thank God, Monsieur Soyer,” she exclaimed, “you are here again. We have
all been in such a way about you. Why, it was reported that you had been
taken prisoner by the Russians. I must go and tell Miss Nightingale you
are found again.”

“Don’t disturb her now. I understand Lord Raglan has been to see her.”

“Yes, he has, and I made a serious mistake. It was about five o’clock in
the afternoon when he came. Miss Nightingale was dozing, after a very
restless night. We had a storm that day, and it was very wet.”

“Pray go on, madam,” said I, seeing she made a pause.

“Well, sir, I was in my room sewing, when two men on horseback, wrapped
in large gutta-percha cloaks, and dripping wet, knocked at the door. I
went out, and one inquired in which hut Miss Nightingale resided. He
spoke so loud, that I said, ‘Hist! hist! Don’t make such a horrible
noise as that, my man,’ at the same time making a sign with both hands
for him to be quiet. He then repeated his question, but not in so loud a
tone. I told him this was the hut.’

“‘All right,’ said he, jumping from his horse, and he was walking
straight in, when I pushed him back, asking him what he meant and whom
he wanted.

“‘Miss Nightingale,’ said he.

“‘And pray who are you?’

“‘Oh, only a soldier,’ was his reply; ‘but I must see her--I have come
a long way--my name is Raglan--she knows me very well.’

“Miss Nightingale overhearing him, called me in, saying, ‘Oh! Mrs.
Roberts, it is Lord Raglan. Pray tell him I have a very bad fever, and
it will be dangerous for him to come near me.’

“‘I have no fear of fever or anything else.’ said Lord Raglan.

“And before I had time to turn round, in came his lordship. He took up a
stool, sat down at the foot of the bed, and kindly asked Miss
Nightingale how she was, expressing his sorrow at her illness, and
thanking and praising her for the good she had done for the troops. He
wished her a speedy recovery, and hoped that she might be able to
continue her charitable and invaluable exertions, so highly appreciated
by every one, as well as by himself. He then bade Miss Nightingale
good-bye, and went away. As he was going out, I wished to apologize.

“‘No! no! not at all, my dear lady,’ said Lord Raglan; ‘you did very
right; for I perceive that Miss Nightingale has not yet received my
letter, in which I announced my intention of paying her a visit
to-day--having previously inquired of the doctor if she could be seen.’”

“No doubt,” I said, “his lordship quite enjoyed the fun.”

“I think he did, for they were laughing so when they went away. However,
it did my mistress no good. She became very nervous afterwards, and was
worse for a day or two; but she is doing well now. I am sure his
lordship would be very sorry if he knew that such was the case.”

“That he would; for he did it out of pure respect and kindness.”

“Exactly. I never heard a gentleman speak more kindly to any one. But
only fancy, sir, what fun for me to try to turn the Commander-in-chief
out of doors.”

“How were you to tell who it was? And supposing you knew, even then you
would have done right, as you had not received his lordship’s letter,
and had special orders from the doctor to let no one in, not even Mr.

“Mr. Bracebridge came two or three times a-day. The doctors recommend
Miss Nightingale to go to London as soon as possible; but, Lord bless
you, sir! she will not be in a fit state for removal for a fortnight or
three weeks.”

“I am sorry to hear that, because I should have liked to go back to
Scutari with her. My field-stoves have not arrived, and Jullien, my head
man at Scutari, has been ill; so I must look sharp after the hospitals
on the Bosphorus, as my principal object in coming out was to set them
to rights. In fact, I only offered my services for the Barrack Hospital,
as I had not at that time heard of the others,--viz., Kululee, the
General, and the Palace Hospitals.”

“You must not rely upon what I say, Monsieur Soyer; for we might be off

“How are my kitchens going on?”

“Oh, very well indeed now, sir.”

“I am sure to see Mr. Bracebridge on board to-day; and when Miss
Nightingale is better, I will come daily and make some delicate broth,
pudding, or jelly for her. Doctor Henderson tells me that as soon as he
can put his illustrious patient under my care he will do so; then I
shall require your assistance, as I consider you an excellent extra-diet

The weather having set in fine, everything became more cheerful. Small
dinner parties were given by the Guards and the Cavalry. Several
gentlemen, at the head of whom was Colonel Carleton, clubbed together
and engaged a man cook, who turned out a tolerable good dinner. He
cooked almost _al fresco_. Those regiments stationed close to Balaklava
fared the best, as they could procure provisions from the stewards of
the vessels in harbour. Colonel Carleton, one of our modern epicures,
whom. I had the pleasure of dining with while encamped there, gave us an
excellent dinner; and, for several reasons, never invited more than five
guests to dine with him:--firstly, from his good sense as a _gourmet_;
and, secondly, having no room for more. Dinner invitations poured in
from all quarters, both from sea and land. For some time, it appeared as
if the champagne corks were firing instead of the cannon at Sebastopol,
as the wind was in the wrong direction, and the report of the guns was
scarcely heard at Balaklava. It took me about an hour every morning to
write apologies to invitations--so numerous were they, and my duties
would not admit of my dining out every day. Moreover, the medical
gentlemen then strongly recommended moderation and care in the use of

There was, however, one unexpected invitation I could not decline. One
evening, as I was returning late from the camp, I met several of the
heroes of Balaklava; amongst these Colonel Peel and Major Cook of the
11th Hussars, with whom I had the pleasure of being acquainted at
Scutari. They would take no refusal, so I was compelled to accompany
them to their mess-room and dine with them, which invite I was not long
accepting, requiring at the time no end of restoratives for myself and
charger, after a hard day’s duty. It was indeed a splendid place for the
Crimea--the camp being still in the infancy of luxury. A table was laid
for sixteen guests, who had wisely opened a kind of club in a large hut.
The rations were artistically turned to good account, and numerous
little extras were procured from Balaklava, particularly fish. Two fine
clout, or knotted turbots,[15] with the et-ceteras, gave an appearance
of luxurious festivity; and though no one could boast of the elegance of
the service, at all events there were a few plates, knives, and forks
upon the table--at that time luxuries were not requisite. Good health--a
ferocious appetite--lots of capital ale, porter, sherry, port,
champagne--laughter, puns, and fun in abundance--witty anecdotes, and
plenty of songs, good, bad, and indifferent, prevailed. The sixteen
officers were joined by about twenty more after dinner. They sat down
anywhere and everywhere, even out of doors. It was, in fact, the most
martial festival I had seen during my visit to the Crimea, and quite
cast in the shade our former semi-banquet at head-quarters.

It was midnight ere this jovial party broke up; and a few minutes after
I was on my way home. The sentry on duty at the Col of Balaklava was
calling out, with the lungs of a Stentor, “Who goes there?” to a group
bearing lighted torches coming towards him; and several voices, in a
mournful tone, replied, “Friends.”

“Pass, friends.” A sudden change of scene and sensation soon took place!
On approaching the group, and inquiring what was the matter, I perceived
four Sardinian soldiers bearing a sick officer upon a stretcher. He was
followed by several others. The Sardinians at that time suffered
terribly from fever and cholera, and their daily loss of men was
something fearful. They were admitted to the General Hospital, as there
was not sufficient room in their own.

Following the group with solemn interest as far as the General Hospital,
I learned that the precious burden they were carrying was one of the
bravest officers of this small though perfect model of an army. It was a
Major Crossetti, in the bloom of life, his age only six-and-thirty, who
was suddenly attacked by cholera; and Miss Wear (the head lady under
Miss Nightingale) begged of me to go and offer consolation, as well as
to interpret and explain to the doctors what his servant required. He
had then only just been attacked. In less than two hours, the fatal
malady had increased to that extent that no hope was entertained of
saving him, though every attention had been immediately afforded. Alas!
all was of no avail.

The contraction and sudden change of one of the finest and noblest
military faces I ever beheld, graced by a beard of an auburn tinge, to
the hideous transformation caused by that awful disease, will never be
effaced from my memory, and is far too piteous to be described. I
remained with him more than three hours, but he died during the night;
his poor servant, a Savoyard, who had been with him from his boyhood,
wept bitterly. Miss Wear, though very unwell, remained at his side till
he had expired. He kept asking, his moist hand clasped in mine,
“Pensez-vous que je vais mourir?”--Do you think I am about to die?

“No, no! impossible, so young!” I ejaculated.

“I would not care if it were on the field of battle; but I have done
nothing for my country in this war.”

The words I addressed to him seemed to console him greatly. Miss Wear,
however, informed me privately that the case had taken such a turn that
nothing could save him.

A few days prior to my departure from the Crimea, my final reminiscence
of this noble departed soldier was to see his name engraved on marble in
letters of gold on the grand national Sardinian Monument so
picturesquely situated on the summit of the high rock above the

A few days after this, the _London_ and its bridge was in more confusion
than ever, and the landing of the Sardinian troops appeared a mere
trifle compared with this unexpected movement. It was the departure of
the fleet for Kertch, and the whole of the troops, horses, provisions,
ammunition, &c., passed over our then almost uninhabitable _City of
London_. I must say, the precision and celerity with which this fleet
was embarked and despatched was admirable. The evening before, I had
promised to go early and superintend the cooking of one of the
regiments, when, to my great surprise, I found the colonel, his
officers, and men upon deck just embarking. I was with them the
afternoon before till three o’clock, and they then knew nothing about
it. Admiral Boxer came and informed me that the _London_ was to follow
the expedition, and he was under the necessity of removing us, not much
to our sorrow, for the everlasting thoroughfare made our nautical
_London_ very disagreeable; and it was with great delight that we left
_town_ for a quieter and better habitation, observing at the same time
to the admiral, that I feared I was in disgrace both with the army and

“Why so, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Because the Minister-at-War turned me out of London at a few days’
notice, and you, admiral, do the same kind of thing in as many minutes.
You are about transferring me, it seems, to the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_.”

“Ah, and a fine ship she is, too, Monsieur Soyer.”

Sir John Macneil and Colonel Tulloch had quitted the _Baraguay
d’Hilliers_, a very fine vessel, and we had their apartment in the state
cabin, so called because it was so large and commodious. The _Baraguay
d’Hilliers_ was moored next to the _Abundance_, and so close that we
were able to walk from one ship to the other, which gave me the facility
of watching the process and system of that important floating bakery, as
well as the perfection of its mechanism. The first two samples of bread
made were, one very white, and the other rather brown. Captain Johnson
asked me which I liked best. I replied, “The brown, by all means, for
the troops; and I am sure that Lord Raglan, Sir John Macneil, Dr. Hall,
and other competent gentlemen, will express the same opinion.”

“Monsieur Soyer, I must differ from you, for this is much finer and

“It is because it is so white that I object to it. The change from
almost black Turkish bread to the very white will create a bad feeling
amongst the troops, who will fancy they have been imposed upon. For my
taste, give me the whitey-brown; there is less show and more nutriment
in it: besides, it is better adapted for the purpose.”

“Well,” said Captain Johnson, “for my own eating, I prefer the white;
though I must say the other is very good.”

“Depend upon it, captain, the soldiers want food, not luxuries. I’ll
tell you what I will do for you: I am going to head-quarters, and will
take the samples to Lord Raglan and Dr. Hall.”

“I shall be much obliged if you will,” said he, “as we want to commence
supplying to-morrow.”

On reaching head-quarters, I met Dr. Hall going to the general. I
showed him the samples; we convassed their respective merits for a few
minutes, and the Doctor was of the same opinion as myself. I saw Lord
Raglan in the camp; and he said, “The whitey-brown, by all means. I
never wish to have better bread upon my table.”

The good done by this bakery was incalculable. They baked from fifteen
to sixteen thousand rations daily, with perfect ease. In justice to the
system, I must say, it answered admirably. I carefully watched its
progress, and though the quality of the bread often varied, which was
entirely owing to the difference in the quality of the flour
supplied--and this is unavoidable in so large a supply as is required
for an army,--I can certify that the working of the flour in the
bruiser, the process of manipulation, and the baking were carefully
attended to. In the beginning, it is true, yeast could not be procured
in sufficient quantities. At last, they discovered a way of making it
themselves. It is due to their exertions to say, that the bakery at
Kadikoi was not making as good bread as the _Abundance_. It is true,
they did not possess the same facilities. We had made on board the
_Abundance_ several samples of bread-biscuit, which I had the honour of
submitting to the Duke of Newcastle during his visit to Scutari. He
tasted it both in its dry state, and also soaked in broth, three months
after having been baked, and highly approved of it, considering it an
excellent invention for the soldier’s camp meal, as well as for the

This is the same bread-biscuit mentioned by a correspondent in the
following letter, addressed to the _Times_.


_To the Editor of the Times._

     SIR,--The sympathies of the British nation being at this moment
     directed to the army of the East, I feel that information as to the
     hospital department will interest many. Miss Nightingale returned
     to Scutari on the 4th inst., having left it on the 4th of the
     preceding month. Miss Nightingale, on her arrival at Balaklava,
     immediately began an active investigation of the state of the two
     hospitals there, as well as of the sailors’ hospitals and the field
     hospitals in the camp, in which she had the invaluable assistance
     of the Sanitary Commissioners and M. Soyer, as well as the advice
     and the moral support of Sir John M’Neil and Colonel Tulloch,
     commissioners, and of Dr. Hall and the medical staff. The affairs
     of the sisters and nurses were arranged, new huts built, kitchens
     erected and arranged, and a vigorous action in the whole department
     begun, with the full assent and aid of the medical officers, when
     Miss Nightingale was seized with the Crimean fever and carried up
     to the hut hospital on the Genoese heights.

     She became convalescent after about twelve days, and was
     recommended to take a voyage to England; she, however, though in a
     state of extreme weakness and exhaustion, refused to entertain the
     idea of going beyond Scutari, trusting that she might be enabled
     the sooner to return to her advanced post at Balaklava. Lord Ward,
     with a generous perseverance in well-doing, forced Miss Nightingale
     to accept his steam-yacht the _London_, which was placed at her
     disposal on the 3rd inst., and in this vessel she happily and
     rapidly performed the voyage to Scutari. The Hon. W. Wellesley, Dr.
     Curgewan, Lord Ward’s medical man, Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, M.
     Soyer, whose enterprise has been associated with that of Miss
     Nightingale at Balaklava, besides Mrs. Roberts, chief nurse, and
     servants, were on board. Miss Nightingale was visited while sick by
     Lord Raglan at the huts, and again on board the _London_, and was
     received on landing at Scutari by Lord W. Paulet, Commandant, Dr.
     Cumming, Inspector-General, and Dr. Macgregor, Deputy Inspector.
     The house of the chaplain is placed at her disposal by the Rev. Mr.
     Sabin, and she has been offered the use of the British Palace at
     Pera by Lord and Lady Stratford de Redcliffe. Miss Nightingale is
     extremely weak, but has no remains of fever, and no danger is

     The sanitarium, in huts on the Genoese heights at Balaklava, is now
     in full action, and will accommodate about six hundred, at the
     elevation of seven hundred feet above the sea. The wounded are
     doing well there, and the kitchen has been perfected by M. Soyer.
     One of the large huts is used as a chapel, and the whole staff of
     medical men, purveyors, chaplain, sisters, and nurses (Mrs. Shaw
     Stewart[16] superintendent), are well chosen and practically
     zealous. A second sanitarium, on St. George’s Monastery heights, is
     ready for one hundred and fifty, and rapidly progressing. Good
     water is found in both situations.

     In the General Hospital, above the head of the harbour, with its
     huts adjacent to the main building, about two hundred and fifty
     patients (chiefly sick) are attended (two huts being given up for
     cholera). The medical men are especially active there, the
     orderlies have been much improved in number and quality by recent
     regulation, the kitchen and chief cook have been recommended by M.
     Soyer, and the chief purveyor has shown anxiety to make ample
     provision of requisites, now happily to be found in abundance; but
     the situation is not a good one; the heat is great, and the crowds
     frequenting the purveyor’s stores inconveniently near to the sick
     wards. The sisters and nurses (Miss Warre superintendent) are
     actively employed, and inhabit a hut adjacent to the main building.

     The ship _Abundance_, lately arrived, has its bakery at work day
     and night, turning out excellent bread, which will take the place
     of the sour and mouldy article often sent from the contractors at
     Constantinople. M. Soyer has invented a most important kind of
     bread, which seems to unite the advantage of the loaf and the
     biscuit, and has found out a method of cooking salt rations which
     makes them most palatable and entirely removes the salt. His
     receipts have been highly approved, and will be printed by the
     authority of head-quarters. The camp kitchens he has invented for
     field hospitals will soon be in activity, as those of the chief
     hospitals already are; but his suggestions and their application
     are of so practical and extensive a nature that they will require a
     second letter from,

Sir, your obedient servant,
C. H. B.

     _Scutari Barrack-hospital, June 7._

_To the Editor of the Times._

     SIR,--I shall do myself the pleasure of forwarding you by the next
     post a _résumé_ of my culinary progress in the Crimea, adding to it
     the promised receipts, as well as some of those which I have
     already very successfully introduced into the camps, made out of
     the rations issued to the troops. I am also happy to inform you,
     that though so close to Sebastopol, I have not yet met with a
     single enemy; and were it not for the continual roaring of the
     cannon, the bursting of shells, and the heat of the sun, I could
     fancy myself in England’s happy land. But instead of enemies, on
     the contrary, from head-quarters to every camp and regiment, the
     officers and medical gentlemen have rendered me the utmost
     assistance, so ready are they to improve the cooking of the food
     for their brave companions in arms. The provisions allowed by
     Government I consider bountiful, and only require to be applied to
     the best advantage. With the highest consideration,

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

     _Camp before Sebastopol, June 3._



     Preparations for my departure--French, Turkish, and Sardinian
     camps--Lord Ward--A visit to Mr. Upton--The lost pony--A bright
     idea--A famous piece of roast-beef--Mrs. Seacole and her
     daughter--News of the lost pony--A merry group--My beef in
     danger--A _ruse de guerre_--Safe at head-quarters--Sir George
     Brown--Interview with Lord Raglan--Letter in the _Illustrated
     London News_--Curious mistake--A night cruise--Explanations--Lord
     Raglan’s affability--The late Madame Soyer--Lord Alvanley and
     Ude--Singular birthday anecdote--Pleasant gossip--Ride home--News
     from Kertch--Visit to the Tchernaya--An invitation--Miss
     Nightingale on board the _Jura_--Mishaps--Midnight visitors--The
     _London_--A kind offer--Acceptance--Ready to start.

Miss Nightingale was at this period gradually recovering, and the time
for her departure drew near. That lady and Mr. Bracebridge had both
expressed their wish for me to return to Scutari with them, which I was
also very anxious to do. I wanted to give an important _coup d’œil_
at the hospitals there, which were still very full. So I made the most
of my remaining time; visited the French, Turkish, and Sardinian camps,
and their hospitals, from each of which, I am proud to say, I gleaned
some important and useful dietetic information. It was, however, better
suited to the camp than to the permanent hospitals. What struck me most
in the French and Sardinian treatments, which are based upon a similar
system, was this--viz., that too much liquid of a weak nature was
administered to the patients, and in too great quantities--especially as
the climate had so great a tendency to produce diarrhœa, dysentery,
and cholera.

I had remarked during my stay at Scutari, and when the hospital was
filled with patients suffering from those diseases, that the succulent
mutton and barley broth I had introduced was selected daily from the
dietary by the English doctors, in preference to beef-tea,
chicken-broth, &c.; as well as the receipts for plain boiled rice,
savoury rice, slightly curried rice, rice-pulp, ground rice-pudding,
sago-jelly, sago-panada; and for beverages, strong rice-water,
barley-water, and arrowroot-water, in preference to lemonade during the
first stage of those diseases; and that numbers of these light though
nutritious dishes were selected by the doctors when the disease was at
its height.

Though I am aware that in different countries men have different
constitutions, I also remarked that the Turkish system of diet closely
resembled the English, as they used a great deal of rice, flour--stewed,
broiled, and boiled meats, &c. &c. In giving this opinion, _en passant_,
it is only with the intention of submitting to the public, if not to the
faculty, things which struck me forcibly during my visits to those
important establishments, in which everybody has and ever will take a
national interest. Nor can I bring these few remarks to a close without
returning my grateful thanks to the authorities in these various
establishments for their very courteous attention upon all occasions.

We remained about a fortnight longer in the Crimea, which time I spent
in attending to my duties both in the camp and in the hospitals. One
morning I had the pleasure of being introduced to Lord Ward, who was
very anxious to see Miss Nightingale, as he had a number of letters as
well as parcels for that lady. On my informing his lordship that Miss
Nightingale was ill, and would not be able to see any one for some time,
I believe he forwarded them to her. As I was very desirous of seeing his
vessel, he very kindly invited me to visit him on board; and we
parted--I to meet Mr. Bracebridge, and to accompany him on our
long-promised visit to Mr. Upton; and Lord Ward, to pay his first visit
to head-quarters and the camp.

In a short time we arrived at Mr. Upton’s house, and were very kindly
received. Mr. Upton is a very short, fair man, still young, and very
pale. His daughters are two of the prettiest little girls I ever saw,
aged respectively nine and eleven years. He seemed to have suffered much
from his confinement, but spoke highly of the treatment he had received
from the English while in captivity. His goods were exposed on view, and
the sale was to take place a few days after. Having been set at liberty,
he was about to return to his native place, near Atherstone in
Warwickshire. Everything connected with that gentleman and his family,
as well as what relates to his late father, is too well known to require
to be repeated.

Six days had elapsed, and I had received no news of the lost pony. The
endeavours to find his saddle were also fruitless; and the pony was
quite a secondary consideration. This put me in mind of a most
extraordinary case of absence of mind in a man who had been gambling,
and unexpectedly found himself in great distress, having nothing left
but his horse, which was starving for want of provender. On a sudden, a
bright idea flashed across his mind. In order to save it, he went and
sold the horse to buy some hay. Had the Doctor found the saddle, it was
ten to one against his being able to purchase another pony, they were so
scarce at the time.

On the seventh day, I happened to be riding triumphantly through the
camp with my tall guardsman Thomas before me. He was carrying a fine
piece of roast-beef--or at least beef for roasting--which I had begged
of the captain of a vessel who came from Alexandria, and intended for
Lord Raglan. But I must here observe that it would have been dangerous
to cross the camp with such a precious treasure unguarded, as some of
those marauding Jack Sheppards of Zouaves would have thought nothing of
taking possession of it. They always went in strong bodies, and were
ever on the look-out for prey. I said to myself, “If, in the middle of
the road, and under my own eyes, they will steal a horse, nothing is
more certain than they will try to borrow this”--the word “steal” was
not allowed to be mentioned in the French camp, the word “borrow”
sounding more genteel.

The loss of the beef, added to the rumoured loss of the four horses,
would indeed have afforded abundant materials for fun; so I sent my
avant-guard by the road on foot, instead of across country, and followed
him on horseback. This plan gave me an opportunity of seeing Mrs.
Seacole, to thank her for her kind exertions, although the missing pony
had not been found. On reaching her place, I found several mounted
officers taking refreshment; when Miss Sally Seacole (her daughter),
whose name I have not yet introduced, called out--“Mother, mother! here
is Monsieur Soyer!” This announcement brought her out immediately, and
she exclaimed, “Good luck to you, my son! we have found your pony: come
down. Here are some officers who say they have had a grey pony like
yours in the stables of their regiment these last few days. Didn’t you
say so, gentlemen?”

“Yes, Monsieur Soyer!” said one, “but you must look sharp, for they are
going to sell it to-morrow, if no one claims it.”

“Many thanks for the warning. I will ride over directly. Pray, what is
the number of the regiment?”

“The 93rd--fourth division--near the Woronzoff-road. I am almost sure it
is yours.”

“Well, my son,” said Mrs. Seacole, “didn’t I tell you that it would be

“Really, Mrs. Seacole, I don’t know what I shall give you for the
trouble you have taken in this affair. At all events, here is something
on account,”--saluting her upon her deeply-shaded forehead, at which
every one present laughed and joked.

“Gentlemen,” said I, “I knew you would be surprised; though it is very
natural for a son to kiss his mother. At any rate, you cannot say that,
upon this occasion, I have shown my love and taste for the fair sex.” A
hearty laugh concluded this innocent bit of fun.

My guardsman, Thomas, who had continued his journey, had by this time
nearly reached his destination. After a sharp gallop I caught him, and
just in time to rescue the piece of beef he had carried safely so far. I
found him drinking brandy with several of the French Imperial Guard, at
their canteen; and he was exhibiting the choice piece, which I had
wrapped up so carefully in a cloth and packed in a basket. It was the
admiration of all who formed the merry group. They said to him, “Anglais
roast-beef--bono Johnny.” This was all their conversation upon the
subject previous to its capture, which I have no doubt would have been
the case had I not made my appearance. Seeing the imminent danger in
which the choice morsel was placed, and aware that nothing but a _ruse
de guerre_ could rescue it from the hands of the enemy--

“Thomas,” said I, in French, “how dare you stop drinking in this way,
when you know that General Canrobert must have that beef roasted for his
dinner; and it is already past three o’clock. (“By Jupiter!” said one of
them, “it’s no go--it’s for the Commander-in-Chief.”) Go along with you!
(He began to inquire what I said.) Don’t answer me, sir, or you shall
have a night in the guard-house. Pray, my fine fellow, which is the
nearest way to the French head-quarters? I had better carry it myself--I
shall be there first. Give it me,” said I, taking the basket, and
ordering Thomas to follow.

Bidding the astonished soldiers adieu, I galloped off with my prize.
Upon arriving at head-quarters, I rated Thomas for his stupidity, and
went to the kitchen to ask for a large dish to put the beef on. It quite
astonished Monsieur Armand, as he had seen none of that quality before.
Indeed, it contrasted strangely with some beef he had upon the table.

“You are more comfortable now,” I said, “since those few additions have
been made to your kitchen?”

“Very much so; and I am extremely obliged to you for what you have

“You have a very good roasting fireplace. Will you be kind enough to
have that piece of beef roasted to a turn for Lord Raglan’s dinner
to-morrow, as it is Sunday?”

“Yes,” said he; “it comes quite _à propos_; and I will roast it as well
as I can, but must suspend it by a cord, as I have no spit.”

“Do so--that will be more camp fashion; but pray don’t bake it, for that
would spoil it, and you don’t know the trouble I had to get it as far as
this in safety.”

I then told him about Thomas and the French soldiers, at which he could
not help laughing, saying, “It has had a narrow escape, for those devils
of Zouaves will steal the coat from your back. A few days ago they stole
a whole sheep from that bit of a larder I have here in the yard.”

“You had better give it to the steward to keep in his pantry till
to-morrow--it will then be safe.”

“I will do so.”

As Thomas was carrying it into the house, we met several officers, who
inquired whence it came. I went and showed it to Colonel Steele, begging
that he would be kind enough to offer it to Lord Raglan, with my
respects. While I was in Colonel Steele’s room, in walked Sir George
Brown and his aide-de-camp.

“Bravo,” said the latter, looking at it; “you have indeed improved the
ration meat, if this is a specimen.”

“It is,” I replied; “but I am sorry to add that it is both specimen and

“It is certain,” said the general, “I have seen no such meat since I
left England. Where does it come from?”

“Alexandria, general.”

“Oh, that’s a long way to bring it in large quantities.”

“Truly, general; but this is only an out-of-the-way piece. I think we
may shortly have plenty, and at a moderate price, and from a nearer
place. No time is lost; but, as the proverb says, ‘the world was not
created in a day.’”

At this moment Lord Raglan came in, quite by chance. “Hallo, Monsieur
Soyer,” said he, “what have you got there?”

“A piece of ration beef, my lord, with a certain addition of fat; and I
beg your acceptance of it for to-morrow’s dinner. I have seen Armand
about it, and he has promised to do it to a turn.”

“That’s very kind of you,” said his lordship, giving his orders to the
colonel, and inquiring, at the same time, about a very important
telegraphic despatch.

“But I must again tell you, as I mentioned once before, you will not
find my cook a first-rate _cordon bleu_.”

“Well, my lord, no doubt he does his best, according to the quality of
the provisions, which, your lordship must be aware, are not first-rate.
At all events, I shall trust this marvel to his skill; and if he does it
to a turn, as he has promised, he will prove the correctness of my
countryman’s words--Brillat Savarin--who says, in his _Physiologie du
Goût_, ‘On devient cuisinier, mais on est nait rôtisseur.’”

“That is a charming work of Savarin’s,” said his lordship. “Well,
Soyer,” continued he, “this certainly looks like English beef. Where
does it come from?”

“From Alexandria, my lord. I dined the other day on board the _Etna_,
and we had a splendid piece of roast beef for dinner. I at once claimed
a portion for your lordship’s table; and the captain ordered the best
piece to be put by--and here it is.”

“Very kind of him, very kind--and of you too, Monsieur Soyer.” As Lord
Raglan said this, he turned and gave his orders to Colonel Steele.

“Have you found your pony?”

“I believe so. I hear it is in the stables of the 93rd Regiment, and I
am going to look for it directly.”

“You are lucky,” said he; “for some fellows have actually stolen thirty
live sheep and several mules from here.”

“Have they indeed?”

“Yes, I assure you it is too true. Is it not, Steele?”

“So I was told.”

“Oh, I hear Miss Nightingale is soon going back.”

“Yes, as soon as she is sufficiently strong to bear the voyage.”

Lord Raglan then left the room. Never was there a man at all times more
composed and collected than he was; and he always had a kind word and
smile for those around him, even at the most critical times.

Several days had by this time elapsed since the departure of the
expedition for Kertch, and no news of its movements had been received.
The harbour looked very dull. Not knowing how to spend my evening, I
went with a friend to Kadikoi, and dined there. Whilst at table, an
officer who knew me, and who was reading the last number of the
_Illustrated London News_, addressed me with a “Hallo, Monsieur Soyer,
they have got you in the _Illustrated_ this week.”

“Have they?” said I. “Oh, I see--it is the last letter I sent from

“Yes, it is,” he replied.

“About the opening of my kitchen? Yes, and here is the sketch. I did not
notice that before.”

He then passed the paper to me. On perusing the letter, I perceived that
the printer had made a slight mistake, and one of vital importance to
me, as it operated to the detriment of the purveyor-in-chief at Scutari,
as well as to the authorities. The blunder was as follows. In one
passage of my letter I made special remarks upon the inferior quality of
the provisions to be _obtained_ at Constantinople. They had inserted the
inferior quality of provisions _purchased_ at Constantinople. I hardly
knew how to rectify such a serious mistake, so I at once resolved to go
and explain the matter to Lord Raglan, before he could hear from any
other quarter, of what he might suppose to be my ill-feeling towards a
party from whom I had previously informed his lordship I had received
the greatest assistance and kindness. I immediately returned to the
_Baraguay d’Hilliers_, and found Peter Morrison on board. I showed him
the paper; and he at once approved of my resolve, and offered to
accompany me to head-quarters.

Though rather late--it was dusk--I borrowed a pony from the Commandant
and a mule from Colonel Dennis. By way of a change I rode the mule, and
off we went in true campaigning style. We were overtaken by night before
we could reach head-quarters. It was at all times imprudent to be out
after dark, as violence and robbery were of daily occurrence. At length,
after a détour of about a mile, we saw the gleam of several lights, and
riding towards them, found ourselves safe at head-quarters, having
fortunately hit upon the place. The party were at dinner. After waiting
a short time, the steward came and told me that dinner was over, and the
gentlemen were taking their wine. I then begged him to inform Colonel
Steele of my arrival, and say I should feel obliged if he would step
into his room for a few minutes, as I had something important to
communicate. Upon receiving my message, Colonel Steele immediately came

“Good evening, colonel. Very sorry to disturb you.”

“Never mind that, Monsieur Soyer. But what brings you here so late at
night? Are you staying here?”

“No, my dear colonel; I am still at Balaklava, but on the _Baraguay
d’Hilliers_ instead of the _London_.”

“Indeed. Well, she’s a much better vessel. But what can I do for you?”

“I will tell you. I am much annoyed at a mistake which has occurred in
the printing of a letter of mine which has appeared in this number of
the _Illustrated London News_. There are only two words misplaced, but
they entirely alter my meaning. Pray read those few lines, colonel,” I
continued, giving him the paper, and pointing them out; the letter being
to the following effect:--

     That in the description they gave of the opening of my kitchen at
     Scutari, in the number of the 14th inst., an error crept in,
     occasioned by the omission of a word, which entirely alters my
     sentiment, and if not contradicted would reflect much discredit
     upon the authorities at Scutari, [and thereby inflict a serious
     injustice. The sentence to which I referred appears in the paper
     thus--] “That I prepared my bill of fare according to the
     provisions allowed, which are at all times of an inferior quality;”
     whilst the passage should run as follows:--“_That I prepared my
     bill of fare according to the provisions allowed, which at all
     times are of an inferior quality at_ CONSTANTINOPLE in comparison
     to English provisions.”

“I suppose you meant to say, the provisions to be obtained.”

“Exactly, colonel.”

“What do you wish me to do?”

“Merely to be kind enough to explain the error to Lord Raglan
to-morrow, as it would appear very ungrateful on my part to the
authorities at Scutari; more especially as I informed his lordship that
those gentlemen had done everything in their power to assist me.”

“I had better do it at once. His lordship has just done dinner. I will
go and show it to him; you can walk in with me.”

“No, I thank you; I had rather wait here.”

In a few minutes he returned with the paper, saying, “I have shown it to
Lord Raglan, and he will make a note of it.”

He had scarcely uttered the words, when I heard his lordship inquiring
in the corridor, “Where is Monsieur Soyer? where is he?” and in he
walked, followed by his Staff, seven or eight in number, among whom was
Dr. Pennefather. The Commander-in-chief was dressed in plain clothes,
and looked very well, full of health and vigour. His fine open
countenance, so characteristic of the man, was more brilliant than ever,
and his conversation quite jocular. After alluding to the step I had
just taken, and which, he observed, was very thoughtful on my part, he
promised to have the parties informed of the mistake, and of my

“Monsieur Soyer,” (Lord Raglan, as he said this, was standing in the
doorway, leaning on his right shoulder, with his legs crossed, and
surrounded by several gentlemen, forming a group which I shall not
forget as long as I live,) “you must have known my old friend Ude?”

“I did, my lord.”

“How many years were you at the Reform Club?”

“Above twelve. It was old Mr. Ude who gave the late Madame Soyer away
when we were married; so we often visited him.”

“Lord Alvanley, who had apartments at Mr. Ude’s, lived there for years,
and I frequently visited him,” said Lord Raglan.

“If so, no doubt your lordship will recollect a very interesting picture
of a country girl going to market, with a basket of poultry under her

“I do, very well indeed, and I know it was painted by your wife. It was
very cleverly done. But you had all her best pictures at the Reform
Club. You showed them to me yourself.”

“I recollect doing so perfectly well.”

“She was a very talented woman indeed!” observed several of the
gentlemen present, who had seen her pictures.

“She was an Englishwoman, was she not, Monsieur Soyer?” said his

“Yes, my lord; her maiden name was Emma Jones.”

“Of course,” rejoined one of the group, “her paintings were well known
by that name.”

“So they were, captain, and fetched high prices too. I do not sell any
now; on the contrary, I still have my gallery complete, and have bought
in several since her death. I offered old Ude fifty guineas for the
painting in his possession called ‘La Jeune Fermière;’ but he would not
part with it, as it was presented to him by her. Previous to my
departure from England for the East, I was advised by the chaplain of
the cemetery to insert on the monument the country of her birth, as many
believed her to be a foreigner. The inscription was simply ‘TO HER.’ I
then composed the following laconic epitaph:--

England gave her birth,
Genius immortality.’”

“Very good indeed,” said his lordship. “I myself have seen the monument,
which is considered one of the finest in Kensal-green Cemetery.

“I was saying, Soyer, that I frequently visited Alvanley; and we always
knew when Ude and his wife were at home, for they never ceased
quarrelling. They kept five or six dogs, and what with their barking and
the quarrelling of master and mistress, I never heard such a noise in my
life. I often wondered how Lord Alvanley could put up with it; but he
said he was used to it, and could hardly feel comfortable anywhere

“Talk of quarrelling, I believe they could not exist without it--not
even on birthdays; and if you will allow me, I will relate a singular
birthday anecdote.”

“Pray do, Soyer.”

“You must know that the old gentleman, though very avaricious, now and
then came out in first-rate style with his gastronomic parties; but the
great day of all was the 15th of August in each year--being the fête and
birthday of the illustrious and far-famed Louis Eustache Ude. Upon these
occasions, about four-and-twenty of his most devoted and illustrious
disciples were invited, with their wives, to a most sumptuous dinner at
his house. The grandeur of the gold and silver ornaments was actually
cast into the shade by the elegance and succulence of the _mets_ they
contained. The choicest articles in season--viz., fish, flesh, poultry,
vegetables, and fruit--seemed to have been waiting to come to perfection
for this high-priest of the gastronomic art, and many culinary
inventions which still delight the scientific palates of the epicures of
the day had their origin at that Lucullusian anniversary.

“Upon one of these great occasions, Madame Soyer and myself were
invited. As it was the first to which I had been invited, I was very
anxious to go. About a week previous, so strong was my wish to be
present at this feast, I asked the committee to grant me leave of
absence from duty for one evening, and they kindly acceded to my
request. To the minute, _heure militaire_, we were there, and were
saluted upon our arrival by the usual dogmatic chorus, which for a few
minutes prevented our hearing a word that was spoken. At length we were
all seated, Mr. Ude at the top of the table, and Mrs. Ude facing him.

“It was, I must repeat, a most superb and elegantly laid-out board. The
best part of the dessert, which is always refreshing to the sight,
‘particularly in the middle of August,’ had been made a perfect study.
Soup was duly served, and highly praised by the culinary _convives_ and
judges. It was a _bisque d’écrevisses_. The Madeira was circulating
cheerfully round the table, to the trinquing of glasses, after the old
French fashion, when an unfortunate guest, having probably too far to
reach a beloved friend, put his foot forward, and unfortunately
deposited it upon the paw of one of the _enfans chéris de la maison_.
Vermilion--that was the name of the plaintiff--being an _enfant gâté_,
seized upon the leg, which happened to be bootless, as the unlucky guest
wore thin shoes. The dog made a slight indenture with his teeth, causing
him involuntarily to reply to the attack of Vermilion; three or four
more of the four-legged tribe joined the battle-cry, and the noise was
intolerable. The compliments which passed between the host and hostess
were pithy and violent, though scarcely heard through the din, excepting
by those who happened to be seated close to them. We were fortunately
about the centre of the table, and all we could catch was--

“‘Oh, you stupid old man! why did you not lock the dogs upstairs, as I
told you to do?’

“‘Be quiet, madam!’ replied Mr. Ude. ‘This is my birthday, and I will
have no quarrelling.’

“‘No more will I; but why did you not lock up your dogs?’

“‘Well, madam, I am sure they were quiet enough till that stupid young
man trod upon poor Vermilion’s paw.’

“‘Stupid young man, did you say? Mr. Ude, pray how dare you insult my
relation? If any one is stupid here, it is you, Mr. Ude!’

“‘Will you be quiet, madam?’--‘No, I shall not!’

“‘What, not on my birthday! There, take that.’

“As he said this, he threw some almonds across the table, and his wife
replied with some projectiles snatched up at random from other portions
of the dessert. The dogs joined in the fray, and entirely upset the
party. All the ladies left the table. The young man who had been bitten
attempted to apologize; in return for which concession on his part, the
great Louis Eustache and his amiable spouse returned a volley of abuse.
An hour elapsed before anything like order could be established, when
several ladies returned to the table, while a few remained to console
the victimized spouse. The great Mr. Ude had bravely retained his
important position, and, still violently excited, commenced helping the
fish--a magnificent crimped Gloucester salmon, procured at Groves’s in
Bond-street--which was by this time as cold as ice.

“‘Only fancy,’ ejaculated the enraged Amphitryon, ‘even on my birthday!
Upon my word, she is a wretch! She never will--‘ Then, by way of
parenthesis, to the waiter, ‘Go round with the sauce, you stupid! don’t
stand there staring like a fool.’--‘Prosper! no, I’m sure she never,
never will prosper!’

“At length something like harmony was restored; but only six ladies out
of eleven returned; the others remained with Mrs. Ude, and, I believe,
dined upstairs. Much to our sorrow and disappointment, one of the finest
dinners of the season was served up cold, and entirely spoiled, through
the pugnacity of Louis Eustache Ude’s favourite pup.”

All laughed heartily at the anecdote, particularly Lord Raglan, who then
told us that Ude had called upon him several mornings respecting a cook
he had applied for to Mr. Ude, for his brother, the Duke.

“Ude,” said Lord Raglan, “called several mornings, first with two dogs,
then three, next four. At last I said to him, ‘I am very much obliged to
you, Mr. Ude, for your kind visits respecting my brother’s cook, and
shall be happy to see you at any time--but in future without your
four-legged companions.’

“‘Why?’ asked the great _chef_, rather put out.

“‘My dear sir, if you want an explanation, inquire of the housemaid!’ He
rushed out, and never called again; but he sent the cook all the same.
Ude was an excellent manager, and a good cook, but had a very odd
temper; he died very rich.”

“Very rich indeed.”

“To whom did he leave his fortune?”

“Oh, to his favourite pet, Madame Ude. She is still alive, and lives in
the same house in Albemarle-street.”

“Really, I did not know that!”

“My lord, and gentlemen, I wish you good evening, and thank you for your

“You must take some refreshment, Soyer, before you go. Order what you
want. Steward, wait upon Monsieur Soyer.”

They then all went out, and sat upon the door-steps, smoking their
cigars. Lord Raglan was that night in a very jovial mood: Colonel
Steele observed to me, “Did you ever know or see a finer man for his
age? Is he not still full of life and vigour, and the picture of an
English nobleman?”

“He is, indeed; and I always notice that he has plenty of fun and

“That is true; but more so with you, as you are not a military man. He
is very strict on duty.”

As I was taking some refreshment, Lord Raglan came to me, and said,
“Monsieur Soyer, I wish you would give my cook, Armand, the receipt to
make that excellent French _pot-au-feu_ you gave me when I saw you at
the Reform Club.”

“I will; and those vegetables-chollet I have submitted to your lordship
will be the very thing for it. They are made of common vegetables,
exactly suitable for that soup. It is by far the best, most wholesome,
and nutritious for the troops.”

“I am confident of that,” said his lordship, going back to his seat.

I then went out through the side door to fetch my mule, which P.
Morrison had been walking about the courtyard along with his pony.
Jumping upon it, I rode up to the group, to say good-night to Lord
Raglan and all present.

“Hallo,” Lord Raglan exclaimed, “where is the charger you had the other
day? What is that you are mounted upon?”

“A mule, my lord, belonging to Colonel Dennis of the Dragoons.”

“Ah, you are much safer upon that.”

“I feel so, I assure you, my lord. The charger to which you allude
belonged to Colonel Hardinge.”

“So I heard.”

“It was a good joke on the part of the Commandant. I asked him to do me
the favour of lending me his light pony, and he sent me his large
charger, which ran away with me, but fortunately not towards
Sebastopol.” At this they all laughed heartily; and I and P. Morrison

When we were about half a mile from head-quarters, we heard a sharp
fusillade in the direction of Sebastopol, and there was a lull in the
cannonade and shelling, which had not ceased during my stay at
head-quarters. We proceeded to the Turkish camp, situated on the heights
to the right, from whence we could plainly see the firing. The Turkish
soldiers were in high glee, singing, dancing, smoking, drinking coffee,
and playing no end of Oriental instruments, which, however well tuned,
were by no means in harmony. They were bivouacked all over the camp;
some of the officers who were smoking offered us chibouques and coffee,
which we declined, as it was then so late. We left, thanking them for
their civility.

As we rode along, I could not help remarking to P. Morrison the
extraordinary contrast of the two scenes, witnessed nearly on the same
spot and within a short interval--the present one all fun and glee, the
other a scene of death and carnage, where hundreds of human beings were
being launched into eternity. Such are the chances and the variation of
war. It was after twelve when we arrived at Balaklava, and were safe on
board. My heroic companion related the terrible fright he had been in
all the way back, having seen most dreadful things, in the shape of
ghosts, brigands, and murderers. It is true that on one occasion we were
arrested; but it was by a wide ditch, which we could not easily jump
over without risking a bath with the frogs, it being one of the resorts
of those aquatic quadrupeds. We had lost our way, the road being
invisible, and no landmarks, as the camps were being daily changed from
one spot to another. These were the tribulations caused by the printer
or my illustrious secretary. The next morning the captain of the vessel
came to my cabin, and informed me that Kertch and other places in the
Sea of Azoff were taken.

The news of such a victory was most welcome, and the harbour was gaily
decorated with hundreds of coloured flags of the Allied nations.
Everything seemed to revive, and all felt anxious to visit the
newly-conquered land of Kamara, which had been taken a few days before.
In company with a few others, I started at four A.M. to visit these
_champs fleuris_. Nothing could be more refreshing than the sight of
that gorgeous harvest, which seemed to have suddenly sprung up amidst
deserted and arid rocks, sand, and gravel, where all had before been
condemned to exile. Nothing in my whole existence appeared more grateful
and refreshing to the mind, as well as the eye, than the odour from
those perfumed valleys of myriads of wild flowers, shaded from the
burning heat of the sun by a tall verandah of long green grass, the top
of which softly caressed the chests of our horses as they trotted
through these thickly-populated floral prairies. Myriads of _étoiles des
champs_, daisies, buttercups, bluebells, cornflowers, poppies,
birdseyes, &c., and many others unknown in this country, were seen on
every side. Clouds of butterflies were seen gaily sporting from flower
to flower, taking from each a kiss perfumed by the zephyr of the morn.
Even our horses seemed to enjoy the scene so fully, that we let them
graze for about an hour. We then arrived near the charming rivulet and
valley, the Tchernaya, which, though far from being as beautiful as many
in France or England, possesses numerous charms to an uninitiated eye.

We mounted our horses, and went through the Kamara Mountains, the
scenery of which resembles that of Devonshire, Wales, or the Highlands
of Scotland. We returned home by the edge of the beautiful cliffs which
border the Bay of Balaklava. Such a day is not to be easily forgotten,
rendered still more agreeable by the cordial reception we met with from
the officers in the French and Sardinian camps, and the presence of a
most charming _compagnon de voyage_ (Mr. Stowe), a very promising young
man in high literature. The various notes he took on the spot are worthy
of Thomson’s _Seasons_.

I heard from Mr. Bracebridge that Miss Nightingale was greatly
improving, of which I was of course well aware, as I went every day to
the Sanatorium to prepare a few light things for her lunch or dinner. He
also informed me that her intention was to leave Balaklava shortly for
Scutari; to which I replied, that having done all I could in the camp
for the present, I was quite ready to go. As I had also heard that my
field-stoves had arrived, and had been landed by mistake at that place,
I decided upon going to fetch them myself. Mr. Bracebridge having found
some round stoves which were sent out for winter use, proposed having
the tops cut off and some pans introduced, which would make them similar
to mine (as he thought). “At all events,” said he, “I shall make a
trial, and show it at head-quarters.”

I very reluctantly consented to this. It took five or six days to make a
strong tin pan, which, when done and fixed in the stove, we took to
head-quarters, and showed to Lord Raglan and a number of generals
present. I made some coffee in it (that being the quickest thing), which
was approved of. But having brought my small model stove with me, I
pointed out to Lord Raglan that each pan would cost thirty shillings,
and the stoves would not be worth five shillings soon afterwards, as
they would be burnt through, thus proving the superiority of my plan.
Lord Raglan advised me to wait till my own arrived. Mr. Bracebridge and
myself afterwards went to the General Hospital, and there saw Dr.
Mouatt, who had not succeeded in getting the bricks for the kitchen

Having completed our camp rounds, Mr. Bracebridge said he was compelled
to leave me, upon some private business. I afterwards learnt that he
went to the trenches, and, being both very imprudent and curious, was as
nearly as possible taken prisoner or shot. He had appointed to meet me
by five o’clock at head-quarters, but did not come. I paid Dr. Hall and
a few friends round head-quarters a short visit, as I feared I might not
have another opportunity previous to my departure from the Crimea. It
was quite dark when I got back. Mr. Bracebridge had not returned, and we
were beginning to fear that something had happened to him. The next
morning he was on board early, and active as ever, recounting his
adventures. I that morning went on board Lord Ward’s yacht, but its
owner was on shore--so I left word that I would call again. The next day
I had the honour of receiving the following invitation from Lord Ward,
to go on an excursion in his yacht as far as Lukas, the palace of Prince

_Steam-ship “London,” Balaklava Harbour, Wednesday._

     SIR,--You were kind enough to promise to visit me on board my ship,
     the _London_. To-morrow we propose visiting Yalta and Aloupka,
     calling on the way at the pretty country-seat belonging to Prince
     Woronzoff. If not engaged, will you go with us? You will perhaps at
     the same time be kind enough to give a few hints to my cook in the
     mysteries of the art of which you are so great a master.

I have the honour to remain, yours,

About eighty persons were invited, and it was with regret that I was
obliged to decline; but a day was indeed a day to me.

Miss Nightingale got better and stronger every day, and she seemed
inclined to remain in the Crimea, observing that, owing to her illness,
she had not done half she had intended to do. Every one, and especially
the doctors, tried to persuade her that the change of air would do her
an immense deal of good.

It was at last settled that a berth in the first convenient ship leaving
the harbour for Scutari should be placed at Miss Nightingale’s disposal.
The _Jura_ was fixed upon, as she was then hourly expected, and had only
to discharge cargo and return immediately. She had four hundred horses
on board, and several hundred troops. The day before her departure Miss
Nightingale was brought from the Sanatorium upon a stretcher, carried by
eight soldiers, and accompanied by Dr. Hadley, the Reverend Mr. Parker,
Mr. Bracebridge, myself, and several Sisters of Charity. When we reached
the _Jura_, tackles were attached to the four corners of the stretcher,
and Miss Nightingale was slung on deck by means of pulleys. We found a
very disagreeable smell, caused by the great number of horses, which had
only been landed that morning. Miss Nightingale was carefully carried to
the chief cabin, a very comfortable one; yet even there the smell was
very offensive. This I mentioned to the captain, who agreed with me, but
said, “We shall no sooner get to sea than it will disappear.”

The invalid was therefore made as comfortable as possible, and the
doctors and every one left. No sooner were they gone than Miss
Nightingale fainted. I and the boy Thomas ran in every direction for a
doctor. Dr. Hadley, who had just arrived at his residence on the Genoese
Heights, came at once, and immediately ordered her to be removed to
another vessel. Not being able to find either Captain Heath or Admiral
Boxer, I thought of the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_, to which Miss Nightingale
was at once safely removed, and where I hoped she would be very
comfortable till we could get an order from the admiral for another
ship. The same evening Admiral Boxer came on board to say that he would
at once look out for one. The next afternoon Mr. Bracebridge and myself
went to head-quarters, to apprise Lord Raglan of the cause of Miss
Nightingale’s non-departure. His lordship was out, and Mr. Bracebridge
left a message to the effect that he hoped Lord Raglan would not trouble
himself about the matter, as Admiral Boxer would attend to it, and that
Miss Nightingale was quite comfortable on board the _Baraguay
d’Hilliers_. We then made a few farewell calls at the First and Third
Divisions, and also at the Guards’ camp, near Balaklava.

It was nearly midnight when we were shouting, pianoly, “_Baraguay
d’Hilliers_ ahoy!” No reply was made to either the first or second hail,
so I raised the dismal melody a few notes higher, which at last brought,
to our astonishment, a beautiful boat manned by six smart oarsmen. The
craft was handsomely painted, having a small red and white burgee at the
stern. At first I thought it was an optical delusion, or a fairy scene
raised by the magic power of Ondine, the queen of the waters. In less
than two minutes they neared the shore, and one of the fairies addressed
us thus: “Pray, are you the gentlemen who are accompanying Miss

“We are,” said I.

“I and my men have been waiting for you, sir, these three hours.”

“How is that?” asked Mr. Bracebridge.

“I cannot tell you further, than that we were sent to fetch Miss
Nightingale, and referred to you. I believe you are Mr. Bracebridge?”

“Yes; and I am at a loss to understand what you mean.”

“I’ve brought a letter from our master, Lord Ward, which will explain

“Where is it?”

“I have delivered it on board; but the last orders from his lordship
were, that if I had to wait all night, I was to bring you to him.”

“Why? Don’t you know?”

“Not exactly. But I am sure his lordship is still waiting for you; so
you had better come as far as the _London_--it won’t take you ten

We then jumped in. Mr. Bracebridge said, “I tell you how it is: no doubt
Lord Ward has heard of what has happened, and probably intends to offer
to take Miss Nightingale in his yacht to Scutari.”

“Very likely; but it would not do to accept the invitation without first
obtaining the permission of Admiral Boxer.”

“We shall see, Mr. Bracebridge. Perhaps Lord Ward will lend it to the
invalid; for he has only just arrived, and it is doing nothing.”

On getting on board the _New London_, we found that Lord Ward, tired of
waiting, had retired to rest, having left special orders to be called
the instant we arrived, no matter at what hour. As it was nearly one
o’clock, we made all kinds of objections to his being disturbed, but in
vain. The lamps were lit in the saloon, and we were invited to walk in.
We found Lord Ward _en robe-de-chambre_, quite ready to receive us.

“Welcome, gentlemen,” said he.

We were about to apologize for being so late, when Lord Ward proceeded
to say that he had heard of the non-departure of Miss Nightingale, and
the cause, and that if she would accept his yacht, he should be happy to
place it at her disposal to convey her to Scutari. He added, that she
might take her own time, as he intended to remain a fortnight in the
Crimea, and that no one should be on board excepting those whom she
chose to take with her, and his medical attendant.

Mr. Bracebridge thanked Lord Ward in his own and Miss Nightingale’s
name, and said that he would inform the lady of his lordship’s kind
offer in the morning, and communicate her decision. We then left, thus
terminating a most unexpected midnight conversation, on the 7th of June,
1855. Nothing was heard in the now peaceable harbour but the splashing
of the oars of our fashionable oarsmen, who seemed at every pull to be
smashing the Koh-i-noor diamond into hundreds of pieces while disturbing
the transparent liquid. The flashes from the guns at Sebastopol were
distinctly seen reflected, but not a sound was heard save our good-night
to the fairy rowers, as we ascended the rope ladder of the bulky
_Baraguay d’Hilliers_.

The following morning Mr. Bracebridge consulted with Miss Nightingale.
The lady expressed her thanks for Lord Ward’s kind offer, but at the
same time justly observed that the matter was in the hands of the
admiral, as he might by this time have arranged with another vessel.
Inquiries having been made, the admiral recommended Miss Nightingale to
accept Lord Ward’s offer, remarking the advantage of having the vessel
to herself, while it would be morally impossible for him to give her a
passage with the same facilities. It was then decided that the offer
should be accepted. Lord Ward soon after called for an answer, and was
highly gratified by that lady’s acceptance. He returned on board his
vessel, to have every preparation made for her reception. Miss
Nightingale was to go on board at four in the afternoon, and sail at
eight or nine the next morning. Mr. Bracebridge, Lord Ward’s medical
attendant, the Honourable Mr. Wellesley, and myself, were the only
persons to accompany her. For the last time I went my hospital and camp
rounds; and in the latter part of that day I thought of going once more
to head-quarters, to acquaint Colonel Steele of the final arrangements
for our departure. I met the Rev. Mr. Wright, the clergyman, in front of
the General’s house, and asked him where Omer Pacha’s tent was situated,
being anxious to leave my card with his excellency before leaving. Mr.
Wright kindly pointed out the spot. As I was entering the house, I met
Lord Raglan coming out.

“Oh, here you are, Monsieur Soyer! I heard you were gone, or going, with
Miss Nightingale. When do you start?”

“Early to-morrow, in Lord Ward’s yacht.”

“So I hear. I am very glad of it. She will be much more comfortable.”

“Doubtless, my lord.”

“Let me see (looking at his watch); where are you going?”

“Back to Balaklava direct, my lord, having only to make a call for a
minute in the Turkish camp.”

“If I thought I should not be too late, I would go with you, to say
farewell to her.”

“Pray don’t give yourself so much trouble. It is getting very late, and
must be near your dinner-time. I will inform Miss Nightingale of your
kind intentions--that will be quite sufficient.”

“Wait a few minutes.”--“I will.”

It was getting dusk, and having waited nearly twenty minutes, I made
inquiries as to whether it was likely that Lord Raglan was going to

“No,” was the answer from one of the Staff, “for he is very busily

I started for the Turkish camp. On my arrival there, I found that Omer
Pacha was dining out; so I left my card and respectful compliments, and
took the road through the artillery camp. This gave me an opportunity of
visiting Colonel St. George, who resided near the small village of
Carrara, about two miles from Balaklava. The kind reception I met with
from the Colonel, whom I had not seen since I left Scutari, caused some
little delay, and I did not get on board till nearly nine o’clock. To my
surprise, I learned that Lord Raglan had just left the _London_, after
paying a farewell visit to Miss Nightingale. This I could hardly believe
to be true--the space of time was so short. I much regretted not having
waited longer, though certain that his lordship could not be offended,
as I had left a message with the man on duty in the entrance hall to the
effect that I was informed that he was not coming.



     Orders to start--An accident in port--Farewells--Colonel Dennis’s
     good luck--Admiral Boxer’s kindness--_En route_ at last--Crimean
     Zouave flies--At sea--New scene of enchantment--A good
     dinner--Rough usage--A fog in the Black Sea--Out of our
     course--Fittings of the _London_--Enter the Bosphorus--Conversation
     with Miss Nightingale.

We slept that night on board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_, though all our
baggage had been removed to the _London_, and at seven next morning we
went on board. Miss Nightingale had passed a most excellent night, and
the weather was very fine. Lord Ward, who had slept at the Commandant’s,
came on board at half-past seven. After inquiring of Mrs. Roberts, the
nurse, whether Miss Nightingale had been comfortable, he gave the
captain orders for departure, which he had fixed for twelve o’clock,
instead of nine. As the weather was so fine, he proposed that a sofa-bed
should be placed upon deck, and that the captain should take us as far
as the Bay of Sebastopol, where we might have a fine view of the
besieged city, without incurring the slightest danger.

One of the mates told the captain that a vessel full of powder had taken
fire in the night, and that Admiral Boxer had been there since two in
the morning, working like a negro with the men, and therefore that he
could not see him. I believe Lord Ward knew this, but did not speak of
it for fear of causing alarm, and this was no doubt the cause of the
delay in our departure. The deck was crowded the whole morning with
visitors, particularly officials, who wished to pay their respects to
Miss Nightingale; but the doctors had given positive orders for her to
see no one. Balaklava was in a great state of excitement, on account of
the fire on board the powder-ship. Some called it the Gunpowder-plot at
Balaklava, and an attempt to destroy the British fleet. This was the
opinion in the French camp and at Kamiesch. The fleet, by-the-bye, was
at that time at least twenty miles from the supposed scene of explosion.

As there were several matters which I wished to settle before my
departure, I asked the captain whether I could land for an hour.

“Certainly you can. I don’t think we shall sail before three o’clock;
but be on board by twelve, if possible, or half past at the latest.”

“I shall be sure to return in time.”

I called at the Commissariat respecting the preserved vegetables, the
samples of which were daily expected; next, upon Mr. Fitzgerald, the
purveyor; and then went to the _Abundance_. On my way to the steamer, I
met Mr. Bracebridge going to Colonel Dennis; and although I had already
had the pleasure of saying good-bye to the colonel and his lady, I went
back with him. The colonel, who had been seriously ill for several
months, was to sail the next day for England, or Malta (I don’t exactly
recollect which), and was saying how much he regretted being obliged to
leave his regiment--that he feared the voyage would not do him much
good, as the steamer he was going by was so full of sick. He had
scarcely spoken the words, when in walked Admiral Boxer.

“Well, Dennis, my friend! I bring you good news.”

“What’s that, admiral?” said the colonel.

“Why, I have another vessel going to-morrow, with very few sick on
board, and I have secured a good large cabin for yourself and lady.”

“Many, many thanks! my dear admiral,” said Colonel Dennis, in which his
lady also joined.

“Ah! Monsieur Soyer, are you here? How are you to-day?”

“Quite well, admiral. I hope you are the same!”

“No; I am very tired.”

“Will you take a glass of wine, admiral,” said Colonel Dennis, “and sit
down, a minute?”

“No, I thank you; my nephew is waiting lunch for me, and I have been up
since three o’clock this morning helping to put out the fire on board
that ship in the harbour.”

“Well, how did you leave it, admiral?” inquired the colonel.

“The powder is safe, but the vessel is much damaged.”

“Good-bye, Mr. Bracebridge; good-bye, Monsieur Soyer. I shall see you
again--I am coming on board in an hour. You will not sail till three
o’clock. Indeed,” said he, going out, “I must take some lunch first, for
I feel very faint.”

“You’re right, admiral,” said I; “you work so hard, that if you don’t
take care of number one, you will kill yourself.”

“No fear of that, Monsieur Soyer; nothing can hurt an old fellow like

He then almost ran, instead of walking. Bidding the colonel and his lady
adieu, Mr. Bracebridge and myself immediately went on board, fearing we
might get late. Many visitors were still there, and the captain and Lord
Ward begged of them to retire. A few minutes after, we were _en route_.
The admiral was expected, but did not come; he sent some of his
officials instead. As soon as we were under way, the couch was brought
on deck--Miss Nightingale lying upon it. Mrs. Roberts held a white
umbrella over her face to screen her from the extreme heat of the sun,
fanning her at the same time. In the saloon, Lord Ward and myself were
busily engaged in a most extraordinary sport, hunting the Crimean Zouave
flies, which, no matter how you repulsed them, always came back to the
charge. We had by this time entered the bay, but were still on half
steam. Lord Ward bade Miss Nightingale farewell, as well as all on
board, and went off in a small boat. We then shaped our course for
Constantinople direct, it being too late to go and see Sebastopol. It
was striking eight bells as we cleared the Bay of Balaklava.

We were at sea; and our heroine was where I had recommended her to be,
viz., between heaven and the ocean.

Miss Nightingale remained on deck till nearly dusk. The sea was calm,
and the burning sky was so strongly reflected upon its surface that we
seemed to be rapidly traversing a lake of fire. The radiant face of the
sun itself had for some time been concealed by the majestic rock upon
which stands the monastery. The turbulent noise of the harbour was
succeeded by a dead calm; even the zephyrs seemed to have deserted the
collapsed sails, and nothing was heard but the rapid action of the
paddles. Of all on board, only Miss Nightingale, her nurse, and myself
seemed to enjoy this new scene of enchantment. The rest of the
passengers were slumbering in the saloon. Even the turbulent voice of
the cannon in and before Sebastopol was mute to our astonished and
still-confused ears. Time, it is truly said, tries all! We were at the
seat of war, looking at my watch, only eighty-seven minutes before.

Owing to the noise of a busy sea-port, as well as the succession of
importunate visitors who, though not admitted, were announced and
politely answered, Miss Nightingale must have been, I was well aware,
much fatigued. I therefore did not touch upon any important subject of
conversation, but begged of her to be prudent and return to her cabin
before the evening dew began to fall. She could not help expressing her
gratification at the sublimity of the sudden change. Her countenance
appeared to have imbibed the balm of health, and to have extended it to
her feeble frame.

“Did I not tell you true, mademoiselle,” said I, “when I begged of you
to leave, were it only for a short time, ‘ces soucieux rochers, et cette
terre d’esclaves?’”

She smiled, and requested the captain to have her removed to her cabin,
which was immediately done.

Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, and myself, cheerfully obeyed the invitation
of an intelligent silver bell which summoned us to dinner at his
lordship’s table. I trusted a genuine appetite without the slightest
reserve to a well-provided and well-conceived dinner, regretting only
having lost the use of my substantial appetite. The wine was on a par
with the dinner--excellent.

Early morn found me shaking hands with my illustrious _confrère_ the
_chef_, in his turret-like kitchen. I thanked him much for his capital
dinner. “Pray what have we for to-day?” was the last political question
I put to him. I am unwilling to append the bill of fare, as it might
give an unexpected appetite to my readers, and thus induce them to drop
this light reading for something more substantial. That would not answer
my purpose, as I wish them to go on with the book without depreciating
the cook. The night had been rather rough, and every one on board was
ill. The day passed as it generally does when persons have been so
roughly nursed by the mother sea. The dinner was probably excellent, but
no one could tell--not even myself. Towards night, the rolling waves
grew a little more sociable; so we entered into conversation, and the
wine and grog circulated freely. The captain, like all captains who have
never been sick or drowned, laughed at us, saying we were bad sailors.

“The title of ‘good sailor’ I am not ambitious to merit, captain,” said

Next morning, I was on deck walking to and fro with the captain; the
night had been a little calmer than the previous one, but very foggy.

“Bless my soul!” said he, “what a bother it is we left Balaklava so
late. It is just like his lordship--we never know when we are going to
start. I would not give a fig for a voyage of pleasure at sea: business
men, sir! business men for navigation. All is calculated and goes right;
but for the present I don’t know where we are, it is so foggy. We are
not far from the coast; but we can’t for the life of us get in, even if
we were abreast of the entrance of the Bosphorus. We ought to have got
under way, as I proposed, at nine o’clock. Have you good sight, sir?”

“Yes, I have.”

“Well, look with this glass to the right; I fancy I see the land about
seven or eight miles off.”

“Yes,” said I; “the fog is clearing off on that side, and I believe it
is the land.”

“In that case,” said the captain, “we are nearly thirty miles out of our
way. Though it is very provoking, we may thank our stars the weather was
more favourable than the night before.”

It was now nearly five A.M., and the dew was falling very fast. Feeling
chilly, I went below, and reposed for a short time upon the sofa. Being
thirty miles out of our course gave me time for a good rest before
entering the Bosphorus; upon making which I was, at my request, called
up. As the sun rose, the fog cleared off, though slowly; the captain
made out a landmark, and found that we were, as he had before said,
about thirty miles out of our course. The _London_ was fitted up in a
princely style; she had two funnels, and was very long. She rolled very
much during the voyage, though the sea was not very rough; her being
short of ballast was probably the cause. At all events, it made Miss
Nightingale very ill.

However, our troubles were now at an end; we were slowly entering the
mouth of the Bosphorus, amidst a shower of pearls, which gathered in
millions upon the rigging and the deck. This was a great relief to us,
after the grey fog and thick fine rain--besides being unaware of our
exact position, and floating at hazard on the sea; though, thanks to the
caution and watchfulness of the captain, we had been in no danger. It
was like the opening of a fairy scene; the clouds were slowly
disappearing, disclosing to our fatigued and overstrained eyesight the
unique panorama of the Bosphorus. Its strong current appeared to
overpower the steam, and we seemed to have come to a stand-still. The
thousands who have returned from the arid and devastated soil of the
Crimea, under its burning sun, must have enjoyed the refreshing sight I
have here attempted to describe. Even Miss Nightingale had enjoyed it
from her cabin. She had been removed to the beautiful saloon upon deck,
where she had a good view of the enchanting panorama, and appeared
almost recovered from her fatiguing voyage; which proves how near pain
is allied to pleasure, and _vice versâ_, particularly as refers to
sea-sickness. Miss Nightingale requested to see me. I went and inquired
after her health, which, she said, had improved since we entered the
river. She then referred to various things she wished to have in her
extra-diet kitchen, and to numerous other matters of importance
connected with the hospitals. I requested her to keep her mind quiet,
and to depend upon me.

“No doubt, mademoiselle,” said I, “I shall not have the pleasure of
seeing you for some time, and I would certainly advise you not to go out
till you are quite restored to health: I will, therefore, send you a
journal of my daily proceedings by Mr. or Mrs. Bracebridge, whom I, of
course, shall see every day.”

“Exactly, Monsieur Soyer; but I hope I shall soon be able to go about.”

“So do I, mademoiselle, but do not attempt it before you are quite well;
and I can assure you, if I were your doctor, I should be very strict
with you, as I hear you are more inclined to devote your kind attention
to patients than to yourself.”

She smiled, and replied, “Well, Monsieur Soyer, one is much more
gratifying to my feelings than the other.”

I then spoke about Lord Raglan’s visit, and expressed my regret at not
having waited longer for him.

“I certainly did not expect to see him,” said Miss Nightingale.

“Ah, you may expect anything from his lordship, he is such an amiable
and gallant man.”

“So he is, Monsieur Soyer; and he has always enjoyed that reputation.”

We were at last before the Great Barrack Hospital; the anchor was let
down, breakfast was served, and highly relished by the assembled guests.
The _chef_ had distinguished himself upon a dish of semi-grilled and
devilled fowl, an omelette aux fines herbes, &c. &c.; and thus ended our
voyage on board the _London_. We returned our hearty thanks to the
captain, doctor, and all on board, for their kind attention to us, and
for the extreme kindness shown to Miss Nightingale; saw our luggage
landed, and went on shore. Miss Nightingale would not land till the
afternoon, the heat of the sun being so powerful.

Having apprised Lord W. Paulet of our arrival, I went my way, and Mr.
Bracebridge his. At five o’clock we again met at the landing-place, and
went for Miss Nightingale. One of the large barges used to remove the
sick, manned by twelve Turks, was brought alongside. As the roof nearly
reached the steamer’s bulwarks, Miss Nightingale was easily lowered upon
it. Mrs. Roberts was kneeling at her side, and holding a white umbrella
over her head. We went below; the sailors gave three cheers; and our
dismal gondola soon reached the shore. Upon landing, the invalid was
carried upon a stretcher by four soldiers, accompanied by Lord W. Paulet
and Staff, Dr. Cumming (who had visited her on board), followed by an
immense procession, to her private house--at which place all dispersed.

I do not recollect any circumstance during the campaign so gratifying to
the feelings as that simple, though grand, procession. Every soldier
seemed anxious to show his regard, and acknowledge his debt of gratitude
to one who had so nobly devoted her soul and comfort to their welfare,
even at the risk of her own life.



     Interview with Lord W. Paulet--Plans discussed--A new medical corps
     required--Reminiscences--Soyer’s House--An Oriental chorus--Various
     expedients--Crusade against the rats--Daily duties--The Palace
     Hospital--Happy hours--Letters to the press--A refractory
     workman--A dilemma--General good luck--The Governor of Asia’s
     entertainment--Return visits--A fire in Scutari--A midnight
     procession--Important honours--Shut out--Arrival of the
     field-stoves--Interview with the Duke of Newcastle--The Duke’s
     letter--Preparations for departure--Bornet the Zouave--His
     qualifications--An indescribable costume.

Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge remained with Miss Nightingale. I went and paid
my first visit to Lord William Paulet, having only had the pleasure of
catching sight of his lordship at the wharf, owing to the immense crowd.
I sent in my card; and the General no sooner received it, than he kindly
walked towards the kiosque drawing-room door to meet me, and gave me a
most cordial reception.

“Ah, Monsieur Soyer,” said he, “I am glad to see you again! How are you?
I have very frequently heard of you! I hope your services have been as
useful in the Crimea as they were here. I am happy to say that, during
your absence, I have not heard any complaints, and your system works
admirably. Dr. Cumming and I have often spoken on the subject since you
have been away.”

“It is extremely gratifying to my feelings to hear you speak so
favourably of my humble services; and I have returned for a short time
to give a look round, according to promise, as it is very important that
no change should take place in the management--which might occur,
inasmuch as my head man Jullien seems determined to leave. I must find
some one capable of replacing him, or must take to cooking again myself
till I can find a proper person.”

“I hope, Soyer, you will be fortunate enough to meet with a proper
person, as, no doubt, you will be obliged to return to the Crimea.”

“I am pleased to hear that Sergeant Thompson, whom we placed as
superintendent over the soldier-cooks, and the men under him, have
behaved so well. He says the men have learned to cook; but what he and
my man Jullien complain of is, that as soon as anybody is well
acquainted with his duty, he is recalled to his regiment. I really
believe that is the reason why Jullien is leaving. He says, as soon as
he gets a good man, he is taken away, and his successor requires to be
taught. This will always be the case, my lord, until a medical corps is
formed, in which all the different members are subject to the discipline
of the army, without being subject to frequent changes. Till such steps
are taken, the duties of military hospitals will never be properly
performed. I assure you, when I heard Jullien was about to leave, I was
much annoyed, and would have given anything to have been able to return
forthwith to Scutari. One day’s neglect would have upset all my former
success, and corroborated the remark made by your friend Colonel
Dennis--‘that it was all very well so long as I was present; but as soon
as I went away, it would be as bad as ever.’ His words would have proved
true enough, had I not introduced my simplified system of cookery, and
my printed receipts, by following which it is impossible for them to
err. At all events, I have now been absent two months; all has gone on
right, nor do I see why it should not continue to do so; but I must
repeat, the importance of having the duties of the military hospital
properly performed is such, that all the persons employed ought to be
subject to military discipline. I cannot depend upon civilians for
cooks, although they are so well paid.”

“Very true, Monsieur Soyer; I am quite of your opinion, and will take a
note of it.”

“The most important thing at present would be for your lordship to
secure a few men, about ten, whom I will instruct in the method of
cooking with my new field-stoves.”

“I cannot do that, Monsieur Soyer; I have no power away from this; but
Lord Raglan, who I hear is very partial to you, will soon see the
importance of so doing, and will grant your request.”

“Your lordship is quite right, for Lord Raglan, as well as yourself, has
shown me the greatest kindness; so have all the officials--Colonel
Steele in particular, with whom I have had more to do than with any one

“I have received a letter from my friend Colonel Douglas, of the 11th
Hussars, who tells me they had the pleasure of your company to dinner,
and that you kept them quite alive with your funny songs. You were the
real cock of the walk, and kept them in a roar of laughter from the
beginning to the end.”

“We did spend a very pleasant evening. There were above twenty guests.”

“Ah, I know! they sent me a list of names. You are aware that was my
regiment before I came here.”

“Of course I am. Your lordship was in the glorious charge at Balaklava.
I hear that the charger your lordship rides is the one you rode on that
memorable day.”

“Yes, it is; and we were both very fortunate, as you see.”

“Very, my lord. In these times everybody is subject to the chances of
war, as I observed that evening to Major Peel and Colonel Douglas, upon
taking my leave of them: ‘a few hours such mirth as this--_c’est autant
de pris sur l’ennemi_’--the French soldier’s proverb.”

“You are right. How did you find Admiral Boxer?”

“Rough and good-hearted--working very hard.”

“I heard several anecdotes of you and the admiral with the Sardinians.”

“Did you? Then you must have heard of my losing four horses.”

“No! I heard of your having lost one, while paying your addresses to the
fair Mrs. Seacole.”

“That was it. We had a good laugh over it, at all events. Mrs. Seacole
took a deal of trouble in the matter, and found the pony again. She is
an excellent woman, kind to everybody, I can assure you.”

“Ah, yes, I know her well; she paid me a visit on her way to the

“She told me she had spent a few days with Miss Nightingale.”

“Talking of Miss Nightingale--she is very much altered.”

“Very much indeed. She has looked much worse, but is now improving fast.
Her life was in the greatest danger.”

“So I heard.”

“I hope Lord and Lady Stratford de Redcliffe are well.”

“Yes. I had the pleasure of dining with them at Therapia last Sunday:
they inquired after you.”

“I am very happy to hear it, and shall soon pay my respects to them. I
much regretted not being in the Crimea during their visit. The _Caradoc_
left Balaklava the day the _Robert Lowe_ left Constantinople; we
therefore passed at sea.”

“So I heard. The young ladies were very much pleased with their trip;
but Lady Paget remained there. I suppose you saw her?”

“Yes, I did. Her ladyship was staying on board the _Star of the South_.
I called several times, but at last met her ladyship in the camp,
driving out in a species of vehicle, and accompanied by Lord Paget on
horseback, to whom I had the honour of being introduced by her ladyship.
She really looked so pretty, and her equipage was so bad, that a Canova
would have sculptured her as a Venus in a wheelbarrow, instead of in a

“Well, I must say, that would be a new, and, no doubt, an interesting
subject. By the bye, we shall shortly have a visit from the Duke of
Newcastle. I hope you will be here.”--“Indeed!”

“Yes, I expect him in seven or eight days.”

“I hope his grace will do me the honour of visiting my sanctorum.”

“Of course he will, you may depend upon that; but I will let you know
all about it.”

“As it is near your dinner-time, I wish you good afternoon.”

“Where are you going to dine, Monsieur Soyer? I believe I have but
meagre fare to offer you--a little soup and a leg of mutton. Will you
dine with me?”

“Many thanks--not to-day: we had a late lunch on board; and I have not
been to Soyer’s Castle yet, nor seen any of my people.”

“I suppose Lord Ward has a first-rate cook on board his steamer?”

“A very good one, and excellent provisions and wine. The only thing we
required was missing--that was appetite. Though fine at starting, we had
a rather rough passage for the time of year.”

The conversation terminated, and I took my departure. It was now too
late to make any more calls, so I went straight to the noble mansion
called Soyer’s House--a real kiosque, built of wood, very much like a
cage. The proprietor was a Turkish carriage-builder, a kind of a duck of
a fellow, who always retired to rest at dusk, and rose before daybreak
to work. He and four bulky Turkish boys accompanied their incessant
hammering by an Oriental chorus, which lasted from four till seven in
the morning--their breakfast-time. We not only had the satisfaction of
hearing them, but from my bed I could see them at work, through my
sieve-like bed-room floor, the boards of which did not meet by about
half an inch--no doubt to facilitate the ventilation of this Moslem
edifice. The weather being hot, this was bearable; but the harmony of
such inharmonious birds was not tolerable; so for several days, and
while they were in full chorus, various accidents, in the shape of
upsetting large buckets of water, occurred. The refreshing liquid at
once found its way to the back of our illustrious landlord, and he
changed his tone and air, to invoke the blessing of Mahomet upon our
devoted heads: upon which I gave them to understand, through an Armenian
groom, that if they dared kick up such a row, the General would turn
them out of their house. After that we had less singing, but the same
quantum of hammering. At all events, we were better than under canvas.

The house was very spacious: it contained nine rooms of a good size. I
had left it tenanted by good company--viz., three civilian
doctors--Burn, Ellis, and Howard--but found it deserted upon my return,
by all but the rats and other vermin. I and my people preferred that to
living and sleeping at the hospital, and, after a few days’ sport, and
stopping about three hundred holes, it became habitable. The landlord
fortunately had the toothache, and the fat boy, to whom I gave a few
piastres to hold his noise, was silent. The ablution of the other now
and then with a jug of hot water kept this extraordinary establishment

If the interior of this wooden crib was not all comfort, its outside was
very cheerful, and rather elegant. It had the appearance of a large
Swiss châlet. Vines grew round it; and if the windows were left open,
branches of cherry and mulberry trees, loaded with ripe fruit, hung
above one’s head as one lay in bed. The strong morning sea-breeze made
the house rock like a cradle, and in shaking the trees which were
planted close to the house, forced the branches in. Such was, in a few
words, Soyer’s House, in Cambridge-street, Scutari, so much envied by
almost all, except the man himself. Five of my people had kept
possession in spite of several attempts to take it by storm during my
absence. It appeared that lodgings were so scarce, they wanted to take
it from them.

One evening, after supper, my man Jullien, who possessed a first-rate
tenor voice, was delighting us with the modulations of it, when suddenly
the house began to shake most awfully, and the branches of the trees
outside the windows entered very abruptly, and much farther than usual,
sweeping off all the goblets and bottles from the table, to our great
astonishment, nearly upsetting us; when our friend P. M. exclaimed, “Who
is shaking the house?” Jullien, who had travelled much, replied, “Don’t
be alarmed--it is only an earthquake.”

“Only an earthquake, eh!” said P. M., bolting.

In rushing to the street he upset my Greek servant, who was entering
with a bowl of blazing punch, which gave both house and man the
appearance of being on fire. We saw no more of P. M. till the next day,
as he said he preferred being gulped up by mother earth at one nibble to
being smothered beneath the ponderous timbers of my castle. The same
day the Barrack Hospital shook so much, that the patients were actually
seen in a state of nudity in the barrack-yard. Several jumped through
the windows; one man was killed, and the others all more or less
severely injured.

Each day I devoted to various hospitals, all went well, excepting the
Palace Hospital, where there were not less than forty or fifty sick
officers, who were much annoyed by the indifference and neglect of their
steward. When I called there, they complained to me, and invited me to
try if I could not remedy it, as well as remain and dine with them. I
accepted their kind invitation, and soon found where the evil lay. I
informed Lord W. Paulet, Drs. Cumming and M’Elray, and Mr. Robertson,
the purveyor-in-chief; and a new kitchen was built, larger than the
former. A civilian cook was placed there, and, to their delight, a new
steward. Everything then gave more satisfaction to the illustrious
patients, who always received me with the greatest kindness--so much so,
that if nature had endowed me with several appetites daily, I could have
dined three or four times per diem.

Without mentioning names, I may summon as witnesses the unfortunate
heroes who were at that time gathered around the invalids’ table. So
happy was I in their company--and I believe they were equally so in
mine,--that I felt perfectly ashamed at being quite well; for even the
Doctor was sick, in consequence of the harassing nature of his duties;
he had so much to do--which is ever the case in time of war. With
reference to their former steward, whom we had christened “la prima
donna Antonio,” as a set-off to his trickery in supplying the invalid
officers with dessert in the shape of bad ices, unripe fruit,
&c.,--things not fit for weak stomachs,--he used, at the request of a
few, to bring his guitar, and delight with his voice _à la_ Veluti the
ears of those whose palates he had so cruelly displeased. By the aid of
a most amiable and kind lady--Mrs. Moore, who some time after died of
fever, much regretted by all--I had already their comforts, and, having
previously established a better system of cookery, thought I had done
some good for those to whom I was so much indebted for their kind and
polite attention. Though I did not remain more than three weeks at
Scutari on this occasion, never, perhaps, during the whole of my martial
career, was my heart so severely tried and tortured.

The following letters, addressed to the metropolitan press, speak

SCUTARI, _27th June, 1855_.

     MR. EDITOR,--Three weeks have hardly elapsed since my departure
     from the Crimean shores, and Death, that implacable deity of the
     dark abode, has had to engrave upon his mournful tablet a column of
     names of some of the most distinguished heroes of the present
     day--viz., Admiral Boxer, Adjutant-General Estcourt, Sir John
     Campbell, Colonel Yea, Captain Lyons, General della Marmora,
     &c.--and W. H. Stowe, a young civilian and bright ornament of the
     literary world. Every one has heard or will hear of their fame.
     History will relate facts, but time, as usual, will partly efface
     from the memory of man the cause of their martyrdom or sudden ill
     fate; while I--yes, I can relate, though with a sorrowful heart,
     the circumstances of their social position, having still on the ear
     a vibratory sound of their pure and candid voices, for it is only a
     few days since that I was amongst them, cheerfully shaking hands
     with them, transacting important business with some of them,
     partaking of the rural hospitality of others, they of mine, and
     overwhelmed by the kindness of all. Life then seemed proud of them;
     the bloom of nature was radiant upon their brows. Their eyes spoke
     volumes. Their hearts were as great in the devotion of the national
     cause, and the glory of their country, as the pure soul which has
     since departed from them for a better world. Every drop of their
     blood no longer belonged to them, but to their Queen, their
     country, their children--their names to posterity, their fame the
     beacon to future generations of immortality.

     They breathe no more! Such are the chances of war, of life’s
     uncertainty. Man proposes, and the Supreme Being disposes. Instead
     of cheerful anecdotes, which a few weeks ago I could have related
     of those noble departed, I must here, for the present, cast a
     tenebrous veil over such earthly frivolity, and implore Providence
     to bestow a better fate upon the still great and noble and brave

     With the most profound respect, I have the honour to remain,

Your most obedient servant,

     P.S. By the next steamer I shall return to the Camp to join the
     Staff I have just sent there, and terminate, I trust, with success,
     my culinary mission, and then return to the shores of Albion.

_H.M.S.V. “Caradoc,”_ CONSTANTINOPLE, _5th July, 1855_.

     MR. EDITOR,--Scarcely has the seal of my late painful communication
     had time to set, when the rocky shores of the Black Sea are moaning
     and re-echoing the solemn report of the minute-gun, while the
     foaming current of the Bosphorus is rapidly carrying to the snowy
     white cliffs of Albion the remains of a really great man, Field
     Marshal the Lord Raglan. To him, above all, I cannot but feel most
     grateful for the success of my undertaking in the Crimea. The last
     kind word and smile I received while at the seat of war were from
     that noble martyr to his country’s cause.

     With the highest consideration, I have the honour to be,

Your most obedient servant,

     P.S. The great desire of paying the last tribute of respect to the
     remains of that noble and brave warrior has delayed for a few days
     my departure for the Crimea.

One morning I had a serious discussion with one of my workmen, who
declined to cook any more for the hospitals unless I gave him the same
wages as my head man, Jullien, in whom I placed all my confidence,
having known him for years as an honest, industrious, and well-educated
man. He was much respected by all in the hospital: Lord William Paulet
made much of him, as also did Dr. Cumming, Mr. Robertson,
purveyor-in-chief, and, above all, Miss Nightingale and Mr. Bracebridge,
for his attention to business and polite manners.

I had left a hundred pounds in his care till next morning, having that
day to go to Pera about the printing of my hospital receipts. Upon my
return, I learnt that he had disappeared, taking the money with him,
except twenty pounds, which he gave to one of the boys: the remainder he
afterwards returned. No one knew where he was gone. My first thought was
to return to the hospital, and superintend the kitchen department in
person. Everything must, I knew, be in great confusion, producing upon
the people employed under him much the same effect as the similar
defection of a general would on the eve of a battle; and such a battle,
too--one that must be fought daily, with the greatest resolution.

It is indeed a question of life and death, that brave dinner-time. So
long as we get it regularly, we think nothing about it; but let one day
pass without satisfying those imperious natural wants--what do I
say?--one day! Even an hour’s delay causes us to make several
inquiries--half-an-hour, ten minutes--ay, and even less. Now, suppose I
had not, by the merest chance in the world, been apprised of his
departure, or had I been ill, and incapable of replacing him and his
subordinates, who thought to frighten me by requiring the same
wages--which, had they behaved themselves well, I might have
granted;--had anything gone wrong, which could not fail in either of
those events to be the case, my name and reputation would have been
perilled. Thanks, however, to my lucky star, although I have experienced
an immense deal of trouble in my various undertakings, I have invariably
succeeded in the end. This is one of the hundreds of tribulations and
disappointments I met with during my Eastern mission.

A few days after my arrival at Scutari, I had the pleasure of being
introduced to the Pacha, who was also Governor of Asia Minor. At a
dinner given to him by the colonel and officers of the 11th Hussars, to
which I was invited, we had for dragoman or interpreter her Majesty’s
messenger, the worthy Mr. Webster. The banquet was given at the humble,
dilapidated, and almost decapitated restaurant of Sir Demetri, it being
partly unroofed. Demetri, a Greek by birth and name, was a most obliging
man. He spoke French, Russian, and English remarkably well, and was much
esteemed by all the gentlemen who knew him. I am sorry to say that his
followers did not merit the same commendation. British Scutarians, I
humbly appeal to your grateful conscience for the former.

To be brief, the Pacha was received in the same room where, a few days
previous, we had vainly attempted to sleep. Our most excellent friend
and ally, the son of the Prophet, having quaffed with delight and common
sense the limpid liquid which takes its birth in France or any other
country, but which, for all that, is called champagne, became very witty
and cheerful--in fact, good company,--we all felt much interested in
the description he gave of his stormy career, which put me very much in
mind of that of Ali Baba or the Forty Thieves. His glory seemed to
centre in those serious, though childish tales. But, in spite of all
eccentricities, the Pacha was amiable and very good company. His health
was proposed, with twice the number of his tales, to which he very
fervently and cleverly replied, according to our learned interpreter’s
report. The evening closed very merrily. We parted, and our illustrious
guest left, followed by his numerous suite. The farewell having taken
place, the guests evaporated like a light cloud in the atmosphere.

We heard next day that some of the party belonging to the Light Infantry
were found herborizing in most profound silence upon the greensward
which surrounds the Sultan’s mosque before the Barrack Hospital. No
doubt, they had changed their mind on their way home, and preferred
staying out to trying unsuccessfully to find their home--the weather
being so very hot.

A few days after, all the guests paid their respectful duty to the
Pacha. I was one of the last, and having my dragoman with me, was very
kindly received by his pachaship, who informed me of his intention to
return the compliment of the dinner given to him by Colonel Peel and
party upon their return, as they had left the next morning for the
Crimea. According to Turkish politeness, I had no sooner entered than
all rose from their seats. There were about seven officers with the
Pacha, and I was offered the seat next to him. A richly-ornamented
chibouque was presented, and of course accepted; various sherbets,
lemonade, sweetmeats, and snow-water were handed round in vermeil vases,
and gracefully poured into glittering cups.

The conversation was specially directed to me by the Pacha himself. My
dragoman carefully translated what was said, and informed me of all that
was going on, and what I was to do. It happened to be the time of the
Ramazan, and all the minarets were illuminated. I was remarking to the
Pacha what an extraordinary and beautiful effect Constantinople and its
mosques illuminated produced upon a European, when suddenly the
following cry was heard from the street: “Ingan var Scutari!” A regular
panic seized upon all present; and they immediately started to their
feet. The Pacha took me by the hand; and while he was giving his orders,
my dragoman quickly informed me it was the cry of fire, but I was on no
account to take my hand from that of the Pacha. I inquired where the
fire was? “I don’t know,” he replied; “somewhere in the town. You had
better say good-night, as the Pacha must be present.”

The Pacha was now giving his orders fiercely, which I could find, not
only by the perpetual motion of his tongue, but by the nervous and
strong feeling of agitation of his hand, as he made me walk up and down
the large saloon five or six times without even looking at me.

The horses were ready, when a fireman, wet through, arrived, and
requested the Pacha not to disturb himself, as the fire was already
nearly extinguished. All immediately re-entered in order, except myself,
as I wanted to be off.

“No,” said the Pacha; “sit down; we must have a second chibouque, and a
round of coffee.”

“Though I did not taste it, I must say I never in my life so much
appreciated the offer of a cup of coffee as I did this, which procured
the release of my hand, so long a prisoner in that of the Turkish
magistrate. Smoking a second chibouque made me feel rather sick, so I
requested my dragoman to thank the Pacha for his kind reception, and say
that as I was going to the Crimea in a few days, I would do myself the
pleasure of paying him a visit before my departure for England. These
words being interpreted to him, the first thing he did was to arrest me
again, but luckily not by the same hand. He then spoke very fast to my
dragoman, who informed me that the Pacha wished me to go with him as far
as lower Scutari. It was one of their great Ramazan nights; he was
obliged to go, and would esteem it a favour if I could accompany him.

“With all my heart!” was my reply, as I really wished to witness the
religious ceremony of the Ramazan.

Ten horses were waiting for the Pacha, and my dragoman informed me that
his highness was anxious to do me the Turkish honours, and would walk
hand-in-hand with me through the town. Bowing respectfully to his
highness, I begged Mr. Mason (a Greek and my dragoman) to say that I
should be delighted with the honour--that I much appreciated the extreme
politeness and kind intention of his highness.

We then started, the Pacha taking my hand, preceded by six men, bearing
five large lanterns, and a glass one with three bougies in it. Behind
came his suite, composed of about ten gentlemen; next, the chiboukshis
and the horses. Mason, my man, was of course close to me to interpret
what the Pacha said, which, however, was of no great importance. Our
brilliant _cortége_ slowly wended its way through the dense crowd at
lower Scutari. Every one stopped and bowed respectfully to the Pacha.
Still holding my hand, he presented me to the assembled crowd. My
dragoman here observed, “By seeing the Pacha on foot, and holding you by
the hand, all are aware you must be a high personage, and a respected
friend of his excellency.” Hearing this, and seeing the soldiers at the
various stations go through their military evolutions as we stopped
before them, I really began to fancy I was a great man. Thanks to my
common sense, I recollected the humble part I had to play on life’s
great stage, and could I at the time have obtained possession of my left
hand (which my illustrious friend had retained in his own from his door
to the spot where we were then standing, a distance of more than two
miles), I should have shaken hands with myself, exclaiming, in the words
of Shakespeare, “Richard’s--no! Soyer’s himself again!”

This was indeed a splendid soirée, and could I spare space, the
extraordinary scenes I witnessed while going the rounds of magisterial
duty with the Pacha would of themselves make a very interesting chapter.
Our progress came to an end at a confectioner’s shop, the largest and
principal one in Scutari. Here sherbet, coffee and chibouques, iced
lemonade, sweets, and all kinds of fruit in season, were handed to us,
as we sat upon the divans in open view to the public, a great crowd
having been attracted to the spot.

Numbers entered and saluted the Pacha, and retired. His pachaship having
inquired if I would take anything else, Mr. Mason, replied in the
negative. He then said that he was obliged to remain out all night on
his magisterial duty, and that he wished me the repose of the dead till

In return for this lively desire, I wished him the night of the living,
and we parted. Two lantern-chibougies preceded us, by his order; our
horses followed; and about an hour after, we dismissed our
Jack-o’-lanterns with rather a comfortable bacshish.

It was striking three, and the sentry refused to let Mason enter the
Barrack Hospital, where he was quartered. I offered him a lodging at my
house, which he accepted. Though very late, we arrived in time to scare
two thieves away over the garden wall; and in stumbling over a basket,
we perceived their booty consisted of only a few cherries and
mulberries, nothing being deranged or stolen from the house.

Having frequently visited the General Hospital and Kululee, and as the
time for my second voyage to the Crimea was approaching, I requested
Lord W. Paulet, who was always very desirous of seeing everything
himself, to pay one more official visit to the various hospitals, which
he agreed to do, and fixed a day for that purpose. He also informed me
that the Duke of Newcastle was expected daily. Miss Nightingale had
almost recovered, and had recommenced her assiduous exertions.

My long-expected field-stoves had arrived. I made a trial with them
before the military and medical authorities, which succeeded admirably,
even surpassing my expectations in all respects. I was more anxious than
ever to return to the Crimea, and make my grand experiment before
General Simpson; and, if approved of by the authorities, to have the
proper number ordered by Government for the supply of the whole army,
reform the old system, and introduce my new one. The stoves would of
course require an outlay at first, which would soon be saved in the
great economy of fuel and transport, the small number of men required,
independently of the immense improvement in cookery, which was at first
the only object I had in view.

Lord W. Paulet’s visit took place, as agreed upon, about three days
previous to the arrival of the Duke of Newcastle. He found everything in
good order, and I was much pleased. A few days after, I was, owing to
the sudden departure of my head man, Jullien, busily engaged at my
forges, surrounded by my soldiers, like a modern Vulcan, dressed in my
culinary attire, and in the act of manipulating some hundreds of _mock
rice-puddings_ (made without eggs or milk--see receipt in Addenda) for
my numerous convalescent guests, the brave British, when suddenly my
kitchen was filled with military gentlemen of all ranks, amongst whom
was no less a personage than the late Minister-at-War, the Duke of
Newcastle, Lord W. Paulet, and numerous other high officials--military,
medical, and civil. His Grace, setting all etiquette aside, advanced
towards me, his hat in one hand, and kindly offered me the other,
saying, “How are you, Monsieur Soyer? it is a long time since we had the
pleasure of meeting.”

“True,” I replied; “not since I had the pleasure of seeing your Grace,
then Lord Lincoln, at the Reform Club.”

“You are right, Monsieur Soyer; you have an excellent memory.”

Though my present occupation was one of the humblest in the category of
my art,--viz., making puddings for the soldiers, still the kind
condescension of his Grace, and the complimentary remarks he made upon
my services, caused me to feel more proud of my humble occupation than I
did when I was dressing the great Ibrahim Pacha fête at the Reform Club,
in the year 1846, or preparing my hundred-guinea dish at the York
banquet, in the year 1850.

The Duke of Newcastle was not the first nobleman of his high rank who
had honoured me with that degree of favour; but the others had a certain
interest in so doing. For instance, while at the Reform Club, a number
of epicures used to pay me visits, shake me heartily by the hand, and
most cordially inquire about my health. These had, I always considered,
a twofold object in view: first, to induce me to give them the best of
dinners; secondly, to ascertain whether I was feverish or in good
health. In the former case they would postpone their dinner-party for a
few days, or else try to persuade me to follow the plan of the
celebrated Marquis de Coucy, one of the greatest French epicures of the
nineteenth century, who never engaged a cook without having a written
agreement, giving him power to compel him to take medicine a couple of
days before he gave any of his grand dinners, which never exceeded
twelve in the Paris season. Extra pay was allowed for this pleasant
concession on the part of the _chef de cuisine_, who no doubt turned the
funds to _tisane_--most probably, _tisane de champagne_.

In the present case, his Grace had no such object in view, as I had
nothing to offer him but soldiers’ hospital rations, diets, &c.,
composed of beef-tea, mutton-broth, rice-puddings, &c., and my new
biscuit-bread, which had been made three months, having the date of
baking stamped upon it. I drew the Duke’s attention to this, and then
broke a little into some mutton-broth; and in five minutes it had all
the appearance of a piece of fresh bread soaked in broth. In its dry
state, it was much more agreeable to eat than the usual biscuit. His
Grace was highly pleased with it, and advised me to recommend its
adoption to the War-office upon my return to London.

The kitchen was by this time full of officers and medical men, come to
pay their respects to the Duke, forming a numerous escort as he went
round the hospital. I gave a short account of my proceedings since my
arrival at Scutari, where I had closed all the kitchens but this one,
minutely explaining all its details, as well as the plan I had adopted
to keep it so clean and so cool; at which the Duke was much struck.
Cooking was done daily in it for more than one thousand men, the
weather being then intensely hot. After honouring me with most
flattering compliments, the Duke and party retired. Lord William kindly
informed me that the Duke would visit the other hospitals in a day or
two, and that he would give me due notice of his visit. Accordingly, two
days afterwards, we showed the Duke over the General, Hyder Pacha, and
the Palace Hospitals, with the arrangements of which he expressed
himself satisfied.

A few days after, the Duke of Newcastle left for the Crimea, but, prior
to his departure, honoured me with the following letter:--

MESSERIE’S HOTEL, _23rd July, 1855_.

     DEAR M. SOYER,--Accept my best thanks for the copy of your book.

     Your philanthropic labours in this country deserve the thanks of
     every Englishman, and for one I am grateful for what I have seen of
     your good work at Scutari.

I am, yours very truly,

At length I found two tolerably good cooks, and re-established
everything in the culinary department to my satisfaction. My presence
being no longer required, I prepared for my departure. I had taught
about a dozen soldiers my system of camp-cooking and the use of my new
field-stoves. I also engaged a French Zouave, named Bornet, belonging to
the 3rd Regiment, whose term of service was just out. He was to act as
my aide-de-camp, écuyer, master of the horse, and shield, in case of
blows. He knew the savate, single-stick, sword, foil, and could box
well; was a capital shot and extraordinary good horseman; he could sing
hundreds of songs, and very well too; had a good voice, danced
excellently, and was altogether of a very happy disposition.

Among his other then unknown qualities, he was very quarrelsome; a great
marauder _à la_ Zouave; remarkably fond of the fair sex, in his martial
way, running all over the camp after the heroic _cantinières_; and,
though never drunk, seldom sober, always ready to fight any one whom he
thought wished to injure or speak ill of me. In fact, he was, much
against my will, my bull-dog, and kept barking from morning till night.
He was allowed to wear his costume for twelve months longer. In fact,
my Zouave was a model of perfection and imperfection. The doctor of his
regiment, who admired him for his bravery and cheerful abilities,
impressed upon me that he was the man I required. “Very scarce they
are,” said he; “there are not more than one hundred left out of the
whole regiment who began the campaign; and he is sound, although wounded
at Inkermann.”

Upon this strong recommendation, and having to run so much risk about
the camp, as well as for the curiosity of the thing, I engaged Bornet,
the Zouave; had a new costume made for him; introduced him to Lord W.
Paulet, Miss Nightingale, &c. &c. Everybody found him extremely polite,
good-looking, and intelligent. We bought four horses, and he had the
sole command of the cavalry department. All admired his extraordinary
good style of horsemanship, particularly Lord W. Paulet. Thus, the
illustrious François Patifal Bornet, late of the 3rd Zouaves, was
recognised as belonging to the British army. He and twelve soldiers
composed the brigade of Captain Cook--a title I had assumed in the camp.

We were now ready to enter upon our campaign. I had paid my respects to
Lord and Lady de Redcliffe at Therapia, and to General Vivian at
Buyukderé: he was then at the Palais de Russie. In this town I and my
Zouave created quite a sensation. I had adopted an indescribable
costume. It seemed to have attracted John Bull’s particular attention on
his supposed visit to the camp. Such, at least, was the case according
to the _Times’_ correspondent, who, in a dialogue with John Bull, says,
“I beg your pardon, but who is that foreign officer in a white bournous
and attended by a brilliant staff of generals--him with the blue and
silver stripe down his trousers I mean, and gold braid on his waistcoat,
and a red and white cap? It must be Pelissier?”

“That! why, that’s Monsieur Soyer, _chef de nos batteries de cuisine_;
and if you go and ask him, you’ll find he’ll talk to you for several
hours about the way your meat is wasted. And so I wish you good morning,



     A grand Oriental summer banquet--The first halt--Start afresh--The
     Pacha’s harem--Numerous visits--A brilliant cavalcade--Revolt among
     the horses--The Governor’s reception--A Turkish
     kitchen--Hand-in-hand--Roasted lambs _à la Turque_--Gigantic bill
     of fare--Wine--Vitellius and the Grecian crayfish--Grand
     entertainment--List of guests--Return home--Politeness of the
     Pacha--Preparations for my return to the Crimea--Visit to the
     French hospitals--Dr. Pincoff--Great Hospital of Pera--Cordial
     reception--Nature of the arrangements.

Previous to entering upon this second campaign, in which my life was
daily likely to be more or less in danger, my gastronomic star was,
unawares to me, shining brightly. An unexpected invitation arrived from
the Pacha of Scutari to a grand Oriental summer banquet, to which not
less than eighty guests were invited. Lord W. Paulet was to be the
chairman. The day arrived, we all met at head-quarters, and the
principal authorities were present. Lord W. Paulet soon joined us; we
started, forming a very formidable and brilliant cavalcade, everybody
being in full costume. The Pacha had sent a mounted escort to accompany
us, consisting of six cavaliers. Our first halt was at Ismail Pacha’s,
who received us cordially at his pretty kiosque. He spoke excellent
French, and invited us to be seated in his large and elegantly-furnished
drawing-room, where a chibouque was presented to each guest, with the
indispensable Turkish thimble-cup of coffee. We had a very interesting
conversation with the Pacha about the war, and his opinion upon it; also
a short review of Paris and London, as he had visited both.

We then walked under very delightful foliage, where fountains were
playing, Asiatic and aquatic flowers growing--plants of rare
beauty--orange and lemon trees, &c. We all fancied we had arrived at our
destination, when the Pacha’s horse was brought into the yard where ours
had been left. The signal was given: we all mounted, and started afresh.
A very coquettish square kiosque erected in the garden, and well
latticed round, seemed to be very animated within. It was the Pacha’s
harem, from whence no doubt the imprisoned odalisques were enjoying the
lively scene passing in the yard, by peeping, not exactly _à la_ Peeping
Tom, but from behind the railings, or, more properly speaking, lattice.

Headed by the Pacha and suite, with Lord W. Paulet, Major Sillery, &c.,
we again started. In ten minutes we reached another kiosque, not by any
means so luxurious as the first. We alighted, and were received in the
garden by Hiera Bey, to whom the place belonged. In the drawing-room the
same ceremony of chibouques and coffee was performed. The Bey and his
suite joined our party, and we went to the residence of another pacha,
where the same ceremony was about to be renewed, but to which we
unanimously objected. His pachaship and suite, altogether about twelve
persons, also joined us, thus doubling the number of our cavalcade,
which, as we passed along the narrow lane bordered on either side by
thick and high edges, had the appearance of an immense serpent stealing
through the grass about to swallow its prey: the head being represented
by the Oriental corps and costume, admirably suited the effect I have
described. Prey was indeed in store for the imaginary serpent. Of the
truth of this my reader will be able to judge by the bill of fare, which
I carefully preserved, as one of my first Oriental culinary

The sound of strange instruments informed us that we were near our
destination. A military band of about fifty were playing Oriental airs,
half wild, half melodious. We were conducted through a garden towards an
elegant _maison de plaisance_, leaving the horses at the entrance; some
of them, not being partial to music, began fighting and kicking. It took
nearly an hour to pacify them and make them behave themselves. They were
horses of different nations, and this was probably the reason why they
could not agree.

Several were lost, which gave a little extra occupation to the Asiatic
palfreniers. By this time we had all been received by the Governor of
Asia Minor and his numerous friends, who were sitting upon divans in the
open air, smoking chibouques. We were invited to do the same, which we
did, forming a circle of considerable circumference. A regular forest of
long chibouques was brought towards us, and one was presented to each
guest. We were thus, for the third time, obliged to enjoy this
everlasting Oriental splendour; but in lieu of coffee, raki was
introduced, a liquor somewhat similar to perfumed gin, or the French
absinthe. It more particularly resembles the latter, as it turns white
when mixed with water. It is much drunk in Turkey--usually before
dinner. Many prefer it neat, but it is very intoxicating. The usual
salutations having been exchanged, we all drank, and the glasses were
taken away by slaves.

After smoking another half-hour, I went to Mr. Dixon, Lord W. Paulet’s
dragoman, and asked him to request permission of the Pacha for me to see
the kitchen. As I knew that two whole sheep and two lambs were to be
roasted, I felt anxious to see the process. He had no sooner mentioned
my wish than the Pacha rose, and, offering me his hand, conducted me
towards the place where the sacrifice was being consummated. We were
thus again, as at Scutari, hand-in-hand, if not hand-and-glove. About
forty cooks were at work preparing the dinner. I felt much interested in
their primitive way of roasting large pieces, which can only be equalled
by gas. With the intestines they make a kind of black pudding, sausages,
and rolls of tripe, with which they surround the neck of the animal:
they have also skewers of tripe and liver, heart, &c., tied on each side
of the haunch. The Pacha ordered some to be cut off for me to taste,
which I did with great gusto, and really much approved of their sound
judgment in turning everything to advantage, and making additional
dishes of what we civilized people so cleverly throw away. It was so
good, that I begged the Pacha to send a small dish up for Lord W. Paulet
and a few others to taste, as it was best while very hot. It had a
peculiar aromatic taste which imparts a delicate flavour, and was very

The liver, which we of course use, was cut into small portions, and
mixed with the intestines. The lambs were dressed in the same way, and
were still more delicate: they were so perfectly roasted, that every
part of the animals was the colour of a lump of gold.


     Though a primitive method, it is far from being a bad one. About a
     hundredweight of wood is set on fire in an open place, yard,
     kitchen, or elsewhere, and when burnt the ashes are piled up
     pyramidically to about the length of the lamb. Four stones, about a
     foot high, are then placed two at each end, and about eighteen
     inches from the fire; the lambs are spitted, head and all, upon a
     long piece of wood, with a rough handle similar to that of a
     barrel-organ. They are then put down; each one being turned by one
     man, who now and then moves the ashes to revive the fire, at the
     same time basting the lambs with a bunch of feathers dipped in oil.
     A pan should be placed underneath to receive the fat. This was on
     this occasion omitted. Each lamb took about three hours doing by
     that slow process; but I must repeat, they were done to perfection,
     and worthy of the attention of the greatest epicure.

The productions of the other culinary dainties are duly noticed in the
following gigantic bill of fare.

  Cavvat alle sis ka-babby
  Yeade ra-dash yor nesee
  Terbelee partsha


  Dolmah asmae a back
  Ahgem ka back yah ne see
  Arabertan ham yersee
  Ser kresheur kap a massee
  Patlezan dol massee
  Cavarta yah prai il ha doline
  Bag silk massee
  Guvetts tu lur soo
  Eskaille keftee
  Puff borree
  Adgec ah med borro
  Bad am lee charsa


  Ecmeck card aikae
  Yur mur tarla lock moh
  Hi varta cleasee
  Touh cleuksu
  Evgbet pupered by Jorept Zetala
  Parson fruture
  Peti parta ougrah
  Pura patat assause espariol
  Crab miones
  Puopon mohoness
  Cram alla vanneil
  Cram ah coffee
  Vn espeak derubea
  Eurotee despadree
  Glass oh citrone
  Glass alla cream
  Turk cook mahamet
  Cheverma cugickabby
  Surmah pelich ka-babby
  Capammah ordack parlazee
  Coccorrets ka-babby
  Fassula illa tuge ka-babby
  Cavoticla ahmet ka-babby
  Kahoat he la sahe slam ka-babby
  Kultug dol massy
  Tuga yaha ne see
  Sham keflasee
  Rahat lokoum

Amidst a clump of trees, situated on a plot of grass, and though so
close at hand, quite out of sight, a large marquee had been erected,
under which an elegant banqueting-table was covered with choice fruits,
flowers, pastry, valuable ornaments, and sweets of all kinds. Each guest
had his place numbered. I was fortunately near the centre, facing the
chairman, and only two from the worthy host. The _tout ensemble_ was
charming: the various costumes, profusion of light, and the Turkish
music, gave such a novel feature to this liberal entertainment, that,
for the first time, I began to understand the reality of the Oriental
luxury so much vaunted by poets.

Wine, though abominated by the Moslem, flowed in profusion. Excellent
Bordeaux, Champagne, Madeira, &c., was freely passed round and quaffed
with gusto, to the number, I should say, of several gross of bottles.
The children of the Crescent drank as freely as ourselves. The sheep and
lambs, dressed up whole, were placed upon the table, and every guest
helped himself _à la Turque_. The meat was pulled from the animal by the
Hadji Bachi, with his fingers, in presence of the company, placed in a
large dish, and handed round to the gourmets, who also helped themselves
with their fingers. The lamb was admirable; an Apicius would have gone
to Turkey to dine, had he known such delicacies were to be obtained
there. That worthy left Rome in a vessel, specially chartered by him, to
go to Greece, in order to obtain some crayfish rumoured to be larger
than any Rome could produce. On arriving, he found they were only the
same. He asked the fisherman, who had been some time expecting him,
“Have you never caught larger crayfish than that?”

“No, signor, never!” was the reply.

Rubbing his hands with delight, he ordered the captain to sail back at
once, saying, “I have left some at home larger than these, and they will
be spoiled if the wind is not in our favour.”[17]

The other dishes were eaten in the European fashion, with knives and
forks. The fête was under the management of a gentleman I had the
pleasure of knowing well, Mr. Ralli, a large proprietor at Kadikoi and a
Greek merchant, who, to oblige the Pacha, took upon himself all the
responsibility of carrying out his excellency’s liberal ideas.

London, or even Paris, could not have produced more effect or given more
_éclat_ to the entertainment, though, of course, in a different style.
Healths were proposed, and toasts given. The speeches were short, but to
the purpose. The music was very original; the fireworks were extremely
bad, and the illuminations very tenebrous.

_Names of Guests at the Dinner given by the Pacha of
Scutari._--Brigadier-General Lord William Paulet; Hon. Captain
Macdonald; Captain Seager; Major Sillery; Major Morris; Dr. Rowdon,
civil surgeon, late professor of anatomy at Middlesex Hospital; W.
Heaton, Esq., medical staff; Richard Ambler, Esq.; J. S. Robertson,
Esq., purveyor-general to the forces; Rev. George Lawless, senior
chaplain; Rev. Hugh Drennan, chaplain; Rev. W. Fergusson,
chaplain;--Hawkes, Esq., barrister-at-law; Eustatio S. Ralli, Esq.,
sen., Greek merchant; Etienne Eustatio Ralli, jun., Esq.;--Dixon, Esq.,
first-class interpreter to Lord William Paulet;[18] Monsieur Soyer, &c.
&c. Indisposition prevented the attendance of his Excellency Omer Pacha.

After five hours of eating and drinking, we returned thanks to our
illustrious host, and rose to retire. He accompanied us as far as his
Scutari residence. The evening was very dark, and the horses were mixed
together, so that we had some trouble in finding our own. At length we
started. I was the last to quit his pachaship. As I lived in
Cambridge-street, I was a near neighbour of his, and he kindly escorted
me to my door, followed by his men bearing lanterns. He would not leave
me till the door was opened, and I had entered the house. We then
parted, and I shall never forget the generous reception I received from
our worthy Mussulman ally, the governor of Asia Minor.

Before my departure, I took Lord W. Paulet, Dr. Cumming, Mr. Robertson,
and Miss Nightingale’s orders, which were numerous; said farewell to
all, and left everything in a most satisfactory state. I requested
Sergeant Thompson to send me a weekly report of the proceedings in the
kitchens at the various hospitals. Mr. Robertson, the purveyor-in-chief,
also promised to keep a sharp look-out himself, and acquaint me with
anything important which might occur. I spent a few days with Dr.
Humphrey at Kululee Hospital, then under the admirable management of
Miss E. Hutton and the Sisters of Charity. Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge,
after exerting themselves to the utmost, during the hardest time of all,
in the Scutari hospitals, had left for England: important family
affairs, I believe, required their presence at home. Miss Nightingale
had quite recovered; and she proposed to visit the Crimea again in less
than a month, and had requested me to attend to various matters before
she arrived. Of these, as they were numerous, I made a list, saying, “I
shall be happy to attend to your commissions even if you tripled the
number.” As my twelve field-stoves had been sent to the Crimea, I knew
that my time would be principally taken up by field-cookery, and that I
should only be able to give a casual look through the various hospitals.

I was anxious to obtain an insight into the culinary arrangements and
system of management in the French hospitals. This I effected by the aid
of Dr. Pincoff, who had frequently brought French doctors to visit my
kitchens, and taste my new diets--of which they seemed to approve. Some
of them would say, “They are too good and expensive for our hospital;”
others, “Your diets are excellent; but our soldiers would not like them,
not being used to that kind of food.” This, probably, might at the
commencement have been the case; but a man soon gets accustomed to a
good thing. I had tried this upon several hundred English soldiers, who
never refused it, but, on the contrary, did not like to return to the
old system of diets. I had not the slightest doubt they would like the
change, but it could not be effected. At all events, this increased my
curiosity. Dr. Pincoff, a friend, and myself, determined to go at six
o’clock in the morning (the time of their first rounds) to visit the
Great Hospital of Pera.

This early hour of visiting patients I cannot but give my disapproval
of, as it is the time they are likely to repose, or at all events feel
more languid than any other part of the night; which disturbance reminds
me of the anxious servant, who being requested by his master to awake
him at an early hour, knocked at his room-door four or five times during
the night to apprise him of the number of hours he had left for sleep.
Indeed, even more than this, they actually ask the patients, at that
early hour, what they would like for dinner?--the patient, instead of
the doctor, prescribing. We arrived at half-past five A.M., through a
burning sun, which I consider, at that hour and that time of year, more
oppressive in the East than at ten, eleven, or even twelve in the day,
when the sea-breeze refreshes the Oriental atmosphere. We were
immediately introduced to the medical gentleman on duty, who had just
commenced his rounds. He was attended by two orderlies and a Sister of
Charity; one of the former carried a tray, upon which the Sister seemed
to have placed articles of food belonging to her department: she was
also noting down on a tablet the orders of the doctor as to a few
articles of extra diet. We watched the proceedings closely, which lasted
nearly an hour: each doctor had two wards to attend, and each ward
contained about sixty patients.

Having made several remarks on the various subjects to the doctor, and
thanked him for his attention, I promised to forward him a book of the
new dietaries I had so successfully introduced in the hospital at
Scutari. Though far from anticipating that any eminent member of the
French faculty would change his system, and adopt mine in preference to
the French medical _régime_, still, as I have learnt a great deal from
the system pursued in the French hospitals, I should feel very proud if
any of my receipts proved acceptable. In fact, I should be delighted to
show my gratitude for the generous reception afforded me when I applied
for leave to visit the French hospitals upon my passage through France
on my way to the Crimea.

The order with which all was carried on was admirable. Without the
slightest intention of making myself officious in this matter, I cannot
help remarking, that the broths and tisanes given to the patients were
rather of a thinnish nature, and given in much larger quantities than by
the English doctors to patients affected with similar diseases;--my
opinion on the subject being, that for the man who has lived too well, a
close and light diet is most beneficial, his blood being too rich; while
the debilitated soldier’s blood requires regenerating: which caused me
to submit succulent diets for dysentery and diarrhœa, and cooling
ones for fever.



     Off in the _Ottawa_--A calm in the Bosphorus--Deceitful
     appearances--Captain Bone--Fellow-passengers--A concert in the
     Black Sea--Intrepidity of P. M.--My Zouave--Harmony in my culinary
     troop--A tremendous crash--Change of scene--Alarm of P. M.--A bad
     passage--A fit of the blues--Reflections--Visits--Fresh faces--Off
     to the Camp--Colonel Steele--A note from my Zouave--French
     head-quarters--The lost found--Standing treat--The
     cantinière--Return to the _Ottawa_--Bornet’s excuses--La petite
     Mère Jouvin--Effects of enthusiasm--Character of the
     Zouaves--Remove to the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_.

Two days later, I and my people started on board the _Ottawa_. The day
of our departure was magnificently fine; the Bosphorus and Black Sea
looked like a sheet of glass. I remarked to the captain, “One might
cross the Black Sea in a caique.”

“Yes,” he replied, “in its present state; but who knows how soon we may
have it dancing mountains high? I have seen it so before; and where
would you be with your caique then, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Of course, you are right, captain; but I suppose it is not often thus
at this time of the year.”

“Even at this time of year, I should be sorry to be one of the

Captain Bone was a very agreeable man--high-bred--educated at
Oxford--well stored with _bons-mots_ and good anecdotes--always laughing
at other people’s jokes as well as his own--very severe on deck and very
funny with his friends. He kept a good cook, and therefore a good table,
looking sharply after it himself--spending, probably, no more money than
other captains, but faring better--very anxious to please his
passengers--and at all times very liberal. The proverb says, “Speak of a
man as you find him;” and in this manner I speak of the worthy captain.

The ship was very full, especially of recovered invalids from Scutari.
Numbers of doctors from Rankioi and Smyrna were on board, on their way
to the Crimea, where their services were required. I had engaged a young
Sardinian named Antonio, a good-looking youth with a very good voice. As
the evening was fine, he and my Zouave began singing, which they did
admirably, every one joining in chorus. Thus we spent a delightful
soirée on the bosom of the Black Sea.

P. M., who by this time was becoming quite a brave man, still formed
part of my suite. That gentleman’s intrepidity was such, that no one
could prevent him from facing at all times the most animated fire--I
mean the fire of a short pipe or a long cigar. My Zouave was everywhere
about the vessel, which did not seem large enough for him and his four
horses. I at last quieted him, by requesting he would think of nothing
while on board but eating and drinking moderately, as well as singing a
song at night when I required it. He promised faithfully not to throw my
Armenian groom overboard, nor to smash the brains of my Italian servant
Antonio, but to live like a Christian, in good fellowship with all, and
sing when I pleased. One of my cooks, named Jean, an Albanian, while
quarrelling, had threatened to cut another, named Victor, into four
pieces, and throw them into a pickle-tub. He also gave up this
professional job. They all shook hands, and the greatest harmony
appeared to reign in my culinary troop.

My secretary, T. G., a gentleman of colour, now accompanied me for the
second time to the Crimea; and the contrast presented by us, myself
being equipped in an Oriental costume, T. G. clothed in white, and my
Zouave rigged in full feather, was very great; and my suite always
created a sensation throughout the camp, more especially when
accompanied by the invincible P. M., who was attired in nankeen, a very
peculiar style, he being an extensive patronizer of the eminent firm of
Messrs. Nicoll.

All on board the _Ottawa_ had for some time retired to their berths. I
can seldom sleep at sea; so I was sitting on deck, smoking my cigar, now
and then addressing a word to the man at the wheel and the second mate.
We praised the fineness of the weather: the upper deck was as steady as
a drawing-room floor, and the ocean seemed to belong to us alone.

It was nearly one o’clock, and Morpheus, who generally deserts me on
such occasions, stole upon me softly like a zephyr. I felt inclined to
submit, and went below to lie down. Wrapped in deep repose, I seemed to
quit this world of realities, and to wander in the regions of
dream-land. This continued till seven in the morning, when a tremendous
crash awoke me suddenly, and I perceived that we were dancing mountains

The crash was caused by two glasses and a bottle of soda-water,
belonging to my companion P. M. in the upper berth. They had been left
upon the wash-hand stand; both glasses were smashed, and the bottle
broken, with a tremendous report, making me fear that in the night we
had, by mistake, approached too near to Sebastopol, and were being fired
into by the batteries. Turning round, I perceived the supposed enemy on
the cabin floor in a fearful state of dilapidation--the bottom of the
soda-water bottle rolling to and fro, according to the will of the
waves, which, it appeared, had risen to that pitch in an incredibly
short space of time--a thing common enough in the Euxine, or Black Sea.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed P. M., “where are we?”

“Don’t be alarmed,” said I. “We are under fire; every man to his gun; so
let us go up on deck and fight like Britons.”

“The devil we are! Oh dear, I can’t fight, I am so sick.”

“Then you must swim or sink.”

In less than a minute he rushed from the cabin, and concealed himself
under the large dinner-table.

As I was dressed, I went upon deck.

“At half-past five,” said the mate on duty, “it began to rain, and the
wind suddenly changed. At seven o’clock, a gust of wind actually bent
the sails across the yards, taking us dead aback; and in less than an
hour, the sea rose to the state you see it in now.”

The captain, who was giving his orders from the crossbridge, called out
to me, laughing, “Well, Monsieur Soyer, where is your caique now? Are
you ready for your breakfast?”

Of course I was, though I could not boast of having much appetite. The
remaining part of the passage was very rough. The _Ottawa_ rolled very
much, having, if I recollect right, shot and shell for ballast. The
contrast afforded by the sudden change from the calm of the previous
day, no doubt caused us to feel its effects the more. At all events, we
arrived in due time quite safe. An unexpected bad passage at all times
makes everybody feel uneasy and low-spirited. The nearer I approached
Balaklava, the more uneasy I felt. A kind of melancholy had come over
me, and my feelings were so indescribable, that while we were entering
the harbour of Balaklava, I was surprised to see the sun shining over
that picturesque spot, and traffic going on as usual. Instead of a
lugubrious veil hanging over the whole fleet, all was going on pretty
much in the same manner as when I had left. Even nature seemed to have
smiled upon the hills, valleys, and mountains, which were gayer than

Such a scene caused me to breathe more freely. I felt that the noble
departed, who but a few days before were in enjoyment of health, honour,
power, and rank, had been removed by their gracious Creator, and
therefore, though Lord Raglan, Admiral Boxer, Sir J. Campbell, General
Estcourt, and numbers of other great men, had been called away during my
short absence, they were only summoned from this world--so, at least, we
are bound to believe--to fulfil their mission in another and a better

On the day of our arrival, I paid my respects to several great
personages, who, on account of the sad events before mentioned, were
mostly new-comers, although they knew me either personally or by name.
It was like beginning my mission afresh, making it not only very
painful as far as feelings went, but also difficult. It was something
like being compelled to build an edifice which had fallen to the ground
when near its completion.

Such were my feelings upon my arrival on my second visit to the Crimea.
As I could only remain a couple of days on board the _Ottawa_, as she
was to return immediately to Constantinople, I employed my time in
settling my plan of campaign.

First of all, I paid my respects to Admiral Freemantle, on board the
_Leander_, and I was very kindly received. Next I went to Sir George
Maclean, the new Commissary-General; and a more amiable gentleman I did
not meet during my mission in the Crimea. He informed me that the dry
vegetables from Messrs. Chollet had arrived, and that some had already
been issued to the troops, and were highly approved of. I requested an
order to go and inspect them in the stores, with which I was immediately

Having executed all Miss Nightingale’s commissions, as well as others,
the next morning I started early for head-quarters, and arrived there
about nine. Much important business was going on at the time. A number
of horses, foaming with perspiration, were in the yard, the
despatch-riders having no doubt quite forgotten that the success which
attended their mission was owing to their poor quadrupeds. I was at once
received by Colonel Steele, who was much pleased to see me. After
expressing our regret at the lamentable events which had occurred since
our last meeting, we entered upon business.

“Well, Monsieur Soyer,” said the colonel, “if you like to wait, you can
see General Simpson; but, as to-morrow is Sunday, he will be able to
grant you a longer interview. To-day he could not spare ten minutes.”

“Much obliged, colonel,” I replied; “and I will not fail to be here
to-morrow at ten, as you advise.”

“Very well, Monsieur Soyer; I shall be here, and happy to see you.”

My Zouave, whom I had brought with me, had disappeared, leaving word
with the man at the entrance-hall that he would return in ten minutes,
but that he could not resist paying a visit to his old comrades, who
were encamped that day at the French head-quarters. He was _en petit
costume_, as I did not wish him to attract too much attention. I
expected, when I learnt he had gone, that the ten minutes would be
doubled and tripled, and probably extend to hours: I therefore made up
my mind to go about my business in the different hospitals and
regiments. First of all, I visited Dr. Hall, the authorities, and my
friends round head-quarters.

In the afternoon I returned, but no Zouave had been seen. A note was
handed to me by the canteen-man, worded thus:--

     MY DEAR GOVERNOR,--Your humble servant, Bornet the Zouave, is half
     drunk, and will feel much obliged if you will allow him to get
     quite so. He has met with a few old comrades, who very likely will
     not last much longer than the others who have died for their

Upon receipt of this, having nothing better to do, I started for the
French head-quarters. I soon found the regiment. This was not enough--I
wanted my man. My next inquiry was for the canteen, quite sure that the
cantinière, whether blonde or brunette, no matter which, would have
heard of him. It turned out as I had anticipated, and, not giving me
time to ask twice, she said, “Yes, Monsieur, he is here--the dear
fellow!” And so he was, fast asleep. He no sooner awoke and saw me, than
he came and apologized, seemingly almost sober. I say seemingly, for all
at once he began to sing and dance like a madman, harmoniously
introducing me to his friends, whom I had the pleasure of shaking
cordially by the hand.

Some of these recollected my former visit, so I begged of them to sit
down. At the same time I offered them something to drink. The liquid
material--viz., two quarts of wine and one of rum--with tin cups, was
brought, and the French and Jamaica nectar was poured out, with a
certain elegance and graceful smile, by the Crimean Bacchante, to these
reckless children of Mars. In a short time many of them had fallen in
the dreadful struggle. They were _enfans perdus_, and were all singing
different tunes and dancing different steps.

The cantinière was elegantly dressed in her Zouave uniform, ready for
starting to the trenches: she wore a red gown, and trousers of the same
material, a jacket like that worn by the men, and a red fez cap with a
long tassel. She carried a stoup full of spirits, a large basket of
provisions, and followed her companions like a trooper.

The Zouaves gave me a pressing invitation to go and see them perform,
which I promised to do that day week. They were perfectly satisfied,
though I was not at all, with my Zouave, Bornet. As he was not fit to
follow me, I gave him up, and, after seeing his horse right and him
wrong, I left him, and started alone for Balaklava, returning in solemn
solitude to my nautical home--the _Ottawa_.

At six the next morning he was on board, busily engaged preparing for
our departure, so soon as a spot could be selected in the camp for us to
pitch our tents. The horses were landed, and my military pupils sent to
different quarters, and set to work cooking. I retained three with me
for the opening of my field-kitchens. As I approached my deserter, the
Zouave, in order to reprimand him for his conduct the preceding day, he
remarked, by way of apology, “I know, mon cher governor, what you are
going to say--that is, if I play you any more such tricks, you will not
keep me, as we agreed when you engaged me.”

“Certainly not,” said I.

“We will begin fresh to-day; but yesterday, you see, governor, the
temptation was too strong for me. When I saw my old comrades Riflard and
Franc Chatbeau, Panaudet, et la cantinière--Beni Zoug Zoug--des vieux
amis de la tente, with whom I had braved all dangers, and so few of us
left--not more than fourteen or fifteen of our company--why, voyez-vous,
it carried me away, and I could not help standing the picton (which
means something to drink), like a Frenchman and a man. And what a fine
lass la petite Mère Jouvin is! Don’t she look well in her Zouave dress?”

“Certainly, but did she go to the trenches?”

“Of course she did. She was on duty last night. Her husband goes one
night, and she the other.”

“Did you see her this morning?”

“I did. The darling had just returned for more liquor. She told me they
had a kind of sortie, and for twenty minutes were peppering one another
like fun, and no mistake. Rabbit-shooting, governor--rabbit-shooting! We
lost about seventeen men, besides the wounded. But that’s nothing. Last
year I saw three times as many knocked over in a sort of skirmish which
only lasted ten minutes. We were half frozen and partly starved; and
hundreds were found dead or nearly frozen, lying under shelter of those
who had been shot, endeavouring to warm themselves before the bodies got

“Pray, Bornet, don’t recall those things to my mind: they are too
painful; but, after all, are only the chances of war, and must be

“Well, governor,” said he, while cording a large box, “you have gained
the esteem of the 3rd Zouaves; and should you require the services of
the whole regiment, could it be spared, you would have them, including
la petite Mère Jouvin.”

In uttering the last word he gave an extra pull at the rope, which
caused it to break, and bang went my Zouave flat upon his back. A
general laugh was heard upon deck. He picked himself up quickly, and,
rubbing his back, said, “By the explosion of a thousand shells, here is
a stunning piece of straw.”

A gentleman present asked him if he had hurt himself. “Very well,” he
replied, being all the English he knew, except “yes” and “no.”

Seeing everybody laugh, he went on working at the box, and singing his
favourite refrain--

    J’aime le vin, l’amour et la gaîté,
    Les plaisirs, la gloire,
    Et je suis, sans vanité,
    L’enfant de la gaîté.

I perceived some spots of blood on his shirt-sleeve, and pointed them
out to him. “Oh,” said he, “that’s no novelty. I’ve seen a sample of my
blood before this, many times.”

On pulling up his sleeve, we found a deep scratch in his arm, from which
the blood flowed pretty freely.

“You had better have it attended to,” said I.

“Bah! bah! nonsense! We Zouaves never trouble any one, particularly the
doctor, about such trifles. Be kind enough to tie my pocket-handkerchief
round it.”

This done, he kept at his work. Thus I discovered the determined
character of these wild soldiers. They made up their minds to care for
nothing--were ready either to fight or sing--be out all night without
sleep, or comfortable under their tents--were content with much to eat
and drink, or little--but so long as they had sufficient to sustain
life, be gay, or at least appear so--never making a direct complaint,
whatever might happen to them. In fact, though French soldiers like the
rest of the army, they had created themselves a body of invincibles, and
a company of very odd fellows, who would at all times much prefer
robbing a man to wronging him; this being one of their mottoes:--“Nous
aimons mieux voler que faire du tort.”

All on board the _Ottawa_ was bustle and confusion. Although not half
unloaded, they were receiving the sick, expecting to sail the same
evening. We were busy removing to the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_. She was a
transport, and full of hospital provisions. Captain Heath advised me to
select her, as she was the vessel likely to remain the longest in
harbour, and I should require a _pied à terre_ in Balaklava. Under the
direction of my Zouave, all our luggage was soon put on board; and about
ten o’clock he was in full dress, it being Sunday. The horses were
ready, and we started for head-quarters.



     Off to head-quarters--A sensation--Mrs. Seacole’s
     salutation--General Simpson--An interview--Plans--Invitation to
     dinner--Bread-biscuits--Prescribe for the General--General
     Eyre--Sir John Jones--The Staff--Conversation--A remarkable
     case--The Guards’ camp--Return from a funeral--Colonel
     Seymour--Dinner at General Simpson’s--A Crimean banquet--Arrival of
     despatches--A great battle expected--Excitement of my Zouave--A
     false alarm--My stoves in use--Success of the plan--Economical
     cooking stove for all classes--Interview with Sir Colin
     Campbell--Battle of the Tchernaya--Ride with Lord Rokeby--Colonel
     Seymour recognised at last--Wounded from the Tchernaya--Timely
     succour--Case of two French soldiers--Visit to the
     battle-field--Bornet’s indignation--Delay--Opening day fixed--Final

As Bornet was a dashing cavalier and a very good horseman, he created
quite a sensation in Kadikoi, and upon our arrival before the Sardinian
head-quarters, General della Marmora and Staff came upon the balcony to
look at him. He saluted the general, who appeared much surprised to see
a Zouave on horseback in my suite, and not wearing the exact costume of
that corps, as I had made some stylish improvement in it, in order to
distinguish him from the common soldiers.

As I had to see General Simpson about eleven o’clock, off we went at
full gallop, being rather short of time. Mrs. Seacole, who was at her
door with her daughter Sarah, had only time to call out, “Go it, my
sons!” as we rattled past the house. We arrived in due time, and I saw
Colonel Steele, who told me that General Simpson would be happy to
receive me directly, and at once conducted me to his audience-chamber.
The new Commander-in-chief rose politely as I entered, shook me by the
hand, and invited me to be seated. I had previously left a letter for
him from Lord William Paulet respecting my mission, and I showed two I
had received from the War-office, in which the Minister-at-War expressed
in flattering terms his approbation of them.

After the usual compliments of a first interview, General Simpson told
me that he had read the letter with great interest, and would give me
all the assistance in his power to enable me to carry out my project,
which was, first, to make a trial before the Commander-in-chief, the
generals and officers of the army, Dr. Hall, &c. &c. If on that occasion
my new system was approved of, it was my intention to introduce the same
for the benefit of the army at large. To this General Simpson gave his
assent, saying, “You have only, Monsieur Soyer, to tell me what you

“First of all, general, that you should select a spot where the trial
can take place, and name a regiment with which I can begin.”

“You will require a building for your kitchen.”

“Not at all, general--no masons, carpenters, nor engineers. My stoves
are adapted for the open air, to cook in all weathers, and to follow the

“I am aware of that, as I saw the model when you were here last.”

“Exactly. All I shall require will be three bell-tents for myself and
assistants, as I must reside in the camp.”

“Very well; I will give orders to that effect.”

“I would also recommend you to select a regiment near head-quarters for
your own convenience in visiting and watching the progress of the

“I think the Guards in the First Division will suit our purpose best. Do
you know where they are?”

“I do; but perhaps you will be kind enough to send some official with me
to select the spot.”

“We will ride over this afternoon. You had better dine with us this
evening. You know the greater part of the gentlemen of my Staff; and
those you do not, know you.”

“Many thanks, general, for your kind invitation, which I accept with the
greatest pleasure.”

“Have you anything in that parcel to show me?”

“Yes; one of my new bread-biscuits, which I wish you to taste.”

On opening the parcel, he took it out, saying, “Lord bless you! this
will be too hard for my teeth.”

“Not so hard as you think. It is much softer than the ordinary biscuit
which it is intended to replace. At any rate, it may be issued in turn,
and will afford an excellent change for the troops. I have kept some
above three months, and they are quite good. The Duke of Newcastle
tasted one of them, and was much pleased with it.”

Having broken a piece off and tasted it, the general partook of some and
found it very good, though not nearly so hard as he anticipated. He
declared that it was much more palatable than the common biscuit, and
that he quite enjoyed it. General Simpson was at that time very unwell,
and he seldom ate anything but arrowroot and biscuit soaked in boiling
water. I tasted some of his fare, and found it tolerably good, but not
nutritive enough for a man who worked hard. He informed me that he was
often occupied eight or ten hours a day writing. As his complaint was
diarrhœa, I proposed boiling some plain rice after the receipt given
in Addenda, which was at all times so much approved of by the doctors.
This I did the next day. The general took a great deal of bodily
exercise in the camp and in the trenches.

On quitting General Simpson, I paid my respects to General Eyre, with
whom I had some business to transact. He was then at the head of the
Ordnance Office, and General Simpson had referred me to him for all I
might require from that department. The general gave me a very kind
reception, and granted all that I required. Having two hours to spare, I
made up my mind to go to the French camp or head-quarters. I had not had
the pleasure of seeing General Pelissier since he received the
appointment of Commander-in-chief. As I was going out, I met General
Jones, the engineer.

“Do you recollect, Monsieur Soyer, where we met last?”

Aware that the General--now Sir John Jones--was the siege and trench
engineer, I thought that he referred to my wild expedition when I lost
my way in the blood-stained labyrinth. I was, however, quite mistaken.
He informed me that it was in Ireland, when I opened my kitchens in the
year 1847. I then recollected the circumstance, as I had myself shown
him round the kitchens, and explained the method and the process of
cooking by steam for ten thousand people, if required, with only one
furnace, and by means of steam-pipes connected with a double boiler--a
plan, I believe, still in use in many large governmental and civil

I gave Sir John to understand what great pleasure it afforded me to hear
of such reminiscences, and inquired if he intended to go for a ride as
far as the First Division.

“No, Monsieur Soyer,” said he, “I don’t think I can. In fact, I have to
be in the trenches, where I shall be happy to see you when you have
fixed upon the spot for your field-kitchens.”

“I thank you, general, for your kind invitation, but would rather see
you out of them, and a good distance off, particularly as a person is
more exposed to the fire of the enemy on entering or leaving than when

Finding that I had hardly time to go as far as the French head-quarters,
I went to the kitchen and inquired what there was for dinner. The _chef_
was named Nicolo, and had lived with Sir George Brown.

The horses were at the door in readiness for the general. All the Staff
were in attendance before the house, some sitting on the steps, others
standing. Among them were Generals Barnard and Airey, Colonels Steele
and Blane, Captains Colville, Lindsay, &c., with whom I conversed upon
various matters, especially upon my long stay at the Reform Club.
General Barnard, as usual, was very talkative and witty.

When Colonel Steele saw General Simpson coming, he called to me to
mount, and a few minutes after we set off to the First Division. On our
way, we conversed upon various topics, particularly respecting a poor
fellow named Harvey, who had been shot in his tent during the night. A
ball from one of the enemy’s long-rangers had fractured both his legs,
and he died a few hours after receiving the wound. The most remarkable
part of the occurrence, as I told the General, was this:--The person who
usually occupied the spot got drunk the night before, and was put in the
guard-house: this saved his life. The ball made a hole about two feet
deep at the very spot where he generally slept, every inch of room being
turned to account in the tents. He must have been smashed to atoms, had
he been there. The man who was killed had his legs close to this spot,
and the shot falling in a slanting direction, cut them both off. The
general said he had heard that a man had been killed during the night,
but that he was not aware of the circumstances.

“On my way to the General Hospital,” I continued, “in the morning, I saw
the tent and the place where the cannon-ball fell. I have the piece of
canvas the shot passed through; it was given me by Dr. Taylor of the
Third Division, who took me to see it. It bears the name of the man
killed and the date of the accident. The doctor, after cutting out the
piece which was hanging to the tent, wrote the particulars upon it
himself. I will show it to you this evening, general. My man has the
relic with him.”

Some officers came and conversed with the general for a short time while
we were before the Guards’ camp. On the esplanade the men were parading
for the trenches; there might have been four companies. The general
spoke to the commanding officers, and they all started. A detachment of
the Scots Fusiliers, headed by a band of music playing a lively tune,
were returning from the funeral of one of their officers. This scene
made a singular impression upon me. I was, in the first place, struck at
seeing those fine fellows going, some probably to their doom--for who
could tell how many would get back safely?--and in the second place, at
the sight of the return of the funeral, playing such a joyous strain.
This I learned, upon inquiry, was always the case after interring the
corpse and leaving the cemetery. One company had not started for the
trenches. It was commanded by Colonel Seymour of the Guards, now
aide-de-camp to H.R.H. Prince Albert. General Simpson, who had been some
time talking with that officer, said to me, “Monsieur Soyer, here is
Colonel Seymour, who will render you any assistance you may require.”

“Much obliged, general.”

“Oh,” said the colonel, “Monsieur Soyer and myself are old
acquaintances. I often paid you a visit at the Reform Club.”

“Indeed, colonel!”

“Certainly--very often.”

Though the face was well known to me, I could not for the life of me
recognise the colonel, he had such a large beard and mustachios. General
Simpson then left us together, and I observed that I should give him as
little trouble as possible, but for a short time should require all his
kind assistance for the opening of my kitchen.

“You may depend upon me, Monsieur Soyer,” he said,--“that is, if I
return safe from the trenches.”

“I sincerely hope you may.”

“No one can tell. Thank God, I have been very fortunate so far.”

“I hope that you will continue to be so.”

We made an appointment. He started on horseback at the head of his men.
I was introduced to numerous other officers by the general, and
afterwards by the colonel, with many of whom I had the honour of being
previously acquainted. Having selected a spot on the esplanade facing
the centre avenue which divided the Coldstreams from the Scots
Fusiliers, I returned alone to head-quarters, it being then nearly
dinner-time. My Zouave had got back from Balaklava, whither I had sent
him to fetch my evening dress, in which I immediately attired myself, as
dinner was upon the table. We sat down about twelve in number. As I was
nearly opposite General Simpson, I had the opportunity of conversing
with him upon various subjects. For a Crimean dinner, it was a very good
one indeed. Colonel Steele and Captain Colville, who were sitting next
me, attributed it to my presence, and said that the cook--Nicolo--had
certainly distinguished himself upon the occasion.

“I am much pleased,” I replied, “to be the cause of so great an
improvement in the culinary department, and hope for the future the
Commander-in-chief will avail himself of my influence by often inviting
me to dine at head-quarters.”

After dinner, the evening passed very merrily, and the general cordially
joined in the fun, though he seemed full of business, leaving the table
several times to write despatches in his cabinet. We were smoking on the
balcony at the back of the house, facing the vineyard, when the general
returned from one of his short excursions, and I showed him the piece of
canvas which I had obtained from my Zouave.

“Had the ball,” I said, “fallen upon a stone, or anything offering
resistance, it might have killed twenty men, as it fell in the thickest
part of the Third Division. The deep hole it made in the tent was as
polished and hard as the interior of a marble mortar. This was no doubt
caused by the rapid revolutions of the ball in burying itself before its
force was spent. I noticed this whilst looking at the cavity; and the
men who were lying in the tent were of my opinion, and assured me that
it kept making a tremendous noise for some time after its fall.”

While we were engaged in conversation I believe that another despatch
arrived, for the general and some of his Staff were called out. Observe,
reader, that for a full hour the cannon and mortars had not ceased
roaring throughout the camps, continually vomiting forth death and
destruction on every side; yet every one present, I as well as the
rest, appeared quite indifferent to that mournful noise. We were,
however, soon awakened by the fierce rattling of the fusillade. All
listened attentively, but without moving from their seats. A message
from the general and fresh orders caused us to break up the party. I was
leaving the house, intending to return to Balaklava, when I met Major
Lindsey, one of the aides-de-camp of General Simpson, entering with, I
believe, another despatch. He asked me where I was going to sleep: I
answered, at Balaklava.

“Oh, nonsense! don’t go away. We are all ordered for half-past three in
the morning. A great battle is expected, as the Russians are going to
attack us upon a fresh point. I will give you a plank and a blanket in
my room to lie upon for an hour or so.”

I accepted his kind offer, and he left me. When I informed my Zouave of
the anticipated battle,

“By Jove!” said he, “I hope they will give me a gun and sword to go and
fight. I shall make a busy day of it. I smell powder. Pray, governor, do
beg of the general to let me go with them.”

The fellow had taken a drop too much, and he went on like a madman--no
one could check him. We retired to our hospitable abode, and I went to
sleep; but the mad Zouave was anywhere and everywhere. At three o’clock
I awoke. The general and his Staff started--the cannonade was going on
fiercely, but no fusillade was heard. At seven the general and all
returned; and it was, as he said, a false alarm.

My Zouave returned at eight, loaded with provisions, which he told me he
had borrowed of some fellows he had found fast asleep. We arrived on
board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_ about ten, faint with fatigue and
hunger, having had no breakfast.

Such was camp-life at head-quarters. It was like swimming between life
and death. No one seemed to apprehend the least danger, while a
successful sortie on the part of the enemy would have placed every one’s
life in the greatest peril. So much for the unprofitable business of

Having fixed upon a spot for my kitchen, I immediately sent the stoves
to the camp. As they happened to be close to the railway, they arrived
early the next morning. In the course of the day I reached my field of
battle, and to my great surprise found--what? Why, all my battery firing
for the support of the Highland Brigade. The stoves had arrived early
enough for the men to use them in cooking their dinners. Though I had
given special orders that no one should meddle with them until I
arrived, it gave me great pleasure to find that the men were using them
to the best advantage and without instruction. In the first place, they
could not possibly burn more than twenty pounds of wood in cooking for a
hundred men, instead of several hundredweight, which was the daily
consumption. Although I had not given them my receipts, they found they
could cook their rations with more ease, and hoped they should soon have
them for every-day use, instead of the small tin camp-kettles, and their
open-air system of cooking. The process was very unsatisfactory, being
dependent upon good, bad, or indifferent weather, and the fuel was often
wet and difficult to ignite. Colonel Seymour, whom I invited to see the
men using the stoves without tuition from me or anybody else, can
testify to the accuracy of this fact, having witnessed the process and
interrogated them upon the subject.

My reason, reader, for relating this circumstance, is because it
afforded me an assurance that I could render service to the army, and
that my exertions were of some use. I saw even further than that; for I
inferred that if a soldier, who is not a cooking animal, being paid for
other purposes--and that talent a peculiar gift conferred in a greater
or less degree upon humanity--could without trouble or instruction cook
well in the open air and in all weathers, the stoves would certainly be
useful in all establishments, from a cottage to a college. I do not say
anything of their use in hospitals, because they had been tried in those
establishments with full success, as far as military cooking was
concerned. The idea of connecting baking, roasting, boiling and steaming
crossed my mind; and this, I felt with confidence, would render them
beneficial and useful to the public at large. This idea I at once
communicated to the makers, and they have already acted upon my
suggestion. I resolved upon my return to England to bring them out at as
cheap a rate as possible for the use of small or large families. A
really useful and economical cooking stove is as much wanted in England
as sunshine on a November day--a stove by which all the usual domestic
cooking can be carried on, without having recourse to bricks and mortar,
and chimney-sweeps. Smoky chimneys, as well as other minor nuisances too
numerous to mention, would be thus avoided. Twelve pounds of coal, or
fifteen pounds of coke, will cook for one hundred men.

“War,” said I to myself, “is the evil genius of a time; but good food
for all is a daily and a paramount necessity.” These reflections led to
a further communication with Messrs. Smith and Phillips, of Snow-hill. I
took out a patent for the stoves. This I did not like to do before I had
introduced them to the Government, as every one would have supposed that
I wished to make money by the patent. The object of a patent, after such
a decided success, was to secure the solidity and perfection of the
article. As it was difficult to make, and certain to be badly imitated,
my reputation must have suffered. Instead of being expensive, they will
be sold at a reasonable price, sufficient to repay the manufacturers,
and to leave a fair profit; thus placing them within the reach of
all--the million as well as the millionaire.

As the Highlanders had already used the stoves, I changed my plan, and
instead of placing them between the Guards’ camp, thought it would be
better to have them in the centre of the Highland Brigade, as near as
possible to Sir Colin Campbell’s head-quarters, which would enable him
to watch the proceedings without trouble. For this purpose, I went to
his quarters, and was told that the best time to see him was from eight
till nine in the morning at the latest. Next morning I was on my way to
the Scotch camp by seven o’clock. I saw Colonel Stirling, Sir Colin’s
private secretary, who informed me that Sir Colin would be happy to
receive me. My reception by that brave and illustrious general was
highly gratifying to my feelings.

“Welcome, Monsieur Soyer!” exclaimed the general, as I entered his tent.
He shook me by the hand, with a smile on his face which one could see
came from the heart. The fine long beard which then adorned his visage
could only be portrayed by a Rembrandt or a Titian. The amiable and fine
qualities of that noble-hearted general, so well known to every
Englishman, made me feel proud of being so cordially received by one the
pride of his country.

“How are you, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Never better, general,” was my answer. “I am happy to see you are
enjoying good health.”

“Thank God, I am. Be seated, and tell me what I can do for you.”

“I shall esteem it a great favour, general, if you will allow me to
place my new field-stoves in your brigade, instead of on the esplanade.
Your men have, unknown to me, commenced cooking with them; and as they
already know how to use them, I should prefer leaving them in their

“Very well, Monsieur Soyer; select the spot, and Colonel Stirling will
give you all the assistance you may require.”

“Thank you, general; but I must observe that this is only a trial, and
they will be removed so soon as the Commander-in-chief has seen them in
use, and decided upon their merits.”

After taking some refreshment, kindly offered by the general, I went to
Colonel Stirling, and informed him of the general’s decision. He
promised to have everything ready to commence operations the next

The following day I was out very early at the Inkermann heights, with a
numerous party, looking towards the Tchernaya Bridge. It was the 16th of
August, the day of that memorable battle, which does not require a
description on my part. From four till eight that morning I looked on,
and saw the retreat of the Russians and the triumph of the French and

On my return, I had the pleasure of riding with Lord Rokeby, who was on
his way to his quarters to give some important orders. I had a very
interesting conversation with his lordship, who explained the plan of
the battle--how it commenced and ended, with the probable loss on both
sides. He had been up all night: reinforcements were pouring in from all
directions of the Allied camps, with the cavalry, then commanded by
General Scarlett, as another attack was expected. Near Lord Rokeby’s
quarters we met Colonel Seymour, who gave him a despatch, whereupon the
former immediately left us. The colonel rode with me some distance,
giving me more details respecting the engagement. He then remarked that
I had not called the day before, according to promise. I told him that I
had been detained later than I anticipated: I also mentioned my
interview with Sir Colin Campbell. He said--

“You have done well, Monsieur Soyer; but of course I shall not be able
to do so much for you, as I am in another brigade: however, I will do my
utmost.” He then observed, “I believe, though I was introduced to you
the other day by General Simpson, you do not recollect me.”

“To be frank with you, colonel, I must acknowledge that your face is
very familiar, but I cannot recal where I had the pleasure of seeing you

“You will remember me, when I tell you I have been many times in your
kitchen at the Reform Club. Do you recollect me now?”

This explanation not having enlightened me, he continued--

“It was I--then Captain Seymour--who accompanied the Prince of Prussia,
the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, the Grand Duke Michael, the Princess Clementina
of France, and his Royal Highness Prince Albert, whose aide-de-camp I
was for several years.”

It was not until he said this that I recalled the colonel’s face, as he
had been completely metamorphosed from the drawing-room dandy to a
fierce and war-worn warrior. I was now much delighted to find so firm a
supporter of my undertaking. I could not, however, account for the
sudden change in his appearance since I had seen him at the Reform Club.

I went to see Colonel Stirling, though not expecting to find him or Sir
Colin in the camp, when, by chance, he returned, having important
business to transact. Upon seeing me, he said--

“Ah, Monsieur Soyer, you have selected a very glorious day for the
commencement of your hostilities; but I regret I shall not be able to
assist you, as we do not know how this affair will be decided.”

“You do not for a moment suppose, colonel, that I would intrude upon
your valuable time on such an occasion? Having slept in camp, I only
called _en passant_. Good-morning, colonel.”

“Good-day, Soyer. I would advise you to call to-morrow.”

Having given a look at my Highlanders’ cooking, and tasted some coffee
which they had prepared for breakfast according to my receipt, I
retired, much pleased with their success.

I remained at the camp till nearly three in the afternoon. About one, a
long train of mules made their appearance, bearing wounded French and
Russian soldiers--the latter prisoners. About twenty were wounded; the
rest followed the mournful procession. Assisted by a few of my men, I
gave them some wine, brandy, porter, &c.--in fact, whatever we could get
at the canteen--which seemed to afford them much relief. I of course
treated the wounded Russians in the same manner as the French; though
two refused to take anything, fearing poison.

Not doubting that many more would pass, as I had some provisions in a
tent for the opening of my kitchens, I made some sago jelly, with wine,
calves’-foot jelly, &c., which unfortunately was not used, as the other
prisoners went by a different road, though taken to the General
Hospital at the French head-quarters. Upon leaving, I ordered my men to
be on the look-out, and if any wounded or prisoners came by, to offer
them some refreshment.

Just as I was going, I perceived a few mules approaching the Guards’
camp. As they advanced, I and one of my men went towards some of the
wounded with a basin of sago in hand, saying, this was a sort of
half-way ambulance, where they might obtain all they might require. I
was aware that some of the Russian prisoners in the first convoy would
not accept any refreshment, for fear of being poisoned, of course not
knowing better. The case of two poor French soldiers I cannot pass in
silence. One had been severely wounded in the head, and was almost in a
state of insensibility; the other had had his leg amputated on the field
of battle. The first, after taking a few spoonfuls of the hot sago,
asked for a drop of brandy, saying he felt faint. The conductor at first
objected to this, but upon my asking him to take a glass with me and the
patient, he agreed that it would do him no harm if it did him no
good--adding, that very likely he would not survive the day. Having
mixed it with water, he drank it, and thanked me warmly. The other was
an officer. After giving him some wine-jelly, I conversed with him.

“How good this jelly is!” said he, in French; “pray give me another
spoonful or two, if you have it to spare.”

Having done this, he said that he suddenly felt very thirsty. This was,
no doubt, owing to the loss of blood. I gave him some lemonade. He drank
above a pint, and felt more composed, and proceeded to the hospital,
near the English head-quarters. I accompanied him, and he told me that
his leg had just been amputated; and, with tears in his eyes, added, in
a low voice, “All I regret is, that my military career should have ended
so soon. I am but thirty years of age, and have only been two months in
the Crimea.”

“My dear friend,” I replied, to cheer him, “many thousands have done
less, and died; but you will survive, and be rewarded for your gallant
service--you belong to a nation which can appreciate noble devotion.”

“Ah!” said he, “you have done me a deal of good, no matter who you are;
if my life is spared, I beg you will let me see or hear from you.”

Though he gave me his name, not having my pocket-book with me, I could
not make a note of it. Some time after, I visited the hospital, in
company with Dr. Wyatt of the Coldstream Guards. We learnt that the man
who had been wounded in the head had died, but that the officer whose
leg had been amputated had been sent home to France.

About six in the evening, I and my Zouave visited the field of battle.
The sight was indeed a melancholy one. The French and Sardinians were
busily engaged burying their dead, as well as those of the enemy, but
were compelled to desist several times in consequence of the Russian
cannonade from the heights.

Bornet, my Zouave, perceiving that the Russians were firing upon the
Allies while burying their dead, got in such a towering passion, that I
thought he would have gone alone and taken the Russian batteries. I had
great difficulty in getting him home, for, as I have before said, the
smell of gunpowder was to him like the scent of a rat to a terrier.

On arriving on board the _Baraguay d’Hilliers_, we learnt from the
captain that he was to take his departure in a few days, at which I was
very sorry, not having opened my kitchen, nor being as yet installed in
the camp. I applied to the harbour-master, who advised me to choose the
_Edward_; as she was a transport and laden with hospital stores, she was
likely to remain longest in harbour.

I was at this time busily engaged pitching my tents in the camp. The
opening of my kitchen was delayed in consequence of the troops being on
duty at the Tchernaya. This lasted for about ten days, when it was
rumoured that Sir Colin Campbell wished to remove his camp to Kamara, in
order to be nearer the spot at which it was supposed the expected
attack would take place. I therefore pitched my tent on the spot I had
at first selected. The day for my opening ceremony was fixed upon by
General Simpson; and my friend Colonel Seymour very kindly assisted me
in many ways, and even wrote letters of invitation to the colonels and
officers of the different regiments. I was anxious for them to give
their approval or non-approval of the method. Two days before, Colonel
Seymour and myself had settled everything to our satisfaction, and
wishing to make a kind of _fête champêtre_ of the opening day, we
applied at proper quarters for a band of music, which was granted.

My opening day was the one fixed upon for the distribution of the Order
of the Bath. In parting from the colonel, he observed, “Well, Monsieur
Soyer, I think we shall make a good thing of this, unless something
happens to me in the trenches to-night. I am just going there.”

These words were said in as light-hearted a manner as though he was
going to a ball, and passed from my mind as quickly. The gallant colonel
was then going perhaps for the hundredth time to his dangerous and
uncertain duty.

I returned to Balaklava for the last time previous to taking up my
permanent residence at the camp. I had settled all to my entire
satisfaction. With Sir George Maclean, the Commissary-General, I had
arranged respecting the quantity of rations required for a certain
number of men; with Mr. Fitzgerald, the Deputy Purveyor-in-chief, for
the fresh meat; and with the butcher for a supply of four ox-heads and
six ox-feet, out of the number he daily buried. I placed all my people
in their different stations according to merit and qualification. I
obtained from Major Mackenzie, through the kindness of Sir Thomas Eyre,
the Ordnance Master, some wood and four carpenters to put up some tables
and a few benches, and ordered from Messrs. Crockford, at Donnybrook, a
certain quantity of wines and refreshments worthy of the illustrious
guests I was about to receive.



     Invitations--Colonel Seymour’s kindness--He is wounded--Visit to
     the disabled officer--Desertions--Tents pitched at last--A gay
     scene--Bill of fare--My reception commences--The new
     stoves--Process of tasting--The fair sex--Arrival of the Allied
     generals and their staff--A luncheon _al fresco_--General Barnard’s
     _bon-mot_--Inspection of the stoves--Influx of visitors--Letters
     from the Allied commanders--Interview with Sir Edmund
     Lyons--Meeting of generals--Plans discussed--Various
     messes--Colonel Handcock and his lady--A sad change--An
     experiment--Colonel Daniell’s letter--A regimental kitchen.

My gallant master of the ceremonies, Colonel Seymour, had kindly taken
the most important part of my duty off my hands, by inviting all the
heads of the military and medical authorities, with a great number of
whom, in consequence of my short stay in the Crimea, I was not yet, or,
at least, only partially acquainted. I had now removed to the _Edward_,
and also left her, but still kept, if not a _pied à terre_ (as we say in
French), at least a _pied sur mer_, for myself and people, in case I
should require to go to Balaklava and stay there for the night.

This was on the 26th of August, 1855--the 27th was to be the opening
day. All my people had left for the camp, with arms and baggage. I was
certain of success and without the slightest anxiety. On arriving at my
field of operations, I learnt, to my deep sorrow, that my right hand,
Colonel Seymour, had, during the night, been dangerously wounded in the
trenches. I immediately went to his quarters to ascertain the nature of
his wound. His servant told me, that for the present no one could tell;
he had been struck by the splinter of a shell at the back of the neck,
and lost a great deal of blood. The doctor then came out and informed me
that the wound was not so bad as had been at first anticipated. His
servant announced me, and although very weak, the colonel begged I would
enter his tent. He was lying upon the ground upon a blanket, covered
with another, and his military cloak over that. His head was bandaged
with a turban of white linen stained with blood. His first words were,
“Monsieur Soyer, you see what has happened at last. I much regret it, as
I shall not be able to perform my promise to you respecting your

“Never mind, colonel; don’t let us talk about that subject now, but
about yourself.”

“Well,” he replied, “the doctor has just been, and says that the wound
is not mortal, nor even so dangerous as he at first anticipated.”

“Colonel, you want repose, so I will retire.”

“There is no occasion for that, Monsieur Soyer; I feel strong again.
When I was struck, I did not feel the wound, and fell immediately,
remaining for some time insensible, the wound, as the doctor says,
having acted upon the brain.”

“Don’t exert yourself, my dear colonel, by talking. Thank God it is no
worse. I will go and send you some lemonade. I have asked the doctor
what was best for you, and am happy to say I have some ice.”

“Many thanks for your kind attention, Monsieur Soyer.”

I then retired. Upon reaching my kitchen, I found that no one had yet
arrived. The four carpenters had left me in the lurch, having run away
in the night, and abandoned their work, after stealing all they could
from the tents. Mr. Doyne, the chief of the Army Works Corps, kindly
supplied me with workmen, and offered to lend me, for a few days, as
many tents as I required. As the weather was then intensely hot, I
accepted his offer, and requested the loan of a large marquee, under
which a couple of hundred people could stand. Captain Gordon lent me two
smaller ones, and by the evening they were pitched, and my provisions
had all arrived, and my people were at their posts. I much regretted
that many persons of distinction were not invited, in consequence of the
unfortunate accident to Colonel Seymour, which happened before he had
sent out all the invitations. At all events, the day, though fixed at
hazard, turned out extremely well adapted for the reception of a large

Early in the morning the camp seemed full of life and gaiety. Mounted
officers in full uniform might be seen rushing about in all directions;
bands were playing, regiments filing past, and everything bearing the
appearance of a great festival. I set cheerfully to work, and, in spite
of difficulties which can only be understood by those who have been in
the Crimea, I succeeded in getting all in tolerably good order for my
great martial banquet _al fresco_. I made several messes with the
soldiers’ rations, and at the same expense, though I had introduced
sauce and ingredients which could easily be added to the army stores
without increasing the cost, thus making a nice variation in the meals,
so important to the health of a large body of men like the army or navy,
to the latter of which it is as easily applicable as the former.

The bill of fare consisted of plain boiled salt beef; ditto, with
dumplings; plain boiled salt pork; ditto, with peas-pudding; stewed salt
pork and beef, with rice; French pot-au-feu; stewed fresh beef, with
potatoes; mutton, ditto, with haricot beans; ox-cheek and ox-feet soups;
Scotch mutton-broth; common curry, made with fresh and salt beef. (See
receipts in Addenda.)

By three o’clock my guests began to arrive. The stoves were in the open
air, placed in a semicircle, and, though in a state of ebullition, no
one could perceive that any cooking was going on, except on raising the
lids. A material point I had in view was that no fire should be seen
when used in the trenches. A common table, made of a few boards, and
garnished with soldiers’ tin plates, iron forks and spoons, composed my
open-air dining-room.

About four o’clock my reception commenced. Lord Rokeby, accompanied by
several French officers in full dress, was the first to honour me with
a visit. This gave me an opportunity of fully explaining to him and his
friends the plan and construction of the apparatus, as well as its
simplicity, cleanliness, and great economy in the consumption of fuel.
At the same time, I showed with what ease and certainty the men could
regulate the heat and prepare the new receipts--which will be found at
the end of this work.

I must also observe, for the information of those who only saw them upon
that occasion, that the stoves, having been made for the General
Hospital, were too large and heavy for campaigning. That I might lose no
time in making my trial before the authorities, I used them upon that
occasion, as the process was the same as regards cooking in those as in
the smaller ones. The sole difference was in the size, as it was
understood that two would cook for a company of one hundred and twenty
men, and might be carried by one mule while on march, with sufficient
dry wood inside for the next day’s cooking. This was of the utmost
importance, in order to ensure the regularity of the soldier’s meal,
which ought always to be ready at the minute fixed by the rules of the

Thus I had surmounted every difficulty by the invention of this
apparatus. In addition to its simplicity and economy, it had the merit
of making cooks of soldiers, of which they had previously neither the
inclination nor the chance. Smaller stoves on the same principle were
also to be provided for picket and outpost duty, as first suggested to
me by Lord Raglan. After giving the foregoing information to my
illustrious visitors, we passed to the grand process of tasting the
various messes. They all gave perfect satisfaction.

By this time several hundred visitors had made their appearance, and gay
and animated was the scene. All present were in the same costume as that
in which they appeared at the grand chivalric ceremony which had taken
place at head-quarters--the installation of the Order of the Bath. I was
also highly favoured, I may say, by the presence of a charming group of
the fair sex, about ten in number, escorted by their cavaliers. After
taking some refreshment under the monster tent, they came to add their
charms to the martial banquet, and taste with gusto the rough food of
the brave. I had nothing out of doors to offer their delicate palates
but the soldiers’ rations, transmogrified in various ways. My task now
became extremely difficult. The crowd was so great, that my batteries
were quite taken by storm (_de cuisine_, of course). Refreshments of all
kinds were distributed pretty freely throughout the day. The band in
attendance was ordered to play, and struck up “Partant pour la Syrie.”
All were immediately on the _qui vive_, when Captain Colville galloped
up to me, and said--

“General Simpson has sent me to inform you that General Pelissier and
himself will be here in a few minutes.”

A gorgeous cavalcade was soon seen in the distance. It consisted of the
Allied Generals and Staff, and a numerous suite. General Pelissier
alighted from his carriage, and joined General Simpson. I went and met
the distinguished visitors, who had come from head-quarters after the
ceremony of the distribution of the Order of the Bath by Lord Stratford
de Redcliffe.

Upon the arrival of the generals, the band continued playing “Partant
pour la Syrie.” The cannon of Sebastopol appeared to redouble its
roar--so much so, that General Pelissier, with a smile, called General
Simpson’s attention to the fact: added to which, the hundreds of
uniforms, cocked hats and feathers--French, English, and Sardinian--gave
full effect to the lively scene.

In course of conversation, General Simpson said, “Monsieur Soyer,--Lord
Stratford de Redcliffe, in reply to your letter, sends his compliments,
and regrets he shall not be able to attend your opening, as he must be
on board the _Caradoc_, now lying in Kamiesch Bay, by five o’clock, on
his way to Constantinople.”

I thanked General Simpson for his kindness in troubling himself about
the message, and the review of my culinary camp, which upon this
occasion was rather extensive, commenced. It comprised four bell-tents,
one marquee, and a large square tent, capable of holding more than two
hundred persons. A luncheon _al fresco_ was served in the camp, and four
of my cooks attended upon the guests. The tops of the tents were
surmounted with flags and garlands of evergreens composed of
vine-leaves; the same were also attached to the posts which supported
the rope forming the limits of the enclosure, giving to the whole a
martial and lively appearance. The weather was so fine that every one
preferred remaining in the open air.

Generals Pelissier and Simpson proceeded to taste the various articles
of food. The pot-au-feu, or beef-soup, was prepared partly from
ox-heads, which were usually buried, instead of being used as food for
the soldiers, no doubt in consequence of the difficulty of cleaning

General Pelissier tasted several samples of the pot-au-feu, and,
addressing General Barnard, declared that he felt as interested in this
unexpected exhibition as in the ceremony of the morning. The witty
General Barnard replied, “Your excellency must agree with me that this
day has been remarkably well spent: we devoted the morning to the
_cordon rouge_, and the afternoon to the _cordon bleu_.” General
Pelissier much enjoyed the _bon-mot_, and repeated it to the officers of
his Staff, thus creating great hilarity amongst them.

I requested many of my visitors to taste the different preparations,
and, much to my satisfaction, I believe almost all of them did so, and
expressed their approbation of them. After pointing out the merits of
the stoves to the Commanders-in-chief, I conducted them to the spot
where the Scotch Division formerly cooked their rations in the old tin
camp-kettles. On our way, I observed to General Pelissier that I had
visited the French camp-kitchens, and found their marmites superior to
the English. The soup made by the French soldiers, I said, was very
good. At this the General seemed much pleased.

The space required for three or four regiments extended about three
hundred and fifty feet in length. A rough wall of loose stones had been
erected by the men to form a screen, which when the regiment moved was,
of course, left behind. The furnaces were also constructed of loose
stones, held together by iron hoops; upon these the tin cans were placed
and the rations cooked. By this plan an immense quantity of wood was
inevitably wasted, and the fires were sometimes extinguished by the
heavy rains. My stoves completely obviated all those previously
insurmountable difficulties.

Having listened to this explanation, the Commanders-in-chief admitted
the beneficial results and advantages of the stoves. However, General
Simpson observed, that I, of course, applied the contrast to my
advantage; but also said, it was nothing but fair, and I was perfectly
justified in so doing. In the first place, my stoves occupied but little
room, and cooked much better than those formerly in use. The Generals
were so much pleased with them, that before leaving the camp they wrote
the annexed letters in my album. The same evening I received one from
the War-office, relative to my success in the hospitals at Scutari,
which I also append.

The Allied Generals remained with me above an hour. This gave me an
excellent opportunity of conversing with General Pelissier, who minutely
described camp life in Algeria, after which the General and Staff
retired. As it was then nearly seven o’clock, a great number of officers
followed. No less than eight hundred or a thousand persons of
distinction visited the kitchens during the day: many were not invited,
in consequence of the unfortunate accident to Colonel Seymour. About
nine all was over, and the band played “God save the Queen.”

Nothing could have succeeded better than this opening, a drawing of
which appeared in the _Illustrated News_ of September 22nd, 1855.

_General Pelissier’s Letter._

     J’ai eu le plaisir, le vingt-sept Août, 1855, de visiter
     l’établissement culinaire de Monsieur Soyer, et j’ai été bien
     satisfait de ce que j’y ai vu; j’ai été frappé surtout de
     l’économie de temps et de chauffage apporté dans l’alimentation des
     troupes. Les chaudières paraissent bien entendues; j’ai tout goûté,
     et à tout, je le reconnais, j’ai trouvé un goût excellent et



_General Simpson’s Letter._

CAMP BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, _31st August, 1855_.

     I had much pleasure in visiting Monsieur Soyer’s field-kitchen last
     Monday, the 27th instant. I there saw several excellent soups made
     from ration meat, compressed vegetables, and other things within
     reach of the soldier’s means, and cooked with very little fuel. I
     consider Monsieur Soyer is taking great pains in devoting his time
     and great talents to the good of our military service, especially
     in the field, and I wish him every possible success and honourable

_General Commanding_.

WAR-OFFICE, _6th August, 1855_.

     SIR,--I am directed to acknowledge the receipt, on the 2nd ultimo,
     of your report upon the culinary department of the hospitals in the
     East; and, in returning the thanks of the Secretary-at-War, to
     acquaint you, that he recognises, with the greatest satisfaction,
     the exertions you have made and are still making for the benefit of
     the army in the field, and also of the sick and wounded in the
     several hospitals.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

M. Soyer, Scutari.

About the 5th of September, I was at head-quarters, when who should walk
in but Sir Edmund Lyons! I had not had the pleasure of seeing him
before, and I took this opportunity of introducing myself, and informing
the Commander of the British Fleet in the Black Sea, that I was very
anxious to pay my respectful compliments to him.

Upon this, Sir Edmund Lyons, with the kindest feeling, at once offered
me his hand, saying, “Monsieur Soyer, I assure you I am delighted to
make your acquaintance. You are doing much good for our brave soldiers;
but you must not forget our worthy sailors. Come and see us on board the
_Albert_; you will be well received and quite welcome. I have heard much
about your field-kitchens, and it was only the other day I was reading a
very important complimentary letter which General Pelissier had written
in their favour.”

“He did me that honour, admiral, and he seemed highly gratified.”

“I can assure you he was, Monsieur Soyer, for I heard him say so.”

A few days after the grand opening ceremony, a meeting took place, by
order of the Minister-at-War and General Simpson, to consider the
possibility of supplying a pint of hot soup to the men in the trenches
during the winter. The meeting was held at Lord Rokeby’s head-quarters,
on the 3rd or 4th of September. I was ordered to be present. On my way
there I had the pleasure of meeting General Barnard, who in his humorous
manner addressed me thus:--

“Hallo, General Soyer! I’m not so much behind as I thought; for you are
only just going to the general meeting, or the meeting of generals.”

“You are right, general,” I replied. “Thank you for the noble title you
have bestowed upon me, and at the seat of war too.”

“The fact is, I understood the meeting was to be held at head-quarters,
and went half-way there, when I met some officers who told me it was to
be at Lord Rokeby’s. But they cannot proceed without you, general. Never
mind, Soyer, we are only a few minutes behind time.”

When we arrived, the Board was sitting. Sir Colin Campbell had sent a
message, stating that some important duties would prevent his
attendance. The proceedings then commenced, and the order was read by
General Bentinck; which, as far as I can recollect, was worded thus:--

     Lord Panmure, the Minister-at-War, anxious for the comfort of the
     troops in the Crimea, is desirous that, if possible, every man in
     the trenches should be supplied with a basin of hot soup during the
     winter nights; the allowance of rum to be, in consequence, either
     diminished or entirely withheld. His lordship believing Monsieur
     Soyer to be still in the Crimea, requests the Board to inquire of
     him if such would be practicable.

I at once replied that it could be done, and without difficulty, for any
number of men, by the application of my field-stoves. This answer met
with the general approbation of the assembled Board. I next remarked
that the stoves might be placed in the trenches, even in front of the
enemy, as not a spark of fire could be seen either by day or night while
they were in use. This point having been satisfactorily settled, the
question of taking away or reducing the quantity of rum was seriously
debated. General Eyre was of opinion that the men would not like to part
with any portion of their rum. Generals Bentinck, Rokeby, &c., were in
favour of giving the soup as an addition, and allowing the rum to be
issued as usual. It struck me that by giving only half a gill of rum the
other half would almost entirely cover the expense of the soup, if
economically managed. I also proposed another plan, which was to give
less rum and less than a pint of soup, which was discussed.

When the inquiry was over, I said--“Gentlemen, I shall feel obliged if
you will favour me with a visit to my field kitchen. I have made several
experiments in diets for you to taste, and if you approve of them, have
no doubt, when you know the cost, you will be able to settle the
question of supplying soup in the trenches with more certainty.”

All present agreed, excepting General Eyre, who was of opinion that what
he as a soldier had for so many years found answer for the men, would
answer now; nor did he see why the soldiers should live better than
himself. “I should be very happy,” said he, “to improve the daily food
of the troops, but do not like anything to be overdone. I like judicious
discipline in all things.”

Though I must frankly admit I was anything but enchanted with the
general’s way of thinking at first, I could not but admire the latter
part of his argument, which was as sincere as it was severe.

Several debates took place upon the subject, and, after a little
persuasion, I induced them all to come, and taste the samples I had
prepared for their inspection. I proudly led my very select cavalcade
towards my batteries, which upon that occasion were in charge of the
troops. I had only given the written receipts for them to act upon, and
charged a sergeant to watch over them, and see that the proportions in
the receipts were properly attended to. An infallible plan of ensuring
success at all times is to appoint a man of superior grade as
overlooker. One to each regiment would be sufficient.

Upon our arrival we found everything in perfect order: the stoves were
clean, the contents properly cooked, and the consumption of fuel four
hundred per cent. less than in the usual way. Only five different messes
were prepared upon this occasion--viz., ox-head soup, stewed fresh beef,
Scotch hodge-podge of mutton, salt pork and beef with dumplings.
Everything was done to perfection. After carefully explaining the
process to Generals Eyre and Bentinck, who were not present on the great
opening day, we sat down to test the quality of the articles. A
sumptuous lunch was displayed from the soldiers’ rations--always
excepting the ox heads, which I had obtained from the butcher, as usual,
on the eve of their funeral. With these I made an excellent _pot au
feu_, enough for fifty men. Lord Rokeby was so highly delighted with it,
that he recommended it to all, and requested me to give this receipt, as
well as that for stewed beef, to his cook--for which see Addenda.

A goblet of Marsala wine, with a lump of ice, terminated this martial
collation under a burning sun, and amid the everlasting roar of the
bombardment of the besieged city. The guests retired, quite satisfied.
Even General Eyre, though still adhering to his opinion that it was too
good for soldiers, and would make them lazy, said, “Soldiers do not
require such good messes as those while campaigning.” At which remark
the gentlemen present could not refrain from laughing.

“Well, general,” said I, “your plan has been tried, and, as you
perceive, has not answered. I was therefore obliged to introduce a
simpler style, by which soldiers might cook with pleasure and less
difficulty, and, having once learnt, always will cook properly, and with
less trouble. You must also observe, general, that it is with the same
rations as before. And is it not better to make a few good cooks out of
an army than to have an army of bad cooks?”

By this time the general was on his charger. He said, “We are both
right. For my part, I mean what I say: you will improve the cook, but
spoil the soldier.”

I then thanked them for their gracious condescension, and they started
for their several divisions, promising to let me know their final

Amongst the military authorities who visited me that day were General
Scarlett and Staff, Colonel St. George, Colonel Handcock and lady, a
very charming person, and extremely merry. She observed, when I
presented her with some champagne and ice in a large tin goblet, as she
sat upon her horse, “Upon my word, Monsieur Soyer, champagne is better
in tin cups in the Crimea than in crystal goblets in England.”

“I am glad you like it, madam. Shall I offer you another?”

“No, I thank you.”

“Madam would like to taste some of the men’s rations,” said Colonel

“Would you, madam?”

“Many thanks, Monsieur Soyer. I think not, after the champagne.”

After paying a visit to my abode, my guests departed.

A few days afterwards, I heard that that poor creature was plunged in
the deepest sorrow. Upon making a chance visit, I could not believe her
to be the same person; the bloom of life appeared to have suddenly
deserted her laughing cheeks, which wore a cadaverous hue. Such was the
effect sorrow soon produced on the appearance of one usually so animated
and full of mirth. (See page 368.)

As I noticed that the men daily threw the fat away from their salt beef
and pork, the last of which is of first-rate quality, I proposed to
Colonel Daniell, of the Coldstream Guards, to make his men cook for his
regiment, which was agreed upon. He always took great interest in the
welfare of his soldiers and in my culinary proceedings, and I had the
honour of being acquainted with him for some years as a subscriber to
benevolent institutions, and in particular to soup-kitchens for the
poor. The next day the rations were brought in; the salt beef and pork
were cooked, and a few dumplings added, as an innovation. The wood was
weighed, and twenty-seven pounds were sufficient to cook the rations for
the whole regiment. The meat was done to perfection, and without
trouble. I begged that the sixteen cooks daily employed for the regiment
might be present. Two would have done, or even one, as the water and
provisions were brought by a fatigue party, therefore fifteen men might
have been spared; and only forty-seven pounds of wood were used, instead
of one thousand seven hundred and sixty. When the meat was cooked, we
skimmed off forty-two pounds of fat as white as snow, and not black, as
was the case when cooked in the small canteen-pans with little water.
This spoilt the fat, which might be used in lieu of butter on bread or
biscuit. To do this properly, soak the biscuits in water for about ten
minutes; take them out, let them dry a little; put some fat in the pan;
when hot, fry them as you would a piece of bacon: a few minutes will do
them. When crisp, season with salt and pepper, if handy. They make an
excellent article of food.

For this saving and improvement, Colonel Daniell, whom I will back for
discipline and straightforwardness of opinion against any one in the
army, gave me the following letter:--


_Sept., 1855_.

     I have this day attended Monsieur Soyer’s course of instruction to
     the cooks of my battalion, and have tasted the messes cooked and
     served to the men, consisting of salt pork and beef. The mode in
     which the salt is extracted and the meat rendered comparatively
     tender by the apparatus used, the facility with which the grease is
     taken off and rendered serviceable for other purposes, is
     admirable; and I consider the arrangements relative to the small
     consumption of wood, and the simplicity with which the cooking is
     conducted, will, if adopted, tend much to the health, comfort, and
     well-being of the soldier.

     The present size of the “chaudrières” being objectionable, I am
     glad to hear from Monsieur Soyer that he is about to procure some
     of a less size. The fuel consumed to-day for cooking the messes of
     eight companies was hardly more than on ordinary occasions is
     consumed by one company; and from four hundred and twenty rations
     of salt pork and beef, forty-eight pounds of excellent lard was
     procured, which usually is wasted. These facts alone render
     Monsieur Soyer’s plan at once economical and desirable, and I have
     great pleasure in testifying my appreciation of the manner with
     which he conveys instruction to the men, in saying how highly I
     approve of his recipes and arrangements for carrying out his scheme
     of camp cookery.

(Signed)         H. J. DANIELL,
_Col. and Capt. in Command, First Battalion
Coldstream Guards_.

The regiments being at that time greatly reduced, were only 428 strong,
therefore the weight of meat, at one pound per man, was 428 pounds, from
which 42 pounds of excellent fat were obtained, much preferable for
cooking purposes to the rancid butter sold in the canteens at a very
high price. As I was anxious to form a perfect regimental kitchen, I
proposed to Colonel Daniell to fit up one for his regiment. His men were
already well acquainted with the use of the field stoves; and it would
serve as a model for all. Colonel Daniell agreed, and in less than an
hour the stoves were removed to the camp, where they remained by
sanction of the General-in-Chief till the end of the war.

At this time I went to head-quarters, and urged the necessity of
telegraphing an order for four hundred small field-stoves, which order
had been agreed upon in case my plan succeeded and was adopted by the
authorities. I also had several interviews with General Airey, upon the
subject. This number was sufficient for the supply of the whole of the
army then in the Crimea. As there was so much business at head-quarters
in consequence of the anticipated attack upon Sebastopol, the order was
postponed for a few days.



     Trip to Kamiesch--Bornet’s love for war--Dangerous
     quarters--Arrival at Kamiesch--Town of pasteboard--The 8th of
     September--Orders for the assault--Carousals--Looking on--Stopped
     by the sentinels--Get by at last--The batteries open fire--The
     French flag on the Malakhoff--Wounded men--The officer’s
     wife--Naval officers trying to dodge the sentries--Become my
     guests--Reports respecting General Wyndham--Cathcart’s Hill--The
     Duke of Newcastle--Dine with General Wyndham on the day of the
     attack upon Sebastopol--Sir John Campbell and the French cook--An
     excellent dinner--Rare autographs--General Wyndham summoned to

Early on the 3rd of September we started for Kamiesch; but, as usual,
Bornet could not forget his old trade, and love for his fellow-soldiers.
“Governor,” said he, “the 3rd Zouaves who were on duty in the trenches
last night are on their return to camp. It is eight o’clock, and if we
take this ravine we shall meet some of them, and learn what is going

Having the whole day before us, I consented to go; we took the road
called the French Ravine, which led from the French head-quarters to the
trenches before Sebastopol. The returning Zouaves we met, but the cannon
balls also met us. Being in the ravine, we were not in great danger, as
they passed over our heads and fell on our left side. The principal
danger was when they struck a large stone, causing it to roll down the
side of the ravine, sometimes at a terrific rate.

The shells were far more objectionable; but, thanks to Providence, none
hit us. While retreating, Bornet said, “By a thousand bombs, governor,
it must be a fresh battery they are firing from: we always used to go
this way to the trenches.”

“Well,” said I, “new or old, let us get out of it.”

Putting our horses to a gallop, we were soon out of danger, and on the
road to Kamiesch. Near the French head-quarters we met two Zouaves. They
told us the French trenches were now within twenty yards of the
Malakhoff tower. “The cannon,” they said, “project about twenty feet
over our heads, and cannot touch us; but the grenades, which the
Russians throw among us by hundreds, cause the loss of many men, though
we extinguish a great number when they fall.”

Bornet now proposed the _vin blanc_, but to his regret and my delight,
they refused, or we should probably not have seen Kamiesch that day. In
many instances I have known French soldiers refuse.

At length we arrived at Kamiesch, which I had so long seen from my
quarters, but could not reach before, owing to the engrossing nature of
my occupations. This French town of pasteboard, or light wood, was so
different from Balaklava, that I cannot give my readers a better idea of
it than by stating that it bears the same resemblance to Balaklava that
Ramsgate does to Boulogne in the height of the season. The traffic,
business, markets, restaurants, cafés, billiard-rooms, theatre, &c.,
display the difference of character between the French and English, as
forcibly as Balaklava does the English from the French.

It was really remarkable to see the type of two great nations, such near
neighbours, on the same foreign soil, so far from their native homes, so
distinctly preserved, while the people agreed so well together. Some of
the restaurants were pretty good, very expensive, not very clean, but
always full. Money seemed of no consequence, as every one tried to get
it out of you if you were rash enough to eat, drink, or purchase

The sea-port was very fine; Kamiesch, flat, sandy, and unpicturesque.
Balaklava was a perfect garden; Kamiesch a well populated desert.

The evening of the 7th of September was a memorable one. Each mind was
animated; men of the most pacific disposition were transformed into
lions or tigers, furiously seeking to devour their prey.

Amidst the most terrible discharges of cannon, the order for the general
attack was announced to the troops for the following day. The news
acted like an electric spark, and inspired all hearts. Each soldier
appeared to breathe more freely; hope, the enchantress, filled the
hearts of the brave with enthusiasm; fear was unknown; all faces were
radiant with lust of glory and vengeance.

Having heard that the attack was to take place, at midday I visited the
French camp with my Zouave, where we found the same animation and
excitement. One of the soldiers said to my Zouave:

“By all the camels in Arabia, Bornet, are you coming to join in the
dance? If you are, I invite you for the first quadrille; but you must
play the clarionet (slang term for gun). Here’s a chance of having your
portrait spoiled--it just suits me.”

“What do you think of it, governor--shall I go?”

“It is impossible, my dear fellow, for me to oblige you upon this
occasion, as your services will be more useful to-morrow, when no doubt,
whichever way the victory may turn, the hospitals will be full.
Therefore I hope you will forgive me for saving your life against your
will. I am sure, if you had a chance, you would be the first to mount
the breach, and consequently the first to be knocked over.”

His late comrades in arms did not see the force of this. They knew he
had some money, and did not like to part with him. The idea struck me to
order a few bottles of wine at the canteen near their tents, in return
for their hospitality in offering us their ration rum and brandy. About
five-and-twenty more joined us when I gave the invitation. I knew that
Bornet had only a few shillings in his pocket, which shillings,
by-the-bye, were very liberally taken by the vivandière as a great
favour, at the value of a French franc. After several farewells we

The morning of the 8th of September, 1855, arrived. Aurora smiled gaily
upon the far-famed city, the sentinels on all sides were at their posts,
and in the Russian camp no doubt the watchword circulated as usual. It
was thus in the allied camps, but pronounced quicker; the step of the
relief guard was that of quick march, every nerve was in action, and
strained to the utmost. The scene at the race for the Derby alone could
give the reader an idea of the sudden energy which filled every bosom,
on hearing that the attack was to take place, with this difference, that
life seemed of less consequence to every one in the Crimea than the loss
of money on that terrible day of chance. All had a share in the lottery.
Glory was to turn the wheel of fortune, and every one seemed sure of
winning. All hoped to gather laurels from the arid soil so long
moistened with blood.

At four o’clock we were all up; about five the Guards were on their
march towards the besieged city; troops from all quarters were silently
marching in the same direction; every heart was beating high; the day
had at last arrived which was to decide a great question. At seven all
were at their post. Bornet and myself started on horseback directly,
after seeing the Scots Fusiliers pass through the Guards’ camp, close to
our tents. On catching sight of them, my Zouave exclaimed, “What a
splendid regiment, gouverneur, que ces Montagnards Ecossais! I have a
great mind to follow them: I shall, too!”

“I am sure you sha’n’t,” said I, clutching him by the coat collar.

After making a long détour, a sentinel let us pass. As we were nearer
the Woronzoff Road than the Cathcart Hill Cemetery, we went in that
direction, and took up our position to witness the grand spectacle. For
some time a profound silence reigned amongst the troops, who seemed as
though they were buried in the trenches. The weather, which had been
fine the preceding days, and even till sunrise on that eventful morning,
suddenly changed. In a short time the elements assumed a threatening
aspect, and a furious tempest raged in every direction. A clouded sky
had replaced the azure blue, the fierce gusts of wind raised thick
clouds of dust, which rolled majestically towards us like a moving
castle, blinding every one for a time. The cold air chilled everybody,
and was so violent that one could scarcely keep one’s saddle, or see
twenty yards in advance. Showers of hail burst here and there over the
now excited and infuriated camp and Sebastopol; the scene of action was
almost invisible. It appeared as though the evil genius of the storm had
on that glorious day attached his seal of destruction to that desecrated
spot. Even the sun (_l’ami Soleil_), the world’s friend, seemed to fear
to face this scene of horror and desolation, and while smiling upon the
remainder of the mighty globe, had, in appearance, withdrawn from the
harrowed city of Sebastopol.

Suddenly the batteries opened fire in every direction, shaking the very
soil on which we stood. Clouds of smoke enveloped the besieged city. Not
a thing could be seen or heard but a continuous rolling noise similar to
that of an earthquake. All at once the noise ceased, and the rattle of
musketry was heard, with, at intervals, cannon and mortar shot. By
degrees, thanks to the heavy gale, the atmosphere got clearer, and by
the aid of a telescope one could distinctly see the French flag floating
from the Malakhoff, and the troops mounting to the assault. An hour had
scarcely elapsed when the news was brought of the capture of the
Malakhoff by the French, and of the Redan by the English. Aides-de-camp
were flying in every direction; and numbers of wounded were on their way
to the hospitals. We quitted our post to go to the General Hospital, in
order to see whether our services were required. As we were crossing the
English camp, a corpse was borne past us, carried by four soldiers. Upon
inquiry I learned, with sorrow, that it was the body of Colonel H. R.
Handcock, whom, a few days before, I had had the pleasure of
entertaining at my kitchens, with his young and very interesting wife.

The latter had been an eye-witness of the assault, and I was informed
that, by the greatest imprudence, the mutilated body of her husband had
just been uncovered before her. She fainted at the sight, and was borne
to her residence, where she lay for some time dangerously ill. This will
account for the sudden alteration in her appearance before mentioned.

The fight still raged, the weather was a little calmer, and we left the
field of battle, intending to gallop at once to the hospital. On
reaching the line of sentries, we met two naval officers who were trying
to pass, in order to obtain a view of the action from Cathcart’s Hill.
They were having a rather warm discussion, the sentry doing his duty by
stopping them. I pulled up my horse, and told them that unless they had
an order from head-quarters they could not pass. Though much vexed, they
thanked me, and submitted to the disappointment. I was about leaving
them, when I heard one say to the other--

“What shall we do? I would give any money for a glass of wine or a cup
of coffee.”

“So would I,” said the other. “Where is there a Canteen, sentry?”

“It would be of no use my telling you,” the sentry replied, “as they are
all closed during the siege, or at least for to-day, in order to prevent
men left in the camp from quitting their post. Several robberies were
perpetrated in camp upon former occasions.”

I overheard their conversation, in which they stated that they had
started without breakfast, and been a long way round--nearly seven miles
among the hills--and had seen nothing after all, as the pickets would
not let them pass the line of Balaklava.

“Gentlemen,” said I, “if you will come with me to my tent, I think I can
keep you from starving, and have no doubt you will fare there as well,
if not better, than in a Canteen. I can also give you a description of
the siege, having been an eyewitness of the same.”

They thanked me, and accepted my offer. On our way to quarters, I
recounted the melancholy death of Colonel Handcock. My Zouave had by
this time arrived--no one but the groom was at home, and he could speak
neither French nor English, being a Greek--so I set my Zouave to lay the
table; and with my magic stove I cooked some ration-mutton, made an
omelette, brought out a piece of cold beef, bread, &c., and gave them a
bottle of ale and a glass of sherry. In twenty minutes their hunger was
appeased, and I told them they were welcome to stay, but that I must
proceed to my duty. At the same time I informed them, that at six
o’clock dinner would be ready, and they were welcome to partake of it if
they happened to be about the camp; but that they were on no account to
wait for me in case I did not return, as I did not know what I might
have to do in the hospitals. They thanked me for my hospitality, and
said they would try and see something of the battle, and if anywhere
about my quarters, would be too happy to return to dinner.

We then parted; they proceeding towards Sebastopol, and I to the
hospital. On my arrival I found, to my surprise, that not one wounded
man had been brought in. After waiting some time I saw Dr. Mouatt, and
inquired if anything extra was wanted; his reply was, “We have all that
is needed for their reception.”

I then went to the purveyor, and to the kitchen; but fearing, as the
battle was raging fiercely, the number of wounded might exceed the means
at their disposal, I remained about the hospitals. I did this in case my
services might be required, as I was well aware of the importance of
speedy relief to the sufferers.

Towards evening the wounded began to arrive, though not in great
numbers. I left my Zouave there and returned to the camp, telling him if
anything was required, to ride home at once and inform me, as the
doctors would be so much engaged--and in particular Dr. Mouatt, who
would most probably not be able to devote his time to the culinary
department. As I rode towards Sebastopol, to have another look at the
battle, I met only a few wounded. Upon inquiring of the orderlies in
charge whether there were many more, they replied that they could not
say, but they believed that there were a great number. I then returned
to my tent, and a few minutes afterwards my naval friends arrived. The
dinner was served up, and they told me that they had had a good view of
the besieged city from the French lines. In the course of conversation,
they informed me that Colonel (now General) Wyndham had invited them to
dinner that day. I replied, “I am very anxious about him, as he led the
storming party in the Redan, and I have heard the attack has been very
severe, and many were killed and wounded on both sides.” I also heard
that it had been retaken by the Russians, and feared he might have been
taken prisoner, if not wounded or killed.

When dinner was over, I proposed to pass them through the lines and make
inquiry about him. We proceeded to Cathcart’s Hill--it was then nearly
dusk--I on horseback, they on foot. The camp around us was as still and
deserted as in the morning; scarcely any one was to be seen till we
reached the lines. Very few shots were heard, but every one was at his
post. Upon reaching Cathcart’s Hill, I alighted to speak with his Grace
the Duke of Newcastle, who had been in the trenches all day and had just
returned. He was kind enough to give me the details of the attacks on
both sides, and said that he was waiting for General Bentinck, who had
not yet been seen, and that he hoped nothing had happened to him. I
observed, “This is a most anxious hour for all who have friends engaged
in so serious and dangerous an encounter.”

While conversing with the Duke, I missed my two companions. Thinking
they knew the position of Colonel Wyndham’s quarters, I went there
expecting to find them. My first and most anxious inquiry of the
servant, who knew me well, was, “What news of the Colonel?”

“Oh, all right, Monsieur Soyer,” he replied with great satisfaction. “If
you wish to see him, he is gone to Colonel Wood’s tent--you know where
it is.”

“No I don’t.”

“Then I’ll show you--he will be glad to see you.”

“I will not trouble you, as I would not disturb him on such a day for
the world. I am glad to hear he is safe; but have you seen two

“No one excepting yourself, sir. You must come with me; my master is
alone, waiting for the Colonel, and I’m sure they will both be happy to
see you.”

Colonel Wyndham had just changed his clothes before going to the
Colonel’s to dine. His servant showed them to me; they were covered with
blood and dust. I followed him to Colonel Wood’s hut, and found Colonel
Wyndham walking quickly to and fro in the hut, apparently much
preoccupied and excited. His eyes emitted flashes of fire, his open
countenance had assumed its usual majestic calm and dignity, his lips
were parched, his proud brow betokened much restlessness, and though his
forehead was covered with glory, you could perceive through the wreath
of laurel which had only a few hours before been deposited there by
Mars, a deep shadow of thoughtfulness and care. His physiognomy told a
tale. Victory had of him made a great hero, without having had time to
put her final seal to his martial and petulant ardour. Another battle
was yet to be fought.

Seeing me, he came forward and shook me by the hand, inviting me to
enter. We were together about half-an-hour, and he related to me the
great events of the attack upon the Redan, now so well known to the
public. Colonel Wood came in, also free from wounds, to the delight of
all, and invited me to dine with them. I told him that I had already
dined, but could not refuse the honour upon so memorable an occasion.

We then sat down to dinner. François,[20] the Colonel’s French cook,
with whose culinary capacities I was well acquainted, having dined
several times with the Colonel, told me he never felt less interest, or
prepared a dinner with so much reluctance, fearing no one would return
to eat it after such a sanguinary battle. Highly delighted was he when
Colonel Wyndham came in, and more so when he found that his excellent
governor (as he called him) had returned safe and sound. Every officer
in the camp knew François, and the Colonel’s table got quite in repute
through the exertions of this culinary disciple of Vattel. He used to go
to the trenches, leaving his own batteries to brave those of the enemy,
and all this for the comfort of his excellent governor. He was much
liked by all, and always had a budget of anecdotes, some of them very
interesting. He had lived as cook and major domo for several years with
Madame Grisi. The last time I saw him he was in daily expectation of the
Sebastopol medal.

The dinner was served, but I must say it was not so _recherché_ as on
former occasions; it seemed to have been prepared for sick epicures, or
at least those who hovered between life and death. The conversation upon
the events of the day was so animated that no one but myself perceived
the difference. The Colonel’s excellent wine was highly relished, and in
drinking the health of Colonels Wyndham and Wood, I requested the former
to make a note of the fact that I had the honour of dining with him and
Colonel Wood a few hours after the battle, as probably no one would
credit it. This the Colonel immediately did, and Colonel Wood added his
autograph, of which the following is a copy:--

_8th September, 1855, 9_ P.M.

     I had the pleasure, after my return from leading the storming party
     of the 2nd Division to the Redan, of dining with Colonel D. Wood,
     and meeting at dinner Monsieur Soyer.

_Lieut.-Col. Commanding,
R.A. 4th Division_.

_Col. Commanding,
2nd Battalion_.

They had hardly signed this when a loud knock was heard at the door, and
an orderly entered with a dispatch from General Simpson, who wished to
see Colonel Wyndham directly. The Colonel lost no time in attending to
his commander’s orders, and we mounted our horses and started for
head-quarters. “An immediate attack on the Redan is what I shall
recommend to the General-in-Chief” were the last words uttered by the
Colonel before leaving the hut. The firing had ceased; the night was
very dark, but the weather calm. It was with great difficulty we found
our way through the camps, which appeared very silent after such a
stormy day and day of storm. In about a quarter of an hour Colonel
Wyndham observed, “Monsieur Soyer, I believe you are close to your
quarters,” pointing to several lights. “There,” said he, “is the Guards’
camp.” I wished him good evening, and we separated.

My Zouave had not returned from the hospital, but shortly after made his
appearance rather intoxicated. He related all that he had seen, and said
that a few wounded Russians had been brought to the hospitals. “They
have all they require,” said he; “and, in case of need, I told a man to
call us up.” When he had put everything in order, he said, “I’ll keep
watch,” and commenced singing his favourite songs. He made so much noise
that we could not sleep if we had wished to do so, especially as the
soldier-cooks and servants joined him in chorus.



     Sad scenes--Ride to Cathcart’s Hill--Glorious news--Animated
     groups--First spoils--Refreshment for the
     wounded--Chloroform--Dinner at the Carlton--Sebastopol in flames--A
     night expedition--Letter to Messrs. Routledge--Visit to
     Sebastopol--Russian fare--Poisoned bread--Culinary
     trophies--Interior of the Malakhoff--Bornet’s funeral oration over
     a dead comrade--The Russian hospital--Harrowing scenes.

Two days before I had been invited to dine with Colonel de Bathe, in
order to partake of a Crimean fat goose. Though disappointed of my
dinner, I was anxious to know if anything had happened to him and his
brave companions in arms, and I therefore went round the camp and
visited the Coldstream and Fusilier Guards. Many had not returned. Those
off duty had retired to rest, which can be easily understood after the
fatigues of such a day. I therefore returned, and laid down for a few
hours. About four in the morning I went to the hospital, and found that
every ward would soon be encumbered with sick and wounded. The cooks
overfatigued, having been up all night at work. I at once proposed to
furnish Dr. Mouatt with what he required, provided the purveyor would
send the provisions to the Guards’ camp. The doctor thanked me for the
offer, and gave an immediate order to that effect. My Zouave had brought
me a cross, which had been worn by a Russian officer who was killed. I
presented it to one of the prisoners, who kissed it fervently and passed
it to his comrades. There were about fifteen of them. No difference was
made in the attendance or care bestowed upon them and that shown to our
own troops, though not less than four or five hundred were in the
hospital at the time, and more were coming in. Such a scene of
suffering can never be effaced from memory, and is not to be described.

While waiting for the provisions, I galloped as far as Cathcart’s Hill,
and was much surprised to find that hostilities had entirely ceased. I
met Colonel Steele just returning from the Redan.

“It’s all over, Monsieur Soyer,” said he.

“What do you mean, Colonel?” I replied.

“The Russians have retreated and abandoned Sebastopol! I have just been
in the Redan, which exhibits a fearful scene. The loss has been great on
all sides.”

He then left in a great hurry, saying he must return to head-quarters
and telegraph the news to the War-office. A few houses were burning, and
thick smoke was issuing from various parts of the city. Some of the
Russian ships were burning in the bay. The weather was as calm, as it
had been boisterous the day before. Amongst the group upon the hill were
the Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Russell, and a few others, not above twenty
in all. Our attention was attracted by the arrival of a soldier with the
first spoils of the conquered city. These consisted of two chairs, a
dressing table and a looking-glass. He also carried a hare in one hand.
On being asked where he got these various articles, he answered, “From
the city. The French troops are plundering, and not a Russian is to be
found. Yet the place is very dangerous, as explosions are continually
taking place.”

Shortly after, a long train of wounded, carried on mules, was seen going
towards the General Hospital, amongst whom were a number of Russians.
The _cortège_ was followed by about twenty Russian prisoners; and I
could not help remarking the youthful appearance of the latter, their
age not exceeding from eighteen to twenty-five. This, I concluded, was
owing to the immense number the enemy must have lost during the

My Zouave had, unknown to me, left on an expedition to the city.
Although much against my will, it was impossible to stop him. My
endeavours to impress upon his mind the importance of remaining with me
upon that occasion were of no avail.

On returning to the camp I prepared a quantity of lemonade, arrowroot,
beef-tea, arrowroot-water, barley-water, rice-water and pudding, boiled
rice, &c., and through the kindness of Colonel Daniell and Major
Fielden, twelve men were sent to carry them to the hospitals. I spent
the remainder of the day in the hospitals, which were situated about a
mile from the Guards’ camp, where I witnessed the most painful scenes
and numerous amputations. Amongst those operated upon were several
Russians. I could not help remarking what a blessing to the sufferer
chloroform proved. Wonderful was the kindness and celerity with which
the doctors performed the operations. These were so numerous that before
night several buckets were filled with the limbs, and the greater part
of those operated upon were doing well. The hospitals, although they
contained nearly forty wards, were full. Some of our wounded, as well as
the Russians, were placed under marquees and other tents. The wounds
received by some of the Russians were fearful, and the groans of those
who were mortally wounded awful. Having done all that was required at
the hospital I returned to the camp, where an invitation awaited me to
dine at the Carlton Club. This I was much pleased to accept. The painful
scenes I had witnessed weighed heavily upon the heart and mind, and a
little relaxation became necessary. At about eight o’clock I repaired to
the appointed place, and eight or nine guests sat down.

The dinner was very good; and though the bill of fare was rather
extensive, every dish was cleared. Was this due to the skill of the
_chef de cuisine_, or to the sixteen hours of hard work in the trenches?
If the latter was really the cause of this, I should recommend a blasé
epicure, who has lost his appetite, to try this simple and effective
process. It will not fail to succeed--that is, should he escape with
life after sixteen hours of shooting or being shot at, like pigeons at
the Red House. The conversation became very animated, and so interesting
that a small pamphlet might be written upon it. All had seen something
and had something to relate. My description of the hospitals was the
great feature of the evening, as none present had seen them, having
other occupation at their posts with the various regiments. The Queen’s
health, that of the Emperor of the French, and of the Sultan, were
toasted with three times three and one more cheer. In the midst of this,
Buckingham!! the renowned Buckingham!!! who had displayed all his
_savoir faire_ in the _service de table_, acting upon that occasion as
_maître d’hôtel en chef_, with a few utensils made a display worthy of a
first-rate à la mode beef house, nothing to be laughed at in a Crimean
popotte, rushed into the tent, crying “Colonel! Colonel! the whole of
Sebastopol is in flames.” It was true. In less than ten minutes streets
had taken fire with the rapidity of a firework, and every minute the
conflagration seemed to be upon the increase. Nothing but fire and smoke
could be seen from the Guards’ camp. I proposed that we should order our
horses and go to Cathcart’s Hill to see what was going on. To my
surprise, no one seemed inclined to move. They all said that they had
had enough of Sebastopol, and were tired to death. On urging the matter,
the only answer I got from some of my gallant friends was, “Not
to-night, Monsieur Soyer, not to-night.”

“Surely,” said I, “gentlemen! you don’t expect the Russians will set a
Sebastopol on fire every day at a few hours’ notice to please you.”

“That is not likely,” said Major Fielden; “but for all that I feel
convinced that no one will go.”

As the fire seemed to extend and the sky became one lurid mass, I
determined to go and get a sight of it. I bade my companions adieu, went
back to my tent, ordered my horse, and tried to awake my Zouave in order
to take him with me. He was so intoxicated I could not succeed. He had
spent the day with some of his comrades, and completely lost his senses.
As I could not find either groom or any of my men, I went to Mr.
Mesnil’s tent. My major domo being an old campaigner, had as usual
turned in all dressed to be ready for any contingency. Rousing him, I
requested him to accompany me. The eternal reply of “Not to-night” was
again heard.

“Oh, hang the place, let it burn,” said he.

As this was my last resource, I would not leave him. At last, in no very
kindly mood, he turned out and agreed to go. The night was pitch dark,
so we preferred going on foot. My friend was armed with a Russian sword
and a night glass; I with a poignard-revolver and a lanthorn. Our
intention was to get as near the city as possible, and we were prepared
for any unpleasant encounter by firelight instead of moonlight. The
purlieus of the camp were at this period anything but safe. With much
difficulty, we reached Cathcart’s Hill, having lost our way in trying
what we thought would be a short cut. The camp was silent, and
apparently deserted. Although only eleven o’clock, we did not meet a
soul, with the exception of sentries, on our way.

So sublime was the scene witnessed by us from the summit of Cathcart’s
Hill, that it induced me, in my business correspondence with my
publishers, Messrs. Routledge and Co., to forward them the following
descriptive letter of the extraordinary effects this monstrous scene
produced upon my senses. It has already appeared, I believe, in the
public prints.

_Flagstaff, Cathcart’s Hill, near Sebastopol,
9th September, 1855._

     GENTLEMEN,--Sebastopol has fallen, and almost every part of its
     superstructure is in flames. From the very spot I write, I can
     distinctly enumerate at least fourteen different conflagrations.
     The sight is at once sublime and terrific. A Martin or a Danby
     alone could trace on canvas, with their vigorous tints and their
     wild genius, the stupendous scene which my eyes are now beholding.
     The incessant roaring of the cannon, the explosion of shells, the
     blowing of the trumpet, the beating of drums, mingled with the
     groaning of the wounded and the anxious bustling of myriads of
     souls--adding to this the most tempestuous hurricane, the coldness
     of the weather, falling of hailstones, and the previously
     forest-like clouds of dust springing out from the harrowed Crimean
     soil, which raged during the whole of yesterday over the Allies’
     camps, have suddenly given place to the most profound calm and
     glowing breeze. The semi-defunct city and all the camps are as
     silent as the graves by which I am now surrounded. Ten yards from
     here lie the remains of the immortal Cathcart, encircled by several
     of his noble companions in arms. From half-past eleven to this
     present time, two A.M., not a living creature, save myself and a
     friend, besides the picket-sentinel, has been here to witness, from
     this remarkable spot, the downfall of the venerated Russian city.

     With the highest consideration, I have the honour to be,

Your most obedient servant,


By the aid of the night-glass we obtained so good a view that we did not
deem it advisable to proceed further. The heat of the fire was felt even
at that distance, and explosions were frequent. The cause of the
solitude in the camp at that hour can only be attributed to the
excessive fatigue consequent upon the tremendous exertions of the
previous day; the curtain had fallen on this grand drama--all was
repose. We then returned to quarters through the same mournful solitude,
not having met a soul either going or returning. This dreariness
impressed me with the idea of chaos, after the destruction of a world
and its empires.

Early the following morning, attended by my Zouave, who had recovered
his sober senses, I started for the General Hospital.

We saw about thirty dead bodies laid out in a row, and stitched up in
their blankets, with their name and nation marked upon each. I believe
there was not a single case of amputation amongst them; they had all
been mortally wounded. This speaks volumes in favour of the use of
chloroform, the efficacy and safety of which, for a time, was much
doubted, even by eminent medical men. Amputations were still being
performed with skill and celerity worthy of a Guthrie or an Astley
Cooper. The principal medical men were Drs. Mouatt, Lyons, &c. &c., who
appeared to vie with each other in their kind attention to the

Perceiving that nothing further was required for the present, and that
all was going on well, I went to visit Sebastopol. My Zouave knew the
road, as he had been there the day before. Our first visit was to the
Redan, where we were refused admission. My intrepid Zouave, not
contented with this rebuff, took me round another way, and, leaving our
horses outside, we scaled the works and got in. The scene of death and
destruction here was awful, and has been described too often for me to
dwell upon it. Nothing but the effects of a devastating earthquake can
give any one an idea of the _débris_ of the interior, or of the
destruction caused by the fire of the Allies, and the explosions that
had ensued. We proceeded to the city by the Arsenal, on the British
side. The town was still burning. On reaching the large barracks, we
visited the kitchens and bakeries. In the former, some of the boilers
contained cabbage-soup; others, a kind of porridge made with black
flour. In the bakeries, loaves of bread were still in the ovens, and
dough in the troughs. We removed a loaf from the oven and tasted it. As
we had brought no provision with us, and there was none to be obtained
in the burning city, we ate about half a pound of bread each, and
finished our frugal repast with a good draught of water: the latter was
retailed at the small charge of sixpence a pint. A quarter of an hour
after, I looked my Zouave hard in the face, saying, as I placed my hand
upon my stomach, with a rueful face and in a piteous tone of voice--

“Bless me, Bornet! do you feel anything wrong?--because, if you don’t, I
do!” Looking still more pitiful, I continued--“I _am_ confident the
bread has been poisoned!”

“The deuce it has!” he replied, turning pale, and putting his fingers in
his throat in order to throw off the dreadful meal, but without success.

I laughed at him, and called him a coward.

“Coward!” said he; “no, no, governor, I am no coward. I should not mind
a round-shot, sword, or bayonet wound, in the field of battle; but, by
Jupiter! to be poisoned ingloriously like a dog, would be base in the

“You’re right,” said I. “Come, don’t fear, let’s go and taste the

To this invitation he most decidedly objected, saying, “No more of their
relishes for me, if you please.”

In my culinary ardour I tasted it, and found it extremely bad and
entirely deprived of nutritious qualities, but no doubt in it was to be
added some black bread which would improve it.

Among the culinary trophies we brought away, were a long iron fork, a
ladle, some of the dough, biscuits, and a large piece of the black bread
taken from the oven. I intended to test its merits upon my return to the
camp. After visiting the docks, in which the vessels were still burning,
as well as some in the harbour, we went to the Malakhoff, at the foot of
which lay a number of dead bodies and horses. I met several
acquaintances, and, on obtaining permission, visited the tower and its
interior. The scene here was the same as at the Redan--one of
destruction and desolation, though this place was not so much knocked
about--but none could fail to appreciate the talent and skill displayed
by the Russians in their style of fortification. The electric wires
connected with the mines had been discovered and cut, rendering our
visit comparatively safe. The men were busy burying the dead in all
directions. My Zouave drew me towards the Black Battery, by which the
division Bosquet had so severely suffered in valiantly defending their
position. On arriving there, he recognised the dead body of one of his
late comrades, and he implored me to allow him to remain till it was
buried. As it was getting dark, and it was not probable that they would
bury him that evening, I promised to allow him to return in the morning.
Looking pitifully at the corpse, he said--

“Poor Adrien, what fun we had in Algeria! and now you are dead.”
Stooping down over the body and kissing it on both cheeks, he
continued--“To-morrow I will return and perform the last sad duty of a
friend. Look, governor, would you not think he smiles? He was such a
fine fellow--I am sure his soul has gone straight to head-quarters.”

It was almost dark, and we galloped home. The next morning my Zouave
attended the funeral of his friend, and it took so long that I did not
see him again for forty-eight hours. When he returned, he brought two
Zouaves with him, and they were all laden with trophies; among them was
an entirely new tent, which, from its very superior quality, was
supposed to have belonged to some general officer. The Zouaves had
pitched upon Prince Orloff as the owner, no doubt to increase its value.
It really was worthy of a commander-in-chief. I purchased it, and have
it still in my possession. The rest of the booty consisted of guns,
swords, church relics, &c.--in fact, all they could lay hands upon which
was likely to be converted into money. The only thing which surprised me
was, that he had returned sober. While I was reprimanding him for his
long absence, he coolly replied--

“You are right, governor; but you see, after paying the last duties to
poor Adrien, in order to drown the melancholy feeling of human
existence, I got boosy enough to make all the wine-sellers, and even old
Father Bacchus himself, turn pale. When I began to find that I could no
longer see, I said to myself, ‘Bornet, my friend, you must not disgrace
the governor’s quarters. Go to bed upon the straw like a pig as you
are.’ In ten hours my drunken fit had passed away like a vaporous cloud;
and here, governor, is your Zouave, in a fit state, ready to dance upon
a rope without a balance-pole.”

The original and comic nature of the excuse caused me to laugh at him,
instead of scolding him.

He then proposed to go in the evening and find the remaining part of
Count Orloff’s tent, spend the night in Sebastopol, and meet me the next
morning at the Greek church in the town.

All was going on well at the General Hospital. It was crammed full, and
amputations were being performed night and day. I called there daily
with some of my men, and sent the others in various directions. The next
day I visited Sebastopol, and went to the French side. I could not find
Bornet, but saw one of his friends, who told me that he had slept in the
French camp. I therefore gave him up, and determined to get rid of him
as soon as possible. After visiting the town in company with a few
friends whom I happened to meet there, we went to the Russian hospital,
which we had been told was full of dead, sick, and wounded. During the
few days that had elapsed since the capture of the city I had witnessed
many awful scenes, but this was the most harrowing of all.

Perhaps one of the most awful and sickening sights possible for humanity
to conjure up was witnessed by myself and many others in the Russian
hospital in the interior of Sebastopol. Piled up one on the other, or
lying singly on the bare flooring, were strewn hundreds of Russians,
dead and dying. The view would have struck terror into the heart of the
greatest stoic. These men seemed to have been placed here out of the way
to suffer and die, uncared for, unattended. On one side might be seen a
poor creature writhing in the last throes of dissolution; on the other,
a fine fellow with almost divine resignation, who had just rendered
himself up to his Maker, having died in dreadful agony. Men without legs
or arms, and some with frightful body wounds or bayonet thrusts, lay
huddled in helpless confusion. Desolation and death grimly met us at
each step. Then the effluvia arising from the bodies was horrible beyond



     Business suspended--Holiday-time for the cooks--Breakfast in the
     Malakhoff--Transferred to the Mamelon Vert--Attack of Crimean
     fever--Kind attentions--Relapse--An unexpected visitor and a
     conversation--Laughable incident--Trip to Scutari--Captain Brown of
     the _Imperador_--Fellow-travellers--Fame in
     America--Brigadier-General Storks--Consolations--Bornet’s
     consideration--His farewell--Soyer House--Third illness--Severe
     attack of dysentery--Recovery--Grand ball at the English
     Embassy--The Sultan attends--“Elizabeth Quadrilles”--Arrival of my
     field-stoves--Off again to the Crimea--Letters suggesting
     improvements in the hospitals.

For a few days all business seemed suspended in the camp, and the rage
with every one was to visit the ruins of the far-famed city. The
hospitals in the camp and at Balaklava were quite full, though most of
the patients were going on very satisfactorily. Much bustle was observed
at both the French and English head-quarters. As the soup was no longer
required for the soldiers in the trenches, the order for the
field-stoves remained some time in abeyance, and all appeared like
holiday time. In fact, people kept flocking, with and without
permission, into Sebastopol. Deeming this a favourable opportunity, I
proposed giving a déjeûner in the Malakhoff two days after its capture,
and cooking it with my magic bivouac-stove. Among the guests invited
were Colonels Daniell, De Bathe; Brigadier Drummond; Majors Fielden,
Armitage; Captain Tower, &c. &c. We were to muster about twelve; the
great dish was to be the _poulets sautés à la Malakhoff_, cooked on my
pocket bivouac-stove in the open air. All was prepared, and we were
about to start, when I learnt that we should not be allowed to enter the
tower. Colonel Daniell, who had some business at head-quarters,
promised to try and obtain permission. I at once went to General
Pelissier for the order, which could not be granted in his absence. I
saw General Rose, who said any other day he should be happy to make the
request. The appetites of my invited guests were sharpened and the
stomachs waiting, and they would have grumbled had they not been
satisfied. We therefore agreed that in lieu of having it in the
Malakhoff, we should make ourselves satisfied with the Mamelon Vert _à
la Carleton_; and a very jovial reunion we made of it. Alas! it was the
last I was destined to enjoy for some time.

Seven or eight days after, I was laid up with a very severe attack of
Crimean fever. Not being aware of the nature of my illness, I thought
rest was all I required, after the fatigue I had undergone: I therefore
went to bed--but what kind of bed?--under damp canvas, with a muddy
floor, as it had rained heavily for some days. I felt so ill, that I
could neither lie, sit, nor stand, without great suffering. Imagining
that I could conquer the disease, I did not send for the doctor.
Fortunately for me, a short time after my attack, as I lay in bed, Dr.
Linton, who often visited me, chanced to call at my tent. I told him of
my indisposition, and he at once sent me some medicine, more blankets,
and kindly offered his services; at the same time informing me that I
had a serious attack of fever. I was in the Coldstreams’ camp; and Dr.
Wyatt claimed me as his patient, and paid me a visit. He immediately
ordered me to keep my bed. For some days he watched my case most
diligently, and under his skilful care I soon got better. During my
illness I received visits and kind inquiries from almost all the heads
of the forces, for which I shall ever feel grateful; their attention was
most gratifying to my feelings, and I am proud of the consideration
evinced for me by that noble band, the British army.

Directly I recovered and was allowed to go about, I felt anxious to have
a decided answer respecting the stoves--for the matter was at that time
in abeyance. I also wished to visit the various regimental hospitals in
which my men were engaged teaching the soldiers. In my eagerness to
attend to these things, I overfatigued myself, and brought on a second
attack, much worse than the former. Dr. Wyatt was almost in despair, and
privately informed Mr. Mesnil that I was in great danger. However, owing
entirely to his great care and kind attention, in three weeks I had
partly recovered, but was so much altered that scarcely anybody could
recognise me. I one day visited Lord William Paulet, who had left
Scutari, and was on board the _Leander_ in Balaklava Bay. I was so much
changed, that neither Admiral Freemantle nor his lordship knew me. Miss
Nightingale had returned, and was much in want of my services. Not being
aware of my illness, she sent for me; and as soon as I recovered, I
waited upon and accompanied that lady to the Monastery Hospital. The
fatigue consequent upon my exertions brought me so low, that Dr. Wyatt
insisted upon my leaving the Crimea, saying he would not be responsible
for my safety any longer in that climate.

A few days before my departure the following laughable circumstance
occurred, which has already been related in the columns of the
_Illustrated News_ by an amateur correspondent:--


     I had an amusing adventure the other evening. A stranger visited
     me, and I entertained a late distinguished _attaché_ of the Reform
     Club unawares. It was getting dusk, and I was very tired, having
     been engaged in the hospital marquees all day--for we had a very
     sudden and violent outbreak of cholera. Phillipo, my Maltese
     servant, was down on his hands and knees, blowing the lighted
     charcoal in my fireplace, with the intention of expediting dinner.
     My fireplace, I must tell you, consists of a hole dug in the earth,
     with three pieces of iron hooping stretched across by way of grate;
     and a very admirable kitchen-range it is. Phillipo had just
     afforded me the agreeable information that dinner would not be
     ready for nearly an hour, and I was in the act of lighting my pipe,
     when I heard an unaccustomed step climbing up the rock side, close
     to my tent, and a musical and hilarious voice exclaimed, “Is Guy
     Earl of Warwick at home?” I laid down my pipe utterly astounded;
     and in another moment a hand drew aside the canvas, a head appeared
     at the entrance of my tent, and the portly figure of a man speedily
     completed the apparition. For a moment my visitor surveyed me,
     evidently as much astonished as I was. “Ah! I see, I have made one
     grand mistake!” (he spoke tolerable English, but with a decided
     French accent). “You will think me strange. I was looking for my
     old friend Warwick, and made sure this was his tent. We call him
     Guy Earl of Warwick. Ah! ah! badinage. It may be you know him?”

     By this time I had fully surveyed my visitor. He was a tall, stout,
     rather handsome-looking man, aged about fifty years. He wore a
     drab-coloured “wide-awake” wrapped round with a red scarf, and a
     white blouse, heavily braided about the sleeves. His hair had been
     black, now rapidly changing into grey; and his whiskers, moustache,
     and beard (the latter primly cut), were of the same “Oxford
     mixture.” Observing that the walk up the hill had slightly affected
     his breathing, I invited him to take a seat on one of my
     bullock-trunks, the only “ottoman” of which my Turkish tent could
     boast. (It is no slight exertion to get up to my tent, as I have
     pitched it almost at the top of a hill, in order, if possible, to
     evade the rats, which swarm in the Crimea; indeed, I scarcely know
     whether rats, flies, or fleas are the greatest nuisance.) In a few
     moments we got into conversation.

     “I am going to Balaklava shortly,” said the stranger; “I am going
     on board ship. I have been out here some few months; my health has
     been gone ever since I came. They tell me I am older ten years this
     last five months. I am going to England.”

     “And I am only waiting till this Crimean drama is over to follow
     your example,” said I. “I must see the Russians finally driven out,
     and then I go home too. As to campaigning, the curiosity which
     brought me here is gratified; as to the moving accidents of war, I
     have supped full of horrors!--But here comes Phillipo with the

     The Maltese entered, and placed upon the table a piece of beef
     baked in an iron pot, also some boiled potatoes. I observed that my
     visitor eyed the dinner curiously, and I was almost angry to
     observe the instantaneous elevation of his eyebrows, when with
     great difficulty I succeeded in whittling off with a sharp
     carving-knife a slice of the outside.

     “Nice beef, but not done quite enough,” said my visitor.

     He might well say so; it was almost raw. I stuck a fork into the
     potatoes; they were as hard as pebbles. I was in despair. The
     stranger laughed aloud. I was rapidly getting sulky.

     “I see you have a good fire outside,” said my visitor; “that
     charcoal gives a beautiful heat. Now, if you will take my advice, I
     should say, cut a slice or two----“

     “Excuse me,” I replied, “but if there is one thing more than
     another that I pride myself on, it is my cooking. I can cook with
     any fellow in the Crimea, perhaps excepting Soyer; and some people
     say that he is a great humbug.”

     “Do they indeed?” said he. “Well, he must be rather a clever humbug
     to sell 40,000 of his books.”

     “I must confess,” I said, “that his shilling Cookery-book is a
     great invention. I have made many capital dishes by its direction.
     The fact is, I generally superintend the cooking myself.”

     “And your politeness to me has spoiled your dinner. Now look here.”

     And, almost before I could interpose a word, my potatoes were in
     slices, a large onion was dissected piecemeal, my beef was
     submitted to the knife, a pinch or two of ration salt and pepper
     completed the preparations, and my little canteen-pan was on the
     fire. I looked on, regarding these proceedings with much
     astonishment, and not a little jealousy. After a few minutes the
     stranger gave the pan a graceful wave or two over the fire, and
     then replaced it on the table. There was a dinner fit for
     Sardanapalus! Never shall I forget the elegant curl of that steam,
     or the exquisite odour which soon pervaded the atmosphere of my
     tent. I could not help thinking of and half excusing a certain
     hairy man who lived in the first ages, and who for just such a mess
     of potage disposed of his estates.

     “How do you like it?” said the stranger.

     “Don’t talk at present,” I answered; “I consider dinner one of the
     most serious duties of life.”

     “Ah! ah! then you would not call Soyer a humbug to make this?”

     “Soyer!” I said in disdain--“Soyer never made or invented a dish
     half as good in his life! Talk about French slops in comparison
     with prime English beef and onions! Bah!”

     I was carried away by my enthusiasm, and quite forgot that I was at
     that moment eating part of the carcase of a wretched Armenian
     beast, that would not have fetched 50s. in an English market. At
     last dinner was over.

     “One more glass of sherry,” said the stranger, “and then I go. I am
     very glad to have made your acquaintance, and I hope you will come
     and see me when you come down to Balaklava. I shall be on board the
     ship _Edward_ in the bay. I am going to stop there a little time
     for my health. Come on board and ask for me.”

     “With very great pleasure--and your name?”

     “Oh! my name--_Soyer_,” said he; and he sat down and laughed till
     the tears stood in his eyes.

W. C.

Soon after I left Balaklava for Scutari on board the _Imperador_,
Captain Brown. His humorous countenance would alone have sufficed to
restore the gaiety of the most shattered constitution, setting aside his
good-nature and continual kindness to his numerous passengers,
particularly the invalids. What visitor to the Crimea has not known or
heard of Captain Brown of the _Imperador_? His heart was as large as his
ship, and his mind as brilliant as his gorgeous saloon: moreover, his
table was worthy of any yachting epicure. He was in every way a credit
to that noble class of men, the pet children of the ocean, the captain’s
kingly race. At the time of my trip he was an invalid, having broken two
of his ribs; but he did not consider the case a serious one, and
consoled himself by saying this accident was nothing compared with the
one he had met with a few months before. “Then,” said he, laughing, “I
actually fell into the coal-hole, and broke my collar bone; and (showing
his lame arm) I shall be lame for life through it. However, these broken
ribs are nearly set again, and I shall soon be well. But pray do not
make me laugh--come, let us have another glass of port,” closed his
argument. (This was cheese-time dialogue.)

We had a fine passage, as well as agreeable companions in the
passengers, amongst whom were three American gentlemen just returning
from Russia. They were in Sebastopol during the storming on the 8th of
September, and had been sent by their Government upon important duty.
Owing to my weakness at the time, I have forgotten the purport of their
mission. They had been introduced to the Emperor Alexander, and spoke in
high terms of his Majesty’s courtesy. They had come from America in
their own ship, which was at that time in the Bosphorus undergoing
repairs. I was invited to dine with them some day, which I promised to
do, but was not able to keep my promise, in consequence of my continued
illness. “The dinner,” said one of them, “shall be cooked _à la_ Soyer,
for we have your book on board--the one called the _Modern Housewife_.”

I felt much flattered when they afterwards told me that my book was very
extensively used in America. “Your Cookery-book, Monsieur Soyer, is the
national book, or ‘household words.’ Every respectable family has it.
Indeed, you are as well known by reputation in America as in England.
Take this for a standing invitation. Should you ever come as far as our
American land of freedom, we invite you to be our guest.”

At this I was highly gratified, and almost promised, if I recovered, to
accept their invitation. At all events, in case I should not go, I take
this opportunity of thanking them heartily for their kind invitation, in
hopes that this book, like its predecessors, will cross the Atlantic,
and come under their notice.

To me everything on board the magnificent ship _Imperador_ wore a
smiling aspect, and I began to feel myself again. I no sooner arrived at
Scutari, than I went and visited Brigadier-General Storks, with whom I
had not the pleasure of being acquainted. He had succeeded Lord William
Paulet. I was kindly received by the general. He congratulated me in
flattering terms upon the good system I had introduced into the kitchen
department of the hospitals, of which he was at that time the governor.
I felt myself quite at home with the general, who, though an Englishman,
could have taught me my own language. He certainly spoke it more
fluently than I did myself: I had been so long in England, and had,
moreover, employed so many people of different nations--Greeks,
Armenians, Turks, French, Italians; and I must not omit two Maltese,
who, to render them justice, were worth all my other cooks put together
for intelligence and activity--that I began to forget my native tongue.
My readers can easily suppose that, amidst such a miscellany of
languages, one might easily murder one’s own. General Storks is not only
a good French scholar, but has all the tournure and appearance of the
French _beau idéal_. After about half-an-hour’s chat upon business and
other matters, I left the general, and promised to have the pleasure of
visiting him frequently during my stay in Scutari, which was to be about
a week--it being then my intention to return to England to regain my

I visited my first Crimean doctor, Dr. Linton, who had left the Crimea
to replace Dr. Cumming. He would hardly condescend to know me, so much
had I altered; and I found this to be the case with every one I met. I
frightened my cooks when I entered the kitchen. They had heard that I
was dead, which I afterwards personally denied; but they did not think
it possible I could look so bad. Purveyors, comptrollers, civilian and
military doctors, Sisters of Mercy, all consoled me by saying, “I fear
you will never get over it, Monsieur Soyer.”

“Well,” I replied to some of them, “that’s my business; at all events, I
will do my best to deceive you.”

Nothing is less likely to restore a man when he is half dead than trying
to persuade him that he must succumb. Thanks to my lucky star, I have
deceived them all; and some richly deserve it, as they had laid bets
upon my chance, particularly my Zouave and another of my men. The former
answered all inquiries respecting the state of my health by, “The
governor, you see, is in a very bad way. His hash is settled; it is all
over with him. It is a pity, for he is a good man, and he had promised
to take me with him to London, a place I very much wish to visit.”

A few days after my arrival in Constantinople my health again failed me,
and having no further need for the services of my Zouave, to his great
regret we parted, but on such friendly terms, that he afterwards often
observed, “Look ye, governor, you have been a good master to me, and if
you ever recover from your serious illness, which is not very probable,
send for me--I am still your man, and will follow you anywhere and
everywhere, even to England; and if any fellow annoys you, here is the
arm (showing it to the shoulder) which will make them bleed to death and
bury them after.”

I took up my residence at Soyer House, where I enjoyed the gay and
interesting prospect for an invalid of the monster lugubrious cemetery,
or Grand Champ des Morts, on one side, and the hospital on the other.
The weather was wet and wretched--the house, as usual, splendidly
ventilated, and had been robbed of its furniture by a Greek servant I
had left there. It was, moreover, populated by rats and other vermin.
Before I could set it in order, I fell ill for the third time, and had,
in addition to my former malady, a severe attack of dysentery. I left my
dismal abode, now become unbearable, crossed the Bosphorus to Pera, and
took up my lodgings at an hotel for a few days, as I then anticipated,
having determined upon my departure for England. However, instead of
improving in health, I grew worse and worse, and was laid up for three
months; in fact, I began to fear my Zouave would win his wager. During
this time, I received notice that the order had been given for four
hundred stoves, which were to be forwarded as fast as they could be
made. I therefore decided upon remaining at Constantinople, in the hope
of being able, in the event of getting better, of returning to the
Crimea, and distributing them to the different regiments.

One day I had crossed over to Scutari, in order to visit Miss
Nightingale, who had just arrived from Balaklava, when I met the
celebrated Dr. Sutherland, who, like the rest, gave me a very
encouraging view of his scientific opinion upon the state of my health.
“For God’s sake, Soyer,” said he, “do leave this country, and go
immediately to Malta--not England--or you are a dead man.”

“Not so, doctor,” I replied; “I am much better these last few days. In
fact, I am going back to the Crimea; my stoves are expected daily, and I
must go and distribute them.”

“In that case, don’t forget to take your tombstone with you.”

“A very interesting thing to do, doctor; but I shall chance the voyage
for all that, if I improve; and as to the tombstone, I shall leave that
to friendly hands in case it is required.”

I thanked him for the valuable medical advice he had given me, as well
as the suggestion of a visit to Malta. I left my German doctor, Mr.
Morris, a very eminent man I believe, but his German style of treatment
did not seem to agree with my John Bull constitution. I had no sooner
left him and adopted the English style of treatment, (and here I cannot
refrain from expressing my thanks to a young medical gentleman named
Ambler, who was most assiduous in his kind attentions to me, and through
following his prescriptions, which were very strengthening, I ultimately
recovered,) and was able to cook nice things for myself, instead of
starving _à l’Allemande_ upon a rigorous diet, than I regained strength
enough to go about and look to business, and even to ride from hospital
to hospital--go to the Isles des Princes, Therapia, Buyukderé, &c., for
change of air, and was at last strong enough to accept the following
invitation to the grand ball at the English Embassy:--

     La Vicomtesse Stratford de Redcliffe prie Monsieur Soyer de venir
     passer chez elle la soirée de Jeudi, 31 Janvier, à 10 heures.

     _Bal Costumé._

This grand annual festival, so eagerly looked for by the fashionables of
Pera and Constantinople, presented this year quite a new phase. In
addition to the usual diplomatic corps of the various nations
represented by their ambassadors and their noble families, there were
the _élite_ of the Allied armies. The full-dress costumes of the
diplomatic corps, as well as those of the military men, intermixed with
hundreds of exquisite fancy costumes, formed a ravishing _tout

Such an assemblage of members of all nations probably never met beneath
the same roof, and very likely never will again--the advent of the war
being the cause. The greatest attraction of the ball was the assemblage
of ladies in their brilliant costumes. Independent of those from the
various embassies, were French, English, German, Greek, Armenian,
Italian, and Circassian ladies--in fact, all nations except the one the
ball was given to, viz., Turkish ladies, the only lady in that Oriental
costume turning out to be a colonel of cavalry. At an early hour, the
magnificent ball-room, which is lit from the roof by thousands of wax
lights, was full. At nine precisely the cannon was heard announcing the
arrival of the Sultan at the Palais d’Angleterre. The _coup-d’œil_
was really fairylike, upon the entrance of his Majesty and suite, the
latter attired in full uniforms, which could not fail to astonish the
most initiated eye by the gorgeous display of gold, jewels, and
diamonds, coupled with the idea that such a scene had never before been
witnessed except on high Turkish festivals, which are even more solemn
than our grand ceremonies. Upon this occasion were assembled all the
grandees and chief Turkish officers, attired in their sacred festival
uniforms, with a smile upon their countenances, instead of the usual
stolid and serious cast of features so peculiar to the Moslem during
their grand ceremonies. His Sublime Majesty was nobly though plainly
attired, and shone above his suite by his magnificent simplicity.

Lord Stratford de Redcliffe met the Sultan at the foot of the great
marble staircase, that architectural _chef-d’œuvre_ of the Palais
d’Angleterre; and her ladyship and family, surrounded by her noble
circle, received him at the summit. His Majesty, with great affability,
expressed through Lord de Redcliffe the gratification he felt at being
presented to her ladyship and her numerous visitors. He was shown
through the various saloons, which were brilliantly illuminated and
profusely decorated with choice flowers: they were all crowded. The
expression of his Majesty’s countenance showed that he took the most
vivid interest in the novel scene witnessed by him for the first time.
The ladies’ fancy dresses were in exquisite taste, particularly the
“Elizabeth Quadrilles,” led by Lady de Redcliffe and the young ladies,
forming a perfect representation in _tableau vivant_ of the Elizabethan
period, brilliantly executed. The costumes most to be admired in that
assemblage of aristocratic beauty were, the Pompadour, Ninon de
l’Enclos, ancient Greek, Circassian, Roman peasant, Albanaise,
Catalanaise, and Pierrettes.

All the gentlemen, except the diplomatic and high military corps, were
in fancy character, which gave a cheerful appearance and _ensemble_ to
the ball; and the Sultan, prior to his departure, expressed to Lord and
Lady de Redcliffe the gratification he felt at witnessing such a lively

Towards five in the morning, its dazzling grandeur had disappeared, and
very forcibly presented to some of us the reverse of the medal. To a
mild evening succeeded a most tempestuous and cold morning: snow fell
heavily in the Oriental city. The change of temperature was so sudden
and violent, that one might have fancied oneself transferred by
enchantment from summer to winter, or from Paradise to Pandemonium. The
sudden change of scene and temperature presented a sad contrast to the
mind. A few friends accompanied me who were, like myself, very lightly
clad, being in character, and we had to go home in that storm of snow on
foot. On reflection, I felt that I had acted very imprudently in going
at all, in the state I was then in, and that it might prove fatal to me.
“After all,” said I to my friends, who, like myself, were floundering
about in the snow, by that time six inches deep in some places, “I
should very much regret not having been, no matter what may be the
consequences. To be present at an entertainment which the Padischah for
the first time had honoured with his presence, viz., a Christian ball,
is far from being a common thing.”

We reached our hotel door as wet as frogs, the movements of which
reptile we had been for some time imitating by jumping from tombstone to
tombstone in the Petit Champ des Morts, that being our nearest road
home. The door was opened, after we had knocked about twenty times.
Nevertheless, we had no reason to be dull or impatient, as there was
defiling before us the everlasting caravan of donkeys laden with coffins
for the daily consumption of the French hospital at Pera. Never,
perhaps, upon any stage was there such a sudden change from the sublime
to the gloomy. The door at last opened, and we were saluted with a “Very
sorry, gentlemen, to keep you waiting, but we did not expect you so
early.” It was only half-past six A.M.

I made sure that I should be ill after such a series of events, and,
wishing to be quiet, I gave special orders that no one should be
permitted to disturb me, excepting the doctor, who was in the habit of
calling occasionally. I had scarcely fallen asleep, when I was aroused
by a knock at the door, and a letter was put into my hands apprising me
that part of my stoves had arrived. I was, therefore, obliged to rise
immediately and to go in person to the Admiralty, as my head man had
left for Scutari the night before. The steamer was on its way to
Balaklava, and the captain did not know what he was to do with them. I
immediately wrote to Colonel Blane at head-quarters upon the subject,
and received the following letter in reply:--

HEAD-QUARTERS, CRIMEA, _19th March, 1856_.

     SIR,--In reply to your letter of the 13th inst., I am directed to
     acquaint you that the new field-stoves will not be issued by
     Captain Gordon until he receives instructions to that effect from
     the Quartermaster-General. Lieut.-Colonel Halliwell, Assistant
     Quartermaster-General of the Fourth Division, will give you, on
     your arrival in the Crimea, every information as to the hut which
     was directed to be built for your use in the camp of the Fourth

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,
ROBERT BLANE, Lieut.-Col.,
_Military Secretary_.

Monsieur A. Soyer,
Barrack Hospital, Scutari.

The exertion I had undergone for nearly twenty-four hours, I fully
expected would have laid me up for as many days. On the contrary,
however, I felt as strong again as the day before the ball, and to this
event alone I attribute my cure. This proves that a sudden change may
often be beneficial in cases of violent disease. In a few days I once
more embarked on board the _Ottowa_, and was again _en route_ to the
Crimean shore, but received the following letter from Lord de Redcliffe
before leaving:--

BRITISH EMBASSY, _February 20th, 1856_.

     DEAR MONSIEUR SOYER,--I cannot let you go back to the Crimea, which
     I understand you think of doing, without receiving my written
     thanks, in addition to those which I have already expressed by word
     of mouth.

     It must be a great satisfaction to you to have found so excellent a
     field for the application of your skill and humanity; and I
     sincerely hope that your name will be never dissociated from the
     great and memorable events of the present war.

Believe me, very sincerely yours,

Monsieur A. Soyer.

Prior to my departure, to my great satisfaction, the Medical Staff Corps
were well established in the Barrack and General Hospitals, these being
the only ones remaining. All the responsibility of the culinary
department in those establishments was thus taken off my hands, as the
Medical Staff were well acquainted with my system, which was followed to
the last.

The following letters which I wrote to the Government and General Storks
will prove the necessity that exists for the establishment of such a
corps for military hospitals; and it ought to be established by every

_To General Storks, Commanding Officer._

BARRACK HOSPITAL, SCUTARI, _March 11th, 1856_.

     MONS. LE GENERAL,--My field-stoves for the army, so long expected,
     having just arrived; in a few days I shall proceed to the Crimea to
     distribute them to the different regiments, as per special orders
     from the War-office.

     Prior to my departure hence, I am happy to inform you that the
     Medical Staff Corps is now instructed by Victor, the civilian cook,
     in the management of the kitchen department of the hospital under
     the new system introduced by me and approved of by the medical
     authorities, which up to this time (a period of twelve months) has
     perfectly succeeded.

     As I shall require Victor with me in the Crimea, I shall leave the
     future management in the hands of the said corps: I would recommend
     its introduction in all the military hospitals, it being of the
     utmost importance for the regularity of the diet for the sick, that
     the _employés_, when once initiated, should not be removed, as was
     the case with the soldier cooks, and which removal was much
     commented upon by myself and Dr. Cumming on my arrival at Scutari,
     and induced me to introduce civilian cooks. The introduction of the
     new corps will also tend to the regularity and economy of the
     extra-diet system, which is a matter of great importance in so
     large an establishment, and has till now been attended with
     difficulty, as the civilian cooks could not be subjected to the
     rigid discipline of the new corps.

     I feel myself in duty bound to say that Mr. Robertson, the
     purveyor-in-chief, has assisted me in every way to bring the system
     to the state of perfection in which it now is; which system I am
     confident will, by the introduction of my printed receipts, be
     adopted at home in the civil as well as military hospitals--it
     having been submitted to both military and civilian medical
     officers, who have approved the same, and also assisted me with
     their valuable knowledge and suggestions in its formation.

     With the highest consideration, I have the honour to be,

Your most obedient servant,

_To the Right Hon. Lord Panmure, Secretary-at-War._

BARRACK HOSPITAL, SCUTARI, _March 11th, 1856_.

     MY LORD,--The ship _Cape of Good Hope_, with the first consignment
     of my stoves on board, has just passed through the Bosphorus to
     Balaklava, and, to my great disappointment, without stopping here;
     as I was in daily expectation of her arrival in order to proceed in
     her to the Crimea, and distribute them to the different regiments,
     having with that view requested from the Admiralty-office, and the
     wharf-master at Scutari, notice of her arrival. I have just been
     apprised that the ship was ordered direct for Balaklava, and I
     shall follow her as early as possible. I have written to
     head-quarters to that effect, and beg to enclose the copy of a
     letter to General Storks, in which your lordship will perceive how
     highly I approve of the introduction of the new Medical Staff

I have the honour to be,

Your most obedient servant,



     Excellent quality of the stoves--Mr. Phillips--Strange way of
     repairing--Interview with General Codrington--installed on
     Cathcart’s Hill--Gourmet and gourmand--Lessons to the
     soldier-cooks--Receipt to cook salt meat for fifty men--Army soup
     for fifty men--Success of my stoves--The grand
     breakfast--Guests--Economy--Use of the fat--General Garrett’s
     testimony--Giving-parties mania--Invitations--My first
     dinner--Amusements--General Lüders’s invitation to the Allied
     Commanders--Scene on the Mackenzie
     Heights--Fraternization--Hospitality of the Tartar families.

I thus had the opportunity of taking my civilian cooks away with me, as
I wanted their services in the Crimea. Upon my arrival at Balaklava, I
paid my respects to General Codrington. My stoves had arrived just
before, and the fact of their having been adopted was mentioned in the
orders of the day.

Mr. Phillips, the engineer I had requested the Government to send out to
superintend or repair the stoves if required, arrived on board the
_Argo_. I am happy to say that, as far as repairs were concerned, this
gentleman’s services were not needed. Although the stoves were
frequently moved from camp to camp, and from one regiment to
another--were in continual use in the open air, exposed to all weathers,
and some of them for above twelve months, they did not stand in need of
any repairs. This fact speaks volumes for their fitness for campaigning.

Mr. Phillips was the son of one of the partners of the firm of Smith and
Phillips. He had nothing to do professionally as regards the repairing
of the stoves, but I must acknowledge that he made himself very useful
as well as agreeable. He rose very early, and accompanied me in my camp
cruises, racing from stove to stove. He woke at daybreak, but always
felt rather drowsy till he had taken a strong cup of tea, with a
stronger drop of rum in it, which set him, as he said, upon his mettle.
He then mounted his horse, which had gloriously served his country for
nearly fourteen years in the French cavalry under a heavy cuirassier.
The only inconvenience with this warrior quadruped was that my cockney
Zouave was never sure which regiment he should visit first, as he was no
sooner on the back of this old pensioner, than he began to fidget, and
off he went in any direction, but always stopped at some regimental
stable. This did not so much matter, as I had stoves in almost every
regiment. The only plan was to make no positive appointment.

On two or three occasions he was less successful, for
_Ventre-à-terre_--such was the French name of that Pegasus--took him
full gallop through the French camp. The first inconvenience was my
having no stove there; the second, the French had arrested him for
galloping through the camp, and were about to put his horse in the pound
and himself in prison. I arrived quite by chance, and he was liberated.
As he spoke no French, he was endeavouring to assure them in English
that he was not the culprit, but his horse. I explained the case to the
French sergeant, and recommended, as a point of justice, as it was the
animal’s fault, that he should be put in the stable and the horse in
prison. This amused the group of Imperial Guards, who surrounded us by
scores, and a few bottles of very, very acid wine, procured at Madame
Fleur des Bois’, the mistress of the canteen, terminated in full glee
the adventure of my cockney Zouave of Snow-hill in the French camp of
the Crimea.

Mr. Phillips was an excellent vocalist, and his collection, unlike that
of my Zouave Bornet, with his “En avant les Bataillons d’Afrique,”
“Storm of Constantine,” “Bravest of the Brave,” “Cannon Ball,” “Shell
Polka,” &c., was of a softer nature, including “Sally in our Alley,”
who, he pretended, was the love of his heart. Another of his favourite
pieces intimated that the soft part of that organ was bursting for the
love of Alice Gray, whom he very much wished to meet by moonlight alone,
or in company with the “Ratcatcher’s Daughter,” while walking round the
garden with “Villikins and his Dinah.” I am induced thus minutely to
depict the merits of my Snow-hill Zouave, because he will be so well
recognised by those who were in the camp. He was short, fair, fat, and
full of London jokes, which he had the fault of laughing at more himself
than those did who listened to him. He is a good son, good husband, good
father, a good fellow, but a bad punster.

The chief evil in the old canteen cooking apparatus was, that it so
easily got out of repair. There was no possibility either of mending
them or of obtaining new ones, as they were only issued at certain
periods. I saw some that had been mended in a most extraordinary style.
When the hole was too small, the soldiers would poke a rusty nail into
it; if large, a nail with a piece of leather attached. Other operators
would cut a piece off the cover in order to mend the bottom or side; and
as after that scientific repair leakage was unavoidable, they were
obliged to keep putting in fresh water, or to let the canteen burn.

After our interview, General Codrington promised me his assistance. The
Congress was then sitting, and rumours of peace were flying about. I
asked the general whether it would not be better to prevent more stoves
being sent out. He replied--

“Perhaps it would.”

“I am glad to hear you say so, your excellency, it being a sign of
peace, as war I consider at all times unprofitable.”

“On the contrary, Monsieur Soyer; we are making greater preparations
than ever for war.”

It was decided that, for the time being, one stove should be delivered
to each regiment, and be removed from company to company, in order to
give all the men an insight into the method of using them, and of my
system of cooking. This was immediately done; and on the receipt of the
following from Colonel Blane, I went to Colonel Halliwell:--


Taken unexpectedly by a Non-Commissioned Artist in the Rifle Brigade.]


     MY DEAR SIR,--By applying to Colonel Halliwell of the Fourth
     Division, he will give you possession of the hut which has been
     built for yourself and suite, and will assist you in every manner

I am, yours ever,

S. J. BLANE, Col.,

_Mil. Sec. to Gen. Sir W. Codrington, Commanding_.

To Monsieur Soyer.

In a very short space of time my tents were pitched, and myself and my
people were installed, on that celebrated spot called after that great
and deeply-regretted man, General Cathcart--viz., Cathcart’s Hill.

This was now my castle, and proud was I of the noble site granted to me,
as well as of my neighbours, from whom I received a most kind and
friendly reception. Indeed, it was with the highest gratification that I
found in the Fourth Division the same welcome and urbanity I had
received in the First. I shall ever be grateful to Colonel Halliwell,
who, by the bye, is a very distinguished artist and a discriminating
epicure. Excuse the remark, dear reader, but a man, as I have already
remarked in my _Regenerator_, may be either a gourmet or a gourmand, but
never both: “car le gourmand n’est jamais gourmet; l’un mange sans
déguster, l’autre déguste en mangeant.” The gourmet is the Epicurean
dilettante, who eats scientifically and with all his organs--ears, of
course, included. The gourmand’s stomach alone acts; he swallows all
that is put before him, never praises the culinary artist, and seldom
complains of the quality of the food, but frequently of the want of

Therefore, gourmets, epicures, high-livers, and wealthy merchants, who
are gifted with a fine intellect, never allow yourselves to be called a
gourmand if you are really deserving of the title of gourmet--and this
title I confidently bestow upon my honourable friend Colonel Halliwell,
who was not only a gourmet, but also a very good amateur cook. I defy
any one to make a better mayonnaise, not even excepting professionals.

The plan I had adopted for the introduction of my stoves was as
follows:--I first had an interview with the colonel of the regiment,
who introduced me to the quartermaster--the latter to the storekeeper.
Then I went to the commissariat in each division, where I looked over
the stores, in order to regulate the distribution of the provisions and
condiments with judgment and according to common sense.[22]

To remedy this evil in a private family would only require a few
minutes’ conversation with the cook; while in an army it would take
years, as military rules would have to be changed and fresh ones
introduced. Simple as the change may appear, it is still very difficult
to carry out, particularly in a camp extending over such a large space
of ground. Fortunately, I was invested with the power of doing so
without troubling the authorities: nevertheless, it was only by the
following plan that I succeeded. To effect this very important object,
as well as to introduce my new system, I devoted an hour to attend in
person and give the first lesson myself to the soldier-cooks. As the
colonel, quartermaster, and a serjeant were present, besides many
officers as lookers-on, a great impression was thus created upon the
men, who immediately saw the importance of following my instructions. I
supplied the cooks with receipts printed at head-quarters, which gave
them quite an official appearance. The annexed specimen will give an
idea of their simplicity, and of the facility with which they might be


HEAD-QUARTERS, CRIMEA, _12th May, 1856_.

  1. Put 50 lbs. of meat in the boiler.
  2. Fill with water, and let it soak all night.
  3. Next morning wash the meat well.
  4. Fill with fresh water, and boil gently three hours.

     P.S.--Skim off the fat, which, when cold, is an excellent
     substitute for butter.


  1. Put in the boiler 30 quarts, 7½ gallons, or 5½ camp-kettles of water.
  2. Add to it 50 lbs. of meat, either beef or mutton.
  3. The rations of preserved or fresh vegetables.
  4. Ten small table-spoonfuls of salt.
  5. Simmer three hours, and serve.

     P.S.--When rice is issued, put it in when boiling. Three pounds
     will be sufficient. About 8 lbs. of fresh vegetables, or 4 squares
     from a cake of preserved ditto. A table-spoonful of pepper, if

     Skim off the fat, which, when cold, is an excellent substitute for
     butter.[23] (For other variations of receipts, see Addenda.)

Thanks to the kindness of the colonels and of the authorities of each
regiment, every man did his best, and not one found fault with either
the stoves or the receipts: on the contrary, they all took pride in
their task, and only regretted being compelled to return to the use of
the camp-kettles, as sufficient of my stoves had not then arrived to
enable me to supply them all. The cooking out of doors was also very
agreeable to them, besides the saving of labour, in not having to cut,
split, or saw several hundredweight of wood for each company, as they
now only required a few pounds.

Having proved the utility of the stoves, the military authorities and
doctors tasted the different soups and messes, with which they were also
well pleased. The following letters, with those in Addenda,[24] will
fully corroborate my statement on both these points:--

WAR-OFFICE, _June 8th, 1855_.

     SIR,--I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
     the 11th ultimo, reporting your arrival at Balaklava, and the steps
     taken by you for improving the condition of the kitchens and
     cooking arrangements of the hospitals there; and to acquaint you,
     that your account of your proceedings and progress is very

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur Soyer,
The _Robert Lowe_,
Balaklava Harbour, Crimea.

WAR OFFICE, _19th September, 1855_.

     SIR,--I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
     the 6th ultimo, enclosing a copy of your arrangements at Scutari
     prior to your leaving for the Crimea, and to convey to you the
     thanks of the Secretary-at-War for that very satisfactory

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur A. Soyer,


WAR DEPARTMENT, _20th October, 1855_.

     SIR,--I am directed to convey to you his lordship’s thanks for your
     communications of the 8th and 22nd September, and 2nd instant;
     and, in reply, to inform you, that on your recommendation his
     lordship has sanctioned an order for 400 stoves to be manufactured
     by Messrs. Smith and Phillips, of Snow Hill, London; and has given
     direction that every exertion be used to despatch them at as early
     a period as possible.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur Soyer,


WAR DEPARTMENT, _7th December, 1855_.

     SIR,--With reference to your letters of the 10th and 14th November,
     I am directed to acquaint you that Lord Panmure has pleasure in
     affording you the facilities you desire in making another visit to
     the Crimea for the purpose of seeing that a proper use is made of
     the cooking stoves which have been ordered to be sent out.

     His lordship has written to Sir W. Codrington, instructing him to
     allow you the use of a hut, and to extend to you the same
     advantages which you were afforded under Sir James Simpson’s
     command; but I am to add, that up to the present time, none of the
     stoves have been actually dispatched, although it is expected that
     a portion of them will be ready very shortly.

     You must exercise your own discretion, therefore, as to the time
     for your proceeding to the Crimea.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur Soyer,

WAR DEPARTMENT, _25th April, 1856_.

     SIR,--I am directed by Lord Panmure to acknowledge the receipt of
     your letter dated 31st March, and to express his lordship’s
     pleasure in learning that the cooking arrangements which you have
     introduced in the hospitals at Scutari have answered so perfectly.

     Lord Panmure approves of your presenting one of the stoves to
     Marshal Pelissier, provided you previously obtain the concurrence
     of Sir W. Codrington.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur Alexis Soyer,

WAR DEPARTMENT, _6th June, 1856_.

     SIR,--I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
     the 6th ultimo, reporting the success of your field-stoves in the
     Crimea, and enclosing two receipts for the preparation of food for
     the army, and to express Lord Panmure’s satisfaction thereon.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Monsieur Soyer, &c.,

After having started them in person, I sent my cooks every morning on
their rounds to see if the men followed my instructions, and I visited
each regiment daily. The hospitals, thank God, were at this time almost
empty. When a division had made use of the stoves about a week, I
requested the general commanding that division to inquire of the
colonel, officers, and men, their opinion of the results of my labours;
and in that manner I acquired the above-mentioned numerous letters of
commendation, having in my possession many others, but space will not
allow of their insertion.

One of the days on which salt rations were issued, I requested General
Garrett to go round his division and ask the men what they did with the
fat. This he very kindly did, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Major
Dallas. The first cook we visited, in the 18th Regiment, had rations for
94 men (the whole of his company). They were being cooked in one stove:
the two stoves for the same quantity would have been much better, as the
more water the meat is boiled in, the more salt is extracted from it.
The boiler was filled to the brim, the contents simmering gently: the
meat was beautifully cooked. There were about four inches of clear fat,
as sweet as butter, floating on the top. The stove was in the open air,
and the cook only burnt from ten to fifteen pounds of wood (or hardly so
much) to cook for that number--viz., the whole of his company. The
allowance of wood had been reduced from 4½lbs. to 3½lbs. per man
daily. The advent of peace gave me a full opportunity of thoroughly
instructing the men, and thus I was enabled firmly to establish my new
system. The saving in wood alone, supposing each company to consist of
one hundred men, would, at the former rate of allowance, amount to
450lbs. per company per diem, allowing 25lbs. for cooking, which is
ample. This in a regiment of eight companies would make a daily saving
of 3600lbs. of wood, independent of the economy of transport, mules,
labour, &c. In an army of forty thousand men, it would amount to the
immense figure of 180,000lbs., or 90 tons, per day saved to the
Government, or 32,850 tons per annum.

General Garrett asked the man what he was going to do with the fat.

“Throw it away, general,” was the answer.

“Throw it away!--why?” said the General.

“I don’t know, sir, but we always do.”

“Why not use it?”--“The men don’t like it, sir.”

I observed that when the salt meat was cooked in the small canteen pans,
the fat was lost for want of the necessary quantity of water to allow it
to rise to the surface, as well as to purify it of the salt. Asking the
man for a leaden spoon and a tin can, I removed the fat as I had before
done in the Guards’ camp. On weighing it the next day, I found upwards
of 14lbs. of beautiful clean and sweet dripping, fit for use as
described in the receipts. Thus about 800lbs. of this were wasted weekly
by each regiment--salt rations being issued four days a week.

General Garrett expressed a decided opinion that my apparatus was much
superior to the old canteen pan, and gave me a letter, which I append in
the Addenda.

The signature of the treaty of peace changed all the proceedings in the
camp, except mine; for in anticipation of the distribution of the
remainder of the stoves among the various regiments in the camps at
Aldershot barracks, &c., as well as to those on foreign stations, I
continued my daily course of instruction, in order that the men, upon
arrival at home or elsewhere, might be well acquainted with their use,
and be able to impart their knowledge to others. I have since hit upon a
plan by which I shall introduce an oven and steamer, and thus do all
that is required to vary the cooking of the daily meals in barracks--a
subject of great importance.

War having ceased, the camp bore the appearance of a monster
banqueting-hall. “We have done fighting,” said every one, “so let us
terminate the campaign by feasting, lay down our victorious but
murderous weapons, and pick up those more useful and restorative
arms--the knife and fork.”

All appeared to have caught a giving-parties mania. You could scarcely
meet a friend or even a slight acquaintance without being apostrophized
by, “When will you dine with me?” as regularly as though it had been
inserted in the order of the day. The first invitation I received was
from the witty General Barnard, who so generously entertained his
friends, under the superintendence of his major-domo, Captain Barnard
(the gallant general’s son). A good table, good wine, and plenty of
everything, or at least the best that could be obtained, were provided;
and no less than five times had I the honour of being invited to enjoy
the noble general’s good cheer. Next came invitations from my noble
friend and neighbour, General Garrett, Lord W. Paulet, Colonel de Bathe,
Colonel Peel, Major Fielden, Lord Vane, Lord Dunkellin, and the great
epicure of epicures, Colonel Haley, of the 47th, &c., &c.; to each and
all of whom I cannot but feel grateful--not alone for their liberal
welcome, but also for the honour of having been admitted to their

I could do no less than return the compliment, which was of course
expected from me, the Gastronomic Regenerator. The first dinner I gave
was honoured by the presence of the following gentlemen--viz., Lord
William Paulet, Gen. Garrett, Gen. Wyndham, Gen. Barnard, Col.
Halliwell, Col. R. Campbell (90th), Col. Haley (47th), Major Earle,
Major Dallas, Captain Barnard, &c.

The bill of fare was as follows:--

                        Potage à la Codrington.
                 Filet de turbot clouté à la Balaklava.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                   Quartier de mouton à la bretonne.
                        Poulets à la tartarine.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                     Queues de bœuf à la ravigotte.
                 Cotelettes de mouton à la vivandière.
                Rissolettes de volaille à la Pelissier.
              Filet de bœuf pique mariné, sauce poivrade.

                   *       *       *       *       *

               La mayonnaise à la russe, garnis de cavea.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                    Les plum-puddings à la Cosaque.
                   Les haricots verds à la poulette.
                      Les gelées de citron garni.
                        Les croutes à l’abricot.

                    La bombe glacé à la Sebastopol.

                   *       *       *       *       *


Les anchoix--sardines--lamproies à l’huile--mortadelle
de Vérone--olives farcies--thon--cornichons à

Though there was nothing very _recherché_ in the dinner, it met with the
approval of all the guests. The appearance of my humble but
originally-decorated hut, profusely lit up with wax lights, and a rather
nicely laid-out table, surrounded by military men of high standing, in
their various uniforms, was exceedingly novel. The occasion formed quite
an epoch in my life, and I shall probably never again have the honour of
entertaining such a distinguished circle under similar circumstances.
Encouraged by this my first success, I felt in duty bound to continue
the series of these _petites fêtes Anacréontiques_, at which were
assembled wit, mirth, good appetite, and delightful harmony. Amateur
artistes of no little note, who had emerged triumphant from the murky
atmosphere produced by the incessant bombardment of Sebastopol, were
there. By their exertions the barriers of freedom and civilization were
opened to all, and the autocrat Czar was compelled to submit. Those who
but a few days before had been enemies were now friends. In fact, the
war had ceased, and peace, that mother of sociability, offered her
delights freely to all. Care seemed banished from every brow, excepting
the sincere regret devoted to the memory of those brave men who had so
nobly died for the glory of their country. In addition to the theatres,
which had amused the camp throughout the winter, madrigal and glee clubs
were instituted. At one of my _petits dîners_ (at which the filet de
bœuf pique mariné was duly discussed and highly praised by my
Epicurean guests) the leader of the madrigal club, Colonel de Bathe,
proposed that, as I had the largest and most convenient hut for the
purpose, besides being well provided with culinary as well as table
utensils, as a finale, and to crush the last vestige of sorrow in every
one’s heart on account of this memorable war, I should give a
dinner-party, after which the whole of the members of the Crimean
Madrigal Club would harmoniously close the evening with a concert. The
proposition was unanimously agreed to. I promised my guests to do my
best to close the season of war by producing an excellent gastronomic
popotte. A general invitation was given, and the day fixed.

When General Lüders courteously invited the French and English generals
to honour him with their presence at his famed camp on the well-known
Mackenzie Heights, the invitation was accepted for the following day.
Everybody was anxious to go, and the invitation being a general one,
lucky were they who had heard of it. The next day a stream of general
officers of the Allied armies poured towards the Tchernaya Bridge. This
was our first friendly meeting with those who had so bravely defended
themselves and sacrificed their blood in defence of the national cause:
General Lüders himself had lost two of his sons in the battle-field. The
reception was grand and interesting, the review imposing, the lunch
excellent, the bizarrerie of some very eccentric performance by the
Cossacks highly amusing, the weather very fine, and the welcome joyous
and hearty. It showed what marvels could be produced by a few strokes
from a pen guided by a powerful and prudent hand. Only a few days
before, the soil upon which we were treading peacefully was trodden by
these same human beings with hearts full of revenge, thirst of blood,
and destruction. In place of these, good understanding, as if by magic,
restored to each heart the feelings of humanity and religion. Thousands
of enemies were in a few minutes changed to hospitable friends. The
hostile line of demarcation was now removed, and the camp of our late
enemies free to all; and, instead of gaining inch by inch of ground by
the sweat of the brow and waste of blood and life, there was welcome for
all. Such was the effect produced upon my mind by the advent of peace,
after that memorable and sanguinary Eastern war, through which I thank
God for sparing my life during my humble mission, in the prosecution of
which I had the honour of witnessing the finale of that great European
question, in which the honour and glory of mighty nations were deeply

After this solemn day of reception, the fusion of the armies took place.
Our camp was invaded by Russians, as theirs was by our men. The works
and fortifications, as well as Bakschiserai, Simpheropol, Perekop, &c.
&c., were immediately taken without bloodshed. The popping of the
well-corked champagne had replaced the monstrous and unsociable voice of
the cannon. The sparkling liquid, poured in tin pots or cups--anything
but crystal champagne-glasses--seemed to unite all hearts. All the
taverns, hotels, inns, huts, marquees, bell tents, &c., had their
visitors; and no people more than the Russians proved their immediate
attachment to us, by making it a rule not to disoblige any one who asked
the favour of their company. Rather than do this, they preferred staying
a week, a fortnight, or even a month. This I, as well as some of my
friends, had the felicity of experiencing, as often the whole
family--father, mother, sons and daughters, horse, cart, and dogs
included--would take up their residence with one. Most of us made a
pilgrimage to Bakschiserai, Simpheropol, Yalta, and other places, after
the proclamation of peace; and, to the honour and credit of the
inhabitants, all were received with a cordial welcome, after being first
introduced to the governor of the city. Freely indeed was their
hospitality bestowed, and it was our duty to return the compliment by an
invitation to our camp, which seldom failed to be accepted, and shortly
after put in execution, after the style above mentioned.

Justice must also be done to the Tartar families whom we visited, for
their liberality and friendship. I never saw a man more put out than one
near Bakschiserai on an occasion when a friend and myself had entered a
house in order to obtain some refreshment. We there found a very
numerous family, among which were three small children, from three to
ten years of age. The father, who was an old man, made us understand by
telegraphic signs, _à la Tartare_, that he, and he alone, was the
father, which we had not the slightest objection to believe. Two rather
good-looking girls, also daughters, waited attentively upon us, and in
less than ten minutes a frugal repast was offered. The old man and his
rather young wife gave us to understand that they had laid before us the
best they had, for which we, by telegraphic signs, made them comprehend
that we were quite pleased and very grateful. When we had satisfied our
appetites, we made ready to start, and offered to pay for the
accommodation we had received: but scarcely had the English sovereign
fallen upon the stone slab before the old father, who was nursing the
two youngest scions of his race upon his knees, than he rose up with a
spring, dropped the children on the floor, and stroking his long white
hair with one hand, made a sign for the sovereign to be immediately
returned to the pocket with the other, as if he feared that the heaven
towards which his eyes were directed would punish him for violating the
laws of hospitality if he accepted the money. We did as he desired, and
peace and friendship were at once restored. It was a scene worthy of the
_Dame Blanche_ of Boieldieu, taken from Sir Walter Scott’s _Monastery_,
where the Highland farmer says to travellers like ourselves, “The Scotch
mountaineers dispense their hospitality, but never sell it.”

Soon after this charming incident had occurred, we left our generous
host and his fine family in their peaceable dwelling. This love of
hospitality did not prevail amongst the retail dealers, who, on the
contrary, endeavoured to fleece visitors in every possible way, as if
anxious to get one’s skin in order to sell it for what it would fetch.
As curiosity had allured us thus far into the bowels of the land, and as
we were not particular about trifles, even in money matters, on this
auspicious occasion, these human vultures were permitted to gorge
themselves at our expense and that of our pockets. Champagne was sold at
a pound and more the bottle, stout at ten shillings, and everything else
at the same exorbitant rate, but by way of compensation all was of an
inferior quality.



     Culinary education of the soldier-pupils--Meeting with Miss
     Nightingale--Reforms in the hospitals--Testimonials--Miss
     Nightingale’s carriage rescued--That lady’s exertions--Her
     faith--General Lüders’s visits--Marshal Pelissier--Grand
     ceremonies--Trip to Yalta--The _Alar_--A peculiar position--Rescued
     at last--A pleasant excursion--Prince Woronzoff’s palace--Dinner at
     sea--Outside the harbour--The banquet--Wanted at head-quarters--A
     new dish--“The great Macédoine à l’Alexandre II., or the Contrast
     of Peace and War”--Decorations--Reviews--The festival--Reflections.

As two or three months had still to elapse before the final evacuation
of the Crimea took place, I employed the interval in completing the
culinary education of my soldier-pupils, anxious that they might be able
to confer the benefit of my instructions upon others, when the remainder
of the stoves should be issued either at home or abroad. By the aid of
my receipts, which were to be printed upon parchment, framed, and hung
up in every barrack kitchen, the cooks could not fail in the proper
performance of their duties. I very much regret that, owing to some
misunderstanding, one or two regiments did not receive my personal
attendance, though I believe they had the stoves. To the colonels of
those regiments I beg to offer this as an apology for the apparent
neglect, which I assure those gentlemen I can only attribute to some
oversight on the part of those I employed to see the stoves shifted from
one regiment to the other. It was no easy matter to traverse such an
immense space of ground, upon which above forty regiments were encamped;
and the difficulty was increased by my having to deal with different
persons in each. Although I had several of my own men to go about and
assist me, I was the responsible person; and all I have to say is, that
from six or seven in the morning till night, their humble servant was on
horseback, reviewing his various regiments, which, for a bad cavalier,
was a great exertion, especially after so severe an illness. Yet to that
exertion I believe I owe my recovery, as it enabled me gradually to get
the better of a most violent attack of dysentery, which had at one time
reduced me so low, that the following civilian doctors, who were my
neighbours at Scutari--viz., Messrs. Burn, Howard, and Fraser--were
almost inclined to give me up.

Upon my arrival at Balaklava I met Miss Nightingale, who had left
Scutari a few days previous to my departure from that place, in order to
take the management of two new hospitals, under the superintendence of
Dr. Taylor, my Scutari culinary friend. He told me that, to his sorrow,
he had completely failed in the construction of the kitchen in those
Crimean hospitals, on account of not being able to obtain the necessary
utensils, &c. I immediately proposed to set this to rights for him, as I
had to build two new extra-diet kitchens at Miss Nightingale’s request.
Dr. Taylor accepted my offer, and in less than a week both kitchens were
satisfactorily completed, and they were also in full activity. In the
extra-diet kitchens Miss Nightingale’s new stoves were adopted. The
establishment called the Left Wing Hospital was in charge of the Sisters
of Charity; the other, called the Right Wing, in that of Miss Stuart, a
most excellent lady, and although of high family, subordinate to Miss
Nightingale. During a period of six months, she rendered the greatest
service, by ably assisting that lady in her exertions.

I substituted my caldrons for the old ones in the large hospital
kitchens. Slight wooden sheds were built to shelter them; and the
establishments, at last complete, formed two of the most elegant,
cleanly, and useful hospital kitchens in the camp--burning but little
wood, instead of always running short, as was the case when the common
caldrons, placed upon two stones in a dark stone building which could
never be kept clean, were in use. They met with the approval of both
Drs. Hall and Taylor. I explained to these gentlemen, that with those
stoves and a few planks, an excellent hospital or camp-kitchen could
easily be made, instead of the very inferior ones before in use; and
that for an army of a hundred thousand men or more, it would only be
necessary to increase the number, as the stoves would never get out of
repair, and might easily be carried with the army, either on mules, or
by any other conveyance which the Land Transport Corps might adopt.

The two following letters confirm the truth of my assertions. The one is
from Miss Nightingale, and the other from Dr. Taylor:--


     I have great pleasure in bearing my testimony to the very essential
     usefulness of Monsieur Soyer, who, first in the General Hospitals
     of Scutari, and afterwards in the Camp Hospitals of the Crimea,
     both general and regimental, restored order where all was
     unavoidable confusion, as far as he was individually able,--took
     the soldiers’ rations and patients’ diets as they were, and
     converted them into wholesome and agreeable food.

     I have tried his stoves in the Crimean hospitals where I have been
     employed, and found them answer every purpose of economy and


     Monsieur Soyer’s cooking-stoves have been solely used in the Right
     and Left Wing Hospitals, Light Infantry Corps, during the last
     three months for the regimental hospital diets, for which they are
     admirably adapted as regards despatch, cleanliness, and economy.

_S. Surgeon, 1st Class_.

_Crimea, 5th July, 1856._

It was on the way to these hospitals that the vehicle conveying Miss
Nightingale and her nurses was upset, and they all had a most miraculous
escape. It was drawn by a mule, and no doubt driven by a donkey, who
drove over a large stone, and thus caused the accident.

One of the nurses was severely wounded. After this accident, Colonel
Macmurdo gave Miss Nightingale the carriage, a sketch of which appeared
in the _Illustrated London News_ of the 30th August, 1856. Upon leaving
the Crimea, after a long search, I succeeded in rescuing it from the
hands of some Tartar Jews, as I considered it a precious relic for
present and future generations. The Jews were going to purchase it the
next day among a lot of common carts, harness, horses, &c. I called upon
Colonel Evans, of the Light Infantry Corps, and spoke to him upon the
subject, when he kindly allowed me to purchase it. I sent it to England
by the _Argo_, and the sketch was taken on board that ship by Landells,
the artist of that journal. It arrived and was safely landed at
Southampton; and Mr. Andrews, the mayor of that city, very kindly
allowed the carriage to remain in his warehouse till my return to


The extraordinary exertions Miss Nightingale imposed upon herself after
receiving this carriage would have been perfectly incredible, if not
witnessed by many and well ascertained. I can vouch for the fact, having
frequently accompanied her to the hospitals as well as to the monastery.
The return from these places at night was a very dangerous experiment,
as the road led across a very uneven country. It was still more perilous
when snow was upon the ground. I have seen that lady stand for hours at
the top of a bleak rocky mountain near the hospitals, giving her
instructions, while the snow was falling heavily. I observed this to
the Rev. Mr. Holt, who accompanied her almost daily as her clerical
orderly, as he called himself, and he admitted that it was very
imprudent on her part. All one could say to her on the subject was so
kindly received, that you concluded you had persuaded her to take more
care of herself. Yet she always went on in the same way, having probably
forgotten good advice in her anxiety for the comfort of the sick.

I often warned her of the danger she incurred in returning so late at
night, with no other escort than the driver. She answered by a smile,
which seemed to say, “You may be right, but I have faith.” So impressed
was I with a sense of the magnitude of the danger she was daily
incurring, that I addressed a letter to a noble duchess, who, I knew,
had much influence with her.

It was reported that the Russian general, Lüders, intended to pay
Marshal Pelissier a visit at the French head-quarters, and that the
general and his Staff were to be received at the Tchernaya Bridge at
seven in the morning. As I had that day to go to the Highland Brigade at
Kamara, accompanied by one of my cooks, we started at five; and after
receiving the popottes at the various regiments, I left my artiste and
galloped to the bridge.

I found about thirty thousand troops drawn up in line, extending from
the bridge to General Pelissier’s head-quarters. After the salvo of
artillery, a most warm reception was given by General MacMahon to
General Lüders, both commanders-in-chief remaining at the French
head-quarters to receive him. The cavalcade, consisting of French and
Russians, set off at a hard gallop along the line of French troops,
which extended about four miles. The discharges of cannon and the firing
of musketry never ceased. The day was a brilliant one, and the sun’s
rays glittered upon the helmets, swords, cuirasses, and bayonets,
reflecting myriads of diamonds in the air. The various uniforms of the
Staff which accompanied General Lüders, and in particular that of the
Cosaques du Don, gave to this martial and animated scene an _éclat_
hardly ever witnessed even at the grandest review, which is generally
held on a flat surface, this being cheerfully accidented by hillock and
dale. On such occasions, the army is generally formed in square, instead
of being in a long line eight files deep on one side only, as on the
occasion to which I now refer. The reception by General Pelissier was
brilliant, and worthy of that offered to him on the Mackenzie Heights a
few days previous.

Amongst the excursions we had projected was one which had been some time
pending. It was to be a trip to Yalta by water, where we intended to
spend a couple of days. A vessel had been provided, the provisions were
ordered, and guests in abundance were invited. A series of fine days had
followed, and the whole management was placed in the hands of the person
with whom the idea of the excursion originated, the Rev. Mr. Parker.
What man amongst the numbers in the Crimea did not know that
distinguished, enterprising, and worthy man? His fame extended far and
wide, and he was equally celebrated for his benevolence and
intelligence; and he never saw a difficulty in anything he undertook,
from the building of a church to an hospital, a hut, kitchen, or an
ice-house. Workmen and materials were found by him, people hardly knew
how or where. Under his clerical wand, wooden palaces were erected, not
without difficulty, but still the work was accomplished. If any good
provisions arrived in the harbour, the worthy minister was the first to
hear of it, and, to oblige his friends, made all inquiries and obtained
every information respecting price and quality. Like all clever men, he
was fond of good living, and was not at all a bad judge of the good
things of this life. It was during the time that he officiated at
Balaklava, that the church, which once had the appearance of a barn, was
changed into a handsome religious edifice. Sebastopol had fallen, and,
as a trophy, one of the bells of the Greek church ornamented his
building, and called the faithful to their duty as regularly as the peal
of any parish church. He was, in fact, the perfection of the _aumônier
du régiment_; but, as in the case of all great geniuses, now and then,
success was followed by failure, and victory by defeat--which the
following will prove.

The day for the excursion had been fixed, postponed, and was again
decided upon. For this change of plan I cannot account; no doubt it was
owing to some unavoidable cause. At length the day was finally settled;
there was to be no more postponing--off we must go. Our vessel was
called the _Alar_, and she belonged to Mr. Crockford. As she was very
small and short of accommodation, she was soon filled above and below.
The evening before we were to start, the news of a great event for the
following day was published in General Orders. It was to the effect that
General Lüders would honour General Codrington with his presence at a
grand review. This favour was not so highly appreciated by the nautical
tourists as by their gallant Commander-in-chief, as at that time it
materially interfered with their anticipated excursion. At all events, a
serious discussion took place as to whether the excursion would or would
not be postponed on that account. The answer “would not!” resounded in
the camp from regiment to regiment, like a _mot d’ordre_, and the final
order to all was, not to be on board a minute after eight o’clock; but
the _Alar_, by way of punctuality, started at half-past seven. I sent
two of my cooks to the vessel, but they never saw anything of the boat.
A few minutes before eight o’clock, the Rev. Mr. Parker, myself, and
others, got into a Maltese boat to join the steamer; instead of which,
the steamer joined us. Not thanking either the _Alar_ nor her captain
for their trouble in coming to us instead of allowing us to go to them,
the reverend gentleman and three more bravely boarded her, and in so
doing kicked our bark away, and left us, in consequence of the swell
caused by the motion of the paddle-wheels, very unsafely dancing an
entirely new hornpipe in the harbour of Balaklava. At last, by the
assistance of a large wave which nearly capsized us all, I managed to
get hold of the man-rope by one hand; this happened to be the left one,
so I could not raise myself on board, and there I was left hanging over
the infuriated waves, the vessel all the while increasing her speed. As
a precaution in walking through the wet fields, I had put on my
India-rubber boots, which dipping in the water, soon became as slippery
as a second-hand leech which will not take or bite at anything. The
confusion on board the vessel, already a wreck, having been just
dismasted in a serious collision with a larger steamer, prevented the
people on board from perceiving my perilous position. My strength was
rapidly becoming exhausted, and I must in a second or two have fallen
into the water, when a reverend gentleman, whose name I regret to say I
cannot recall, saw the imminent danger in which I was placed, and
rescued me. Thanks to his assistance, I managed to lay hold of another
rope with my right hand. I fancied I could travel miles in that
position, it appeared to be so safe. Other assistance arrived, and a few
minutes after I was hauled upon deck, scrambling amongst the wreck and
loose ropes. A friendly voice addressed me with, “Hallo, Soyer! you are
behind time.”

I replied, “I should have preferred being later still, and not have come
at all.”

When the incident was known on board, it caused much merriment among our
fellow-adventurers. As we were going on pleasure, all were allowed to
laugh at the various adventures, as well as misadventures, of the party
so I laughed, and all laughed, soon afterwards, and very heartily. We
were no sooner out of the harbour, than the good ship _Alar_, which had
not received her proper quantum of breakfast or ballast in her wooden or
iron stomach, began her hanky-panky rolling tricks, which never ceased
from the time we started till our return. Breakfast was ready and upon
the table; but, for some unaccountable reason, no one appeared ready for
breakfast. As we were out upon a pleasure excursion, each person was at
liberty to enjoy himself in his own way. Some did this by remaining upon
deck, others by looking overboard, &c., till at length the generous sun,
taking pity upon us, threw out his beams and guided us round the
beautiful rocky coast of the Balaklava and Lukan shores. A few glasses
of champagne were circulated, healths were pledged, and everything got
cheerful and lively; and the joy had even extended to some of the ladies
on board.

Indeed, reader, I have not yet had time to introduce our fair companions
to your notice; but I will do so shortly. Some of them actually went so
far as to ask me what I thought was good for dinner. “Upon my word,”
said I to my fair interlocutor, “I do not know what will be good, madam,
but I’ll tell you what will be bad. Look behind you at that black cloud
which seems to follow us so closely: I have no doubt that is a squall
coming, which will soon spoil our bill of fare as well as our

In about half-an-hour we came in sight of the beautiful Palace of Lukan,
belonging to Prince Woronzoff. A short time before, we had anticipated
landing and being able to dine in the gardens. This was rendered
impossible, as the weather had assumed a very tempestuous aspect, and
bore every appearance of a violent storm. Many began to think of a
second wreck, and quite lost the idea of dining. The steamer was put
about in a very unsociable gale of wind, which, thank God, dropped
shortly after, and allowed us, after several attempts, to return safely
to our harbour. This, considering the state the _Alar_ was in after the
accident she had met with, she ought not to have left, especially upon a

My friend, Mr. Frederick Crockford, who so kindly lent his boat,
assisted me, and we set to work during our stormy return to prepare the
dinner, which we had decided should be got ready, although almost every
one on board was ill. So we began our fantastic and gymnastic culinary
exertions by looking up the stores; and by dint of a wonderful amount of
animal and physical perseverance, we managed to dish up two turkeys, a
number of fowls, hams, roast lamb, tongues, roast beef, plum-puddings,
salad, dessert, &c. &c., and cut bread enough for more than _à
discrétion_. The reader will please to observe that it was by this time
late in the afternoon, and the _Alar_ sylph was rolling quite
sufficiently to prevent any willing turkey from remaining upon the
dish, when a tremendous wave came to its aid, and sent three parts of
our luxuries rolling about the cabin-floor, breaking no end of plates,
dishes, bottles, glasses, &c. Fortunately, our dinner was not lost, as
we knew where it was--rolling to and fro on the wet cabin-floor, playing
at the don’t-you-wish-you-may-get-me game. Mr. Crockford and myself had
succeeded in making a semi-monster lobster salad, which for safety he
had held on to all the time, almost at the peril of his valuable life,
he being knocked about fearfully against the cabin-boards and bulkheads.
At last we made the harbour. It was nearly dusk; and not being expected
back so soon, nor even the next day, we were kept dancing for above an
hour at the entrance. No doubt, this was done to sharpen our appetites.

A rumour was circulated that we should not be allowed to enter at all,
the _Alar_ being a merchant-vessel. This was our fate till about six
o’clock, when signals were made for her to enter. We availed ourselves
of this permission, and in twenty minutes the two large tables were set
out _à la marinière_. Everybody was glad to partake of the most welcome
repast ever bestowed upon a party after the enjoyment of so charming a
day of pleasure. The _salade mayonnaise_ was voted excellent. Champagne
was gaily flowing in bowls, basins, teacups, goblets, &c. Healths were
proposed; her Majesty’s first--next that of the Allied armies--then that
of the Emperor of the French, Mr. Crockford’s and mine, in honour of the
_salade mayonnaise_; and a vote of thanks was returned to the Rev. Mr.
Parker, for the extremely pleasant day he had been the cause of our
enjoying, especially the dinner in the harbour he had so well provided,
which soon made us forget our nautical tribulations.

I have almost forgotten the members of the fair sex, whose health was
proposed in the first place. They had been very ill all day. About
eleven, all, except myself, had left the _Alar_ in the full conviction
of having enjoyed themselves very much indeed. Among the party, which
would have been far too numerous, had not circumstances prevented many
of those invited from making their appearance, were Commissary Drake,
lady and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Burnett. Lady Seymour and friend, who
were to accompany the party, did not come. This is the sum-total of the
ladies present, which for the Crimea was a very fair array of the _beau
sexe_. As it was impossible for me to return to camp that evening, the
captain and Mr. Crockford offered me a bed on board. I of course jumped
at the offer. About one o’clock we were drinking a parting glass, when a
boat was heard approaching the vessel, and a voice called out--

“_Alar_ ahoy! Is Monsieur Soyer still on board?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

In a few seconds, a gentleman, whom I recognised as my friend Captain
Brown of the _Ottowa_, stepped on board.

“Hallo, captain!” I exclaimed, “what ever has brought you on board at
this time of night?”

“I will tell you. They have sent for you from head-quarters, and you
have been sought in all directions. Captain Ponsonby has been looking
everywhere for you. A grand déjeûner is to be given to-morrow in honour
of General Lüders’ visit. I happened to hear of it where I dined and
knowing the _Alar_ had returned with you on board, I have come to inform
you that your aid is required. By the bye, you were suspended a long
time this morning between wind and water: I made so sure you could not
hold on much longer, that I had one of my sailors ready to jump over and
pick you up.”

“Thanks, captain, for two eminent services in one day. I cannot,
however, go to head-quarters till morning, as I have no pony at

“All right,” said he. “Call upon Major Ross in the morning; he will let
you have all you require.”

“At daybreak I will be there.”

“Mind, the lunch is to be ready at two o’clock.”

“I shall not be able to assist much, as there will hardly be time to
turn round. However, good-night, captain, and a thousand thanks.”

“I’m off in a few hours for Constantinople,” he called out from his
boat, “and shall be back in a week. Good-bye.”

The sentinels, as usual, cried--“All’s well.” I must say, I did not
think it was all well with me. “What can I do,” said I to myself, “for
an event of historical importance?” Neither Mr. Crockford nor the
captain could assist me, when an idea struck me:--“If you can’t give me
an idea,” said I to my friends, “at any rate lend me a dish.”

“That I will,” said the captain.

“Recollect, I want a large one.”

“You had the largest for your salad yesterday.”

“That one will do; it will hold enough for twenty-five persons.

“Then here goes,” said I, writing. “To-day I shall dress in it the
_Macédoine Lüdersienne à l’Alexandre II._”

“A very good name in honour of the event,” said Mr. Crockford. “But
pray, of what is it to be composed?”

“Oh! for that,” said I, “if I were to implore the Genius of Gastronomy,
from Lucullus to Apicius and Vitellius, or Vatel to Ude and Carême, I
could get nothing from them but inspiration; while what I require is
something substantial, and not artificial. It strikes me that a word
from you to your head man at Kadikoi (as you will not be there
to-morrow) would do more for me in a few minutes than the whole of those
defunct celebrities, whom I am not now inclined to trouble upon so
material a subject. Pray give me _carte blanche_ to get anything you may
have and I require for the composition of this modern Babylon, which
must be constructed upon a base sufficiently strong to resist the joint
attack of the heads of three of the most powerful armies in the world,
and only be destroyed after having conquered the conqueror’s _place
d’armes_, the stomach, so called in military parlance.”

The order was readily given by my friend Mr. Crockford, and we then lay
down to sleep, being both completely exhausted with the fatigues of what
was called a day of pleasure. We had hardly closed our eyelids, when
morning caused them to be reopened; so up we got. My friend started for
Constantinople, and I for head-quarters. On my way I called upon Major
Ross, who kindly lent me a pony, and told me of the message left with
him. I started immediately--bought a few things in Balaklava
market--called at Crockford’s store at Donnybrook, which I ransacked and
despoiled of condiments of every description. Instead of going direct to
head-quarters, I changed my mind and went home to prepare, having
decided, as the time was so short, to produce one good dish only,
instead of several small and insignificant ones. This was, however, to
be worthy of the occasion. I was well aware that General Codrington’s
cook, under the liberal management and command of Captain Ponsonby,
would turn out something worthy of the event. Upon arriving at my hut, I
sent two of my cooks to assist him, despatched my groom on horseback to
Kamiesch for various things, and then began the construction of my
_Lüdersienne_ upon the lid of my new field-stoves, the dish I had
brought from the _Alar_ being too small.

My novel dish was completed, and carried to head-quarters by two
soldiers; and at a quarter to two I personally placed my culinary wonder
upon the table. It was called


  _The Macédoine Lüdersienne à l’Alexandre II._

  This monster dish was composed of--

   12 boxes of preserved lobsters
    2 cases        “     lampreys
    2 cases        “     sardines
    2 bottles      “     anchovies
    1 case         “     caviar
    1 case         “     sturgeon
    1 case         “     thunny
    2 cases        “     oysters
    1 pound of fresh prawns
    4 pounds turbot clouté
   12 Russian pickled cucumbers
    4 bottles    “    olives
    1 bottle mixed pickles
    1 bottle Indian ditto
    1 bottle pickled French beans
    2 bottles    “    mushrooms
    ⅓ bottle   “    mangoes
    2 bottles of pickled French truffles
    2 cases of preserved peas
    2 cases       “      mixed vegetables
    4 dozen cabbage lettuces
  100 eggs
    2 bottles of preserved cockscombs.

     The sauce was composed of six bottles of salad oil, one of Tarragon
     vinegar, half a bottle of Chili vinegar, two boxes of preserved
     cream (whipped), four ounces of sugar, six eschalots, salt, cayenne
     pepper, mustard, and a quarter of an ounce of Oriental herbs which
     are quite unknown in England.

The dining-room, decorated under the artistic superintendence of Captain
Ponsonby, presented a ravishing _ensemble_ well adapted to the occasion.
It was hung, ceiling and all, with the Allied flags, to which the
Russian standard, so long absent, had been happily reinstated in the
bond of friendship and civilization. Those few pieces of printed cloth
spoke volumes to my mind. These adopted colours of different nations had
not waved together for a long while, and their playful movements, caused
by a fresh breeze, which seemed to have purified itself in passing
swiftly over the cheerful vineyard attached to head-quarters, pleased me
very much.[25] The god of war had put his seal and autograph upon them,
just in the same manner as we see a name upon a bank-note, which only
acquires value from national convenience and conventionality. Still
these rags, which the will of mighty empires had favoured with their
high regard, were so proud of their post, that they appeared to float
and flutter in the air with more grandeur than a common piece of stuff
just brought from the loom, as was the case with them before their
glorious national christening, would have done. They appeared as proud
and superior to their brothers and sisters as a race-horse is to one of
his less fortunate fellows--a cart-horse.

I was left almost alone in that ever-memorable spot (every one having
gone to the review), giving the last _coup-d’œil_, with Captain
Ponsonby and the maître d’hôtel, to the well-provided table. The
illustrious guests were momentarily expected. Volumes, indeed, could I
read in those printed sheets--symbols and emblems of glory. Upon them
seemed engraved, in letters of gold, “L’union fait la force,” and
“Regeneration instead of destruction!” Such were my sentiments on that
memorable occasion. The world at large was interested in this mighty
fusion; the end of this grand drama I could plainly read, though merely
printed upon pieces of common calico.

Professionally, I was doubly proud of the honour of contributing my mite
of industry to this California of grandeur and great events. My monster
Macédoine was placed in the centre of the table, and, though only a few
persons were present, was much admired. “In a few minutes,” said I to
myself, “those great men whose names are echoed and re-echoed throughout
the world by the trumpet-blast of fame will be here, not only gazing
upon my impromptu _chef-d’œuvre_, but, I hope, also freely partaking
of it--and, while enjoying the pleasures of the table, cementing the
sentiments of peace and of friendship.”

So much was my mind absorbed by the superficial, that I had almost
forgotten the material. The words, “the review is over, and the generals
are coming,” recalled my wandering senses. A gorgeous cavalcade was seen
approaching, headed by four generals-in-chief in full uniform, and their
respective Staffs, wearing their decorations, followed by above thirty
generals. A few minutes after, I was attending upon Generals Pelissier,
Lüders, and Sir W. Codrington, who were sitting together--General
Pelissier on the left and General Lüders on the right of Sir William.
The following persons were sitting at the same table:--General della
Marmora and Sir Colin Campbell were facing; and at the same table sat
Admiral Freemantle; Generals MacMahon, Martinprey, Wyndham, Garrett,
Barnard, Lord Rokeby, Lord W. Paulet, Cameron; Colonels Scariatini and
M. Amazzoff, aides-de-camp to General Lüders; and the aides of the other

My anticipations were realized; for no sooner had the guests taken their
seats than the conversation became more animated. I had placed at the
apex of my pyramidal Macédoine a small card, with the dedication written
upon it. Sir W. Codrington handed it to General Lüders, who, after
showing it to several of his suite, requested permission to keep it as a
reminiscence of the day. This request was granted by Sir William with a

The entreés, roasts, and the entremêts had been handed round, and a
serious attack upon my Lüdersienne commenced, almost every guest
partaking of it twice. Captain Ponsonby requested me to remove it, as
several gentlemen at the other table wished to taste it. General
Pelissier, with whom I had the honour of conversing longer than with any
one else, was in an excellent humour, and full of that vivacity and wit
so characteristic. He bantered me several times for not having stoned
the olives which formed part of the Macédoine. I told him that time
would not permit of this, as I had received such short notice of the
banquet, and that I went the evening before on an excursion by water to
Lukan. At the same time, I expressed my regret to Sir William at not
being at home when sent for.

“Never mind, Monsieur Soyer,” replied Sir William. “I am, at all events,
very happy to see you here, and thank you kindly for your exertions.”

General Pelissier again addressed me: “You may say what you like,
Monsieur Soyer, but you might as well have stoned the olives.”

“Very true, general, if time had allowed. It is all very well for you to
take the Malakhoff in a few minutes, but it took me four hours to make
that dish.” At which reply he could not help laughing.

“Your friend General Barnard,” said he, pointing to that officer, who
was sitting at the bottom of the table, “would like to taste it. Go and
offer him some.”

I did so; but the general had been served. I then made a tour round the
table, asking each guest, above thirty in number, whether he had been
attended to.

The time was getting short, and another review--that of the English
army--had to come off. The iced champagne had performed a grand _rôle_
during the repast; all seemed highly gratified and full of animation.
What a burst of enthusiasm was elicited when General Lüders rose, and
proposed the health of her Majesty the Queen of England and that of the
French Emperor! which enthusiasm was renewed when Sir William Codrington
responded by proposing that of the Emperor Alexander.

The _mot d’ordre_ was given, and all were soon mounted, and proceeded to
the review, at which, having terminated my culinary duties, I assisted
as a spectator, arriving just time enough to have a glance at the
spectacle, which to my mind was superior in point of effect to that of
the magnificent French army in the morning. It was in a splendid square;
while the French army, though more numerous, being in a line, covered
more ground, but produced less effect. I remarked this to General della
Marmora, with whom I was conversing. He seemed to be of my opinion. The
Scotch, with their bagpipes merrily playing, were then filing past the
Etat-Major, and the vibrating sounds of their wild mountain music
impressed itself for ever on my ear. It was their last song on the
Crimean shore. A few minutes more, and all was over. General Lüders
entered his carriage, and started full gallop, followed by his Staff.
General Codrington and suite lined the fields on either side the road
along which the carriage passed. On reaching the Balaklava road, which
crosses the high mountain leading to the Guards’ camp, the Russian
general made a full stop; so did Sir W. Codrington and suite. They bade
each other adieu; and after General Lüders had returned thanks for the
excellent reception he had received, Sir William said, “I hope, general,
you are not over-tired?”

“No, not at all, thank you. I only felt rather cold standing still
during the last review.”

This was spoken in French.

The Russian cavalcade galloped away towards the Tchernaya, whilst the
English returned to head-quarters.

It was getting quite dark; the weather, which had been so warm in the
morning, turned very cold--the sky looked grey, and not a soul was to be
seen. I ascended the rocky and steep mountain on horseback. A few
minutes after, I was in lonely solitude on the top of the plateau. Not a
sign, of life was to be seen or heard; graveyards alone ornamented this
desolate spot.

“What a curious life mine is!” said I, musing. “Compare the last
forty-eight hours with the time when I was hanging by one hand,
suspended between life and death, from the man-rope of the _Alar_, in
the harbour of Balaklava.” It reminded me of a rocket, which, while
soaring brightly in its flight towards the sky, shines radiant for a few
seconds only, and then vanishes in space.



     Cathcart’s Hill deserted--The Madrigal Club--Mrs. Seacole
     again--Sally the Egyptian beauty--The dark maid of the Eastern
     War--The Land Transport Corps Hospital--Conversation with Miss
     Nightingale--Quiet at head-quarters--General Barnard’s
     entertainment--Visit from three Russian officers--Strange
     conduct--Visits--General Garrett’s disappointment--Trip to the
     ruins of Sebastopol--A gallant cockney--A tremendous
     explosion--Playing with live shells--A narrow escape--A clever
     trick--Another accident--General Garrett’s lunch--Russian lady
     visitors--Bill of fare--Tom Shell-proof--Arrival of the
     Russians--The review--Grand banquet to Sir Colin Campbell--Grand
     dinner to General della Marmora--Crimean cup _à la
     Marmora_--Receipt--My grand
     festival--Preparations--Misgivings--Green inspiration--Great
     success--List of guests--The hut on fire--Music and song--Close of
     the last party on Cathcart’s Hill.

On reaching home, I found Cathcart’s Hill as quiet and deserted as I did
on the 8th of September, but under less solemn circumstances, for
Sebastopol had then fallen--whereas now it was likely to rise again like
a phœnix from its ashes. The head-quarters of the Fourth Division
were wrapped in deep repose. I could not even wake my groom to put my
small charger into the stable; but this had often occurred before, and
gave me the chance of learning how to attend to my own horse. It is
true, it was nearly twelve o’clock; for in passing the Guards’ camp I
had paid several visits, and the kind reception accorded would not have
failed to detain the greatest misanthropist till a late hour. I had in
particular called upon Colonel de Bathe and the members of the Madrigal
Club, being anxious to ascertain from that body of artists when our
great festival was to take place.

“To-morrow you are invited,” said Colonel de Bathe, “to dine with us at
General Barnard’s, and we will settle that matter there.”

Having to meet Miss Nightingale the next day at the Land Transport Corps
Hospital in order to accompany her for the last time through the camp, I
managed to be there about ten o’clock. Miss Nightingale had not arrived;
so I made an inventory of the various kitchen utensils which were to be
sent back to England or Malta.

While I was waiting for the Sister of the Brave, I made it my duty to
pay my respects to the illustrious Mrs. Seacole; and, like a good son or
a ship in full sail, I was immediately received in the arms of the _mère
noire_. On perceiving me, she exclaimed--

“Hallo, my son! I saw you at head-quarters yesterday!”

“Did you really? I didn’t see you, Mrs. Seacole.”

“I dare say you did not, my son. I was amongst the great dons in the
vineyard, and had a very fine view of the proceedings. I met all my
friends there.”

“No doubt you did, Mrs. Seacole.”

“Very kind they were, I assure you; they all shook me by the hand enough
to last me for life. What do you think of the Russian general, Monsieur
Soyer?” Before I could reply, she said, “He is a fine man, and no
mistake; is he not, my son?”

She was in the act of dressing the wound of an Army Works Corps man, who
had been thrown, and was cut severely in the forehead.

“What’s the matter with the poor fellow?” said I.

“He is getting better now. What will you take to drink, Monsieur Soyer?”

“Nothing at present; it is too early, my dear madam.”

“Don’t forget, before you go, to come and take a parting glass with an
old friend. Mr. Day and myself will be very glad to see you, depend upon
it. By the way, how is Miss Nightingale?”

“I thank you, she was quite well the last time I had the pleasure of
seeing her. I have to meet her at the Land Transport Hospital this
morning, by appointment.”

“What nice kitchens those are of yours at the Land Transport Hospital! I
saw them several times; and the doctors and Mrs. Stuart are highly
pleased with them, I assure you. How nice and clean the Sisters of
Charity keep everything! You may say that of both hospitals.” Mrs.
Seacole then said, “What nice things they prepare in the extra-diet
kitchens for the patients! I tasted everything.--Pray give my respects
to Miss Nightingale, and say, if I were not so busy I should run as far
as the hospital, to pay my duty to her. You must know, Monsieur Soyer,
that Miss Nightingale is very fond of me. When I passed through Scutari,
she very kindly gave me board and lodging.”

This was about the twentieth time the old lady had told me the same
tale. Shaking her by the hand--

“Good-bye, my son,” said she; “I wish you had let me taste some of that
fine dish you made yesterday.”

“How could I, my dear mother? I did not know you were there.”

At this point of the conversation, the Egyptian beauty, her daughter
Sarah, entered.

“My dear Sally, how are you?” said I. “I never see you in our alley

“Go along with you!” said smiling Sally; “you are always making fun of

“Fun of you, my dear?--never. I swear by your blue eyes and black hair,
that I never do. Do I, mother?”

“If you did, it would not matter; a little innocent mirth now and then
does one good. For my part, my son, I could not live without laughing.”

“Yes; but you told a certain colonel that it was I who was dressed as a
Scotchman at the French ball given the other day in honour of the young

“What harm is there in that? All the great people were invited, and why
should you not have been there?”

“Indeed, do you think mother or myself would go to such a place, where
the women wear soldiers’ clothes? Not likely. And what soldiers?--the
Scotch Brigade!”

We all laughed; and I then parted, quite pleased with Sally’s modesty.
Sally richly deserves the title of the Dark, instead of Fair, Maid of
the Eastern War.

On my return to the hospital, I found Miss Nightingale had arrived,
accompanied by the chaplain, Mr. Hone, who informed me that she could
not possibly go through the camp that day. As I was thus disengaged, I
called upon Mrs. Stuart, in order to inquire whether she required
anything in my department. To my astonishment, she informed me that a
field-stove, of which she was greatly in want to heat water for the
baths, had not arrived. As I had sent it with the others, which had
reached their destination, I promised to inquire about it at once, and
sent my engineer, Mr. Phillips, to see after it. It was, however, three
days before it was found. I relate this fact out of hundreds which
occurred during the campaign, to show the mishaps of so difficult an
undertaking. This I must repeat, that I was well supported by the
authorities, and my demands were always granted. To Colonel Macmurdo,
and Captains Evans and Power, I am greatly indebted for their
never-ceasing courtesy.

In conversation with Miss Nightingale, I did not forget to mention Mrs.
Seacole’s kind inquiries. She said with a smile--

“I should like to see her before she leaves, as I hear she has done a
deal of good for the poor soldiers.”

“She has indeed, I assure you, and with the greatest disinterestedness.
While I was there this morning, she was dressing a poor Land Transport
Corps man, who had received a severe contusion on the head. In order to
strengthen his courage for the process, as she said, she made him half a
glass of strong brandy and water, not charging him anything for it; and
I hear she has done this repeatedly.”

“I am sure she has done much good.”

I told Miss Nightingale that I had despatched Mr. Phillips in search of
the missing stove; and, as our visit was postponed, I bade her adieu,
requesting her to drop me a line in the Fourth Division at any time she
might require my services.

That day I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hall, who apprised me that
the troops would shortly leave the Crimea, and the Sanatorium be closed.
The Monastery was so already; and, as I had anticipated, the Land
Transport Corps remained the last in the field. Passing to
head-quarters, I found everything at a standstill. The Commander-in-chief
was out, the precise order of the previous day seemed in abeyance, and
General Wyndham was sitting to a celebrated Sardinian artist for his
portrait. It was taken in his Redan dress, which was freed from the
blood and dust of that day, as I think very injudiciously, which caused
me to ask if it was the same; the general replied that it was. I believe
the picture was for the King of Sardinia, to be added to his Majesty’s
collection of the heroes of the Crimea.

Captain Ponsonby was occupied in his open-air photographic studio,
taking portraits of everybody who came in his way, amongst them myself.
Captain Hall was herborizing in his _petite chambre_ upon some salad
cress and cheroots. Colonel Blane was very busy writing and giving
orders. Major Curzon and others of the Staff were very seriously
occupied lunching. In the kitchen, the stoves were cooling, and all the
cooks out. At the Post-office and Telegraph all seemed still. The
printing press alone was slowly going.

Upon returning to the dining-room, I found only a few at lunch; several
were smoking at the door-steps--in fact, compared with the day previous,
the contrast was so great, that it appeared like a holiday after a
week’s hard labour. The conversation turned upon the grandeur of the
review, and the success of the entertainment, which seemed to have given
great satisfaction to all.

In the evening a most charming entertainment was prepared for us at
General Barnard’s. The company included General Rose; the French
general, Bombaki; Colonel de Bathe, &c.

After an excellent dinner, at which a very fine turkey was the _pièce de
résistance_,--(it had been reared under the farming care of Captain
Barnard; this is a valuable quality in the Crimea: the turkey was
accompanied by a delicious piece of boiled ration pork, and in addition
two made dishes, two sweets, vegetables, &c.; the whole washed down by
delicate claret cup _à la Barnaby_,)--the topic of conversation turned
upon the great events of the previous day. Perfect harmony prevailed,
when suddenly a warlike sound was heard round the general’s wooden
dwelling. A friend entered, crying aloud, “The Russians--the Russians
are coming!” and three Russian officers immediately entered, saying they
had lost their way, and requesting a guide. The general’s first impulse
was to give them hospitality, and then put them in their right way.
Captain Barnard got up to usher them in, and soon returned with the
new-comers, who, we perceived, had not only lost their way, but also
their senses. Having seated themselves, the general asked them what they
would take. “Tout ce que vous avez” (“Everything you have,” instead of
“Anything you please”), one of them answered. To this the gallant
general demurred, not being at all desirous of having his place
pillaged, particularly in time of peace, after having escaped that sad
tribute during the war. One of them was quite unmanageable: he spoke
French, but was not such a good scholar as the Russian nobles generally
are; he made sad havoc with that fashionable language, and used rude
expressions, which were very unpleasant to the party. The Russians were
anxious to explain what they had been doing at Kamiesch, the recital of
which was much too droll to be pleasant. The noisiest of the party
poured out a large tumbler of brandy, and, before any one could stop
him, swallowed half of it, drinking the health of every mortal thing,
including the French, English, Russians, and the Turkish Emperor’s. One
who was more rational tried to appease him, but in vain. At all events,
after an hour’s desultory conversation, owing to the great coolness of
the general, we got rid of them, and they mounted their waggon, which
was anything but a fashionable one. They were going to the Mackenzie
Heights, and the French general, Bombaki, who was going that road,
kindly undertook to point out the way. They said that they had finished
twelve bottles of champagne at Kamiesch. Nice company this to drop in
after an excellent _petit dîner_, just as we were about commencing the
harmony of the evening! This strange incident completely broke up our
party. We fixed the great madrigal soirée at my hut for the 27th of May,
hoping on that occasion to be more fortunate. We afterwards heard that
the Russian officers were stopped at the Traktir Bridge, and locked up
for a few days--no doubt to give them time to get sober.

We began to hope that in case we should be visited by any Czarewitchian
company at our semi-grand concerto--and there were plenty daily in the
camp--that they would call before, and not after, their visit to the
then reckless town of Kamiesch, at which place a friend and myself had,
a few days previous, witnessed several very comical scenes. This was
owing to the influx of visitors from the different armies. It was more
particularly the case at the theatre, where the funniest part of the
performance was acted in the pit, stalls, boxes, and gallery, instead of
upon the stage. On one occasion, General Pelissier was compelled to have
a few of the new spectators boxed for the night in the guard-house, in
order to be allowed to enjoy the privilege of his own private box.

In return for their visits to us, both French and English officers daily
returned the compliment, and the Russians did all they could to make
themselves agreeable. General Garrett met with a very cordial reception
from Major-General Vassileffsky, who commanded after the departure of
General Lüders. General Garrett, in return, invited him to the
head-quarters of the Fourth Division, which invitation was graciously
accepted by the Russian general. I was spending the evening with General
Garrett, when he observed that he wished to give General Vassileffsky a
lunch, but that it would be a difficult matter, as he had no convenience
for that purpose.

“Never mind that, general,” said I; “send out your invitations, and
leave the rest to me. A lunch for twenty or thirty shall be upon your
table in due time.”

“They are coming to-morrow morning.”

“Rather short notice, general; but never mind, it will be all right in
spite of time: difficulties are common enough in time of war. Pray leave
the matter to Major Dallas and myself--we will turn out a lunch worthy
of yourself and your guests.”

I immediately set to work, and in a few hours extra provisions and
rations had taken various shapes and forms; some were being stewed,
others baked, and some boiled. Everything was going on so smoothly, that
I almost wished the lunch had been for that day. My men had returned
from their daily regimental rounds, and were all at work. In the midst
of this, the worthy general begged of me to give him a call, when he
informed me that he was sorry to say that the Russian general’s visit
was postponed, General Sir W. Codrington having invited him to
head-quarters for that day.

“No matter,” said I; “if your lunch is not postponed too long, the
provisions will improve, instead of deteriorating.”

“You think so?”

“I am sure of it, general. All the animal food we get in the camp is too
fresh: the beast is no sooner slaughtered than it is either in the pot,
oven, or on the gridiron.”

“We shall be about twenty.”

“So I perceive, and that my name figures amongst your illustrious
guests. You must, however, general, leave me entirely free on that
occasion; I will sit down to table when I think proper.”

“Do as you like, but you must sit down with us.”

“On that day, general, I claim precedence, and even command, over the
head of your division.”

He laughed heartily, saying, “It shall be so. To-morrow there is to be a
review of two divisions in honour of General Vassileffsky, and no doubt
the lunch will come off the day after.”

“Very well, general; only give me due notice, I will answer for the
rest. After such success at head-quarters, the Fourth Division must not

As there was nothing more to be done, I gave my people a holiday to see
the ruins of Sebastopol, which they had not been able to do owing to the
press of business. I thought I might as well go myself, as my engineer,
Mr. Phillips, had not seen them. The horses were ordered--Mesnil and
Phillips accompanied me. We mounted and galloped towards the dilapidated
city, which, although from the hill it seems close at hand, afterwards
appears to recede further and further. We arrived at the Ravin des
Boulets--so called from the extraordinary crop of that article which lay
there after the ploughing of that piece of land by the hand of Mars, the
god of iron vegetables made of solid materials. Our gallant cockney
Zouave, who had never smelt any other powder than gunpowder tea, was
quite intrepid, and he mounted to the Redan as though he intended to
take it by assault. He was always ahead; and no sooner had a view from
that far-famed historical spot, of which he had so successfully taken
possession, than the rage of valour seized upon him; no one could arrest
his progress--he bounded off upon his steed several hundred yards in
advance, shouting in frantic enthusiasm, “To Sebastopol! to Sebastopol!”
My friend and myself were rather cooler upon the subject, and trotted
slowly along the ravine direct to the Mast Battery. I called my
invincible engineer back, telling him that he was going the wrong way,
as we wanted to visit that battery before going into the city. He
therefore returned.

“I tell you what,” said I, “young boiling-hot warrior from Snow-hill, if
you had been here this time last year, you would not have charged like
that; the Russians would have smashed your crown for you.”

No doubt they would, had I given them a chance; but I should have said
with the coward, Peter Morrison, ‘The time to show courage has arrived,
my brave fellow; let us hide ourselves.’ He had scarcely perpetrated
this old joke, when a tremendous explosion was heard, shaking the earth
under our horses’ feet and almost upsetting them. I made sure it was a
mine that had been sprung; and a few seconds after, a thick short piece
of wood, partially ignited, fell at about ten paces from my horse’s
head. The animal began to kick, and we were enveloped in a dense cloud
of smoke smelling of powder, and so thick that for a few seconds we
positively could not see anything. I expected that my two friends had
been blown into the air, and they thought that I had met with the same
fate. We soon perceived there was no harm done. Our horses advanced a
few paces; and upon turning the corner of the ravine, about ten yards in
advance, we perceived three sailors lying dead, as we thought, and the
ground about them covered with blood. Two of them were screaming; the
other had one leg blown to atoms, and was badly wounded in the other. We
lifted the man who was lying on his face, thinking that he was the worst
of all, when to our surprise we found that he had not been touched,
excepting by a few fragments of his friend’s limbs, which had fallen
upon his back. His companion was slightly wounded in four places: it was
a most extraordinary circumstance that his trousers were torn to
ribbons, and a piece of the bridge of his nose was taken clean off, from
which wound he bled copiously. We perceived that it was not a mine, but
a thirteen-inch shell, which had exploded, though not a vestige of it
remained near the spot; nothing but a train of burnt powder about five
feet long and three inches wide could be seen near the poor fellows who
had so imprudently risked their lives. We did all we could to alleviate
their sufferings. It was extremely awkward to meddle with the first, who
remained perfectly motionless, and no hospital was near nor doctor to be
obtained. I gave a French soldier five shillings to run to the French
camp and fetch a doctor: he did not succeed, but returned with a
stretcher. I also sent to Sebastopol, but without success. I had just
tied the poor fellow’s leg very tight above the knee, in order to stop
the loss of blood, when General Dacres and a number of officers who had
heard the report came to the spot. I told the general how the accident
had occurred, as it had been explained to me by the man who set it
going, as he called it. Although he was nearest to the deadly missile
when it exploded, he was not even scratched.

The affair happened thus:--About half-way up the hill they found a live
shell, and for amusement, as they said, rolled it about the ravine. In
doing this some of the powder escaped, of which one of the party made a
devil: this he placed on a stone. In the meantime the shell had rolled
some distance, leaving in its course a train of powder. Not perceiving
this, he set the devil on fire; it communicated with the train, and
ignited the shell.

“How imprudent those foolish sailors are!” said General Dacres; “they
are all alike.”

As no doctor made his appearance, the general observed the best plan
would be to convey the wounded man on board the _Gladiator_
steam-frigate: she was the first foreign ship of war that had entered
the harbour. On our way we met two doctors who had been visiting the
ruins. They examined the sailor’s wound, and having attended to it,
followed him to the _Gladiator’s_ boat, which was waiting at the
floating bridge from the Karabelnaia to the French side. I saw him on
board, and the surgeon of the ship, Dr. Thompson, immediately amputated
his leg. The other two went their way, one of them patched up in four
places, but able to walk. I afterwards heard from the doctor that his
patient was doing well, and that he was a deserter, for which he would
be punished. “A double gratification, doctor,” said I: “that’s what a
sailor calls a day’s spree.”

The most remarkable part of the affair was the escape of the man who had
set the shell a-going; he was not even scratched. The reason of this he
explained thus:--“When I had set the devil on fire, to my surprise I saw
the flame running towards the shell; I expected it would explode, and
threw myself flat upon my face. My eyes! wasn’t it a rum ‘un!--it gave
me such a blow on the pate--the report, I mean--I can hardly hear now.”

That man was not four feet from the shell when it exploded. I consider
that we had a most miraculous escape, as our brave cockney observed,
looking as pale as though, he hadn’t a drop of blood left, though
generally possessing a regular rubicund face, the vermilion colour of
which nothing but a good coat of whitewash could have affected. He was,
in fact, quite stupified, and asked me if it was likely that another
would burst. “Very likely,” said I, “if anybody sets it on fire.”

“You in particular, my young fellow,” said I, “have had a narrow escape.
If I had not called you back, you would have been blown to atoms, as a
large branch was sent clean off a poplar tree near which you were

The wooden fusee, a piece of the other fellow’s trousers, and a regular
fright, were some of the trophies I gathered of this sad event.

On our way home, our Snow-hill friend, who could not get rid of the
bomb-shell feeling, and felt rather shaky, related the following clever
move on the part of himself and Mr. Mesnil. It occurred a few days
before in one of the ravines, and he almost trembled in relating the

“Ah,” said he, “you blame those poor fellows for setting fire to that
shell. I’ll tell you what Mr. Mesnil and myself did the other day. As we
were walking, we found a live shell, and being anxious to ascertain
whether it contained those bundles of fused nails we had been shown by
Joseph at Stuart’s canteen in the morning, we actually took up a
sixty-four pound shot which was at hand, and pounded the shell four or
five times, in order to split it, that we might inspect the contents.
This did not succeed, so at length we gave it up in despair.”

“Never!” exclaimed I.

“We did, I assure you. Ask Mesnil.”

Calling him as he was riding on before, I asked him if it was true.

“Don’t mention it--it’s true enough. I have been thinking seriously
about it; indeed, I feel quite nervous. What fools we were! and what
luck to have escaped!”

“I never heard of such a senseless trick in all my life,” said I.
“Hardly any one would believe it.”

“The danger and imprudence of the act would never have struck me, had I
not witnessed this day’s accident. Let us change the conversation.”

After all, I must say it was very imprudent to leave them about in that
manner. The soldiers were rightly enough ordered not to pick them up
with the cannon-balls; but a hole should have been dug, and each shell
buried separately: then no danger could possibly have occurred.

This plan I had _en passant_ suggested to some of the authorities.

The next day another accident happened with a shell. A fatigue party
were engaged picking up round shot, and one of the men had a shell upon
his shoulder. His comrade perceiving it, said, “You have a live shell
upon your shoulder, and we are not allowed to pick them up.” The man
that was carrying it threw it down. It fell upon a stone, and
immediately burst, wounding three or four of the party, as well as a
poor rifleman who was sitting upon a rock at some distance eating his
dinner. He was struck on the head by a splinter, which cut away part of
his skull, exposing the brain. He was trepanned the next day; and
although he at first did very well, he died a few days afterwards. Such
accidents were of almost daily occurrence.

On reaching home I found a note from Major Dallas, General Garrett’s
aide-de-camp, apprising me that the lunch would take place in two days.
This delay gave us plenty of time to distinguish ourselves in the
culinary department. Colonel Halliwell, our excellent neighbour, had
left for good, as he was appointed to do duty at Balaklava. He was
replaced by Captain Brooks, his secretary, who was superseded by Colonel
Hugh Smith, and the latter by Major Willis. This department was of great
importance and assistance to me in removing the stoves from one regiment
to another. I here take the opportunity of thanking those gentlemen,
whose kindness almost made me forget, as far as business was concerned,
the worthy Colonel Halliwell, who had removed his head-quarters to
Balaklava, and pitched his tent upon the top of the hill facing the
Genoese Tower, called the Marine Heights. The Ordnance-house was his
place of business and mess-room; but now and then the warrior gourmet
elevated the gastronomic art to the highest pitch by giving small
parties on the summit or pinnacle of the rocky mountain. This was the
case one day when I called. The gallant colonel was very busy embarking
troops, but found twenty minutes’ spare time, in which he concocted the
most delicious _Mayonnaise de homard_ I ever tasted, and which was
partaken of by two Russian lady visitors. They were mother and daughter,
of high birth, and accompanied by a Russian officer. The party had
accepted the colonel’s invitation when he visited Bakschiserai. The
elder lady was one of the maids of honour to the Dowager Empress of
Russia. The lunch, though soon over, was exquisite, the colonel’s
servant being every bit as good a judge of good things as his master.
The champagne was as good as the Mayonnaise. As the colonel had to
attend to business after lunch, the Russian officer, Colonel Halliwell’s
aide-de-camp, two friends, and myself, had the pleasure of accompanying
the ladies for a walk. Nothing proved more interesting to them than a
visit to the Sanatorium Hospital, in hopes of seeing Miss Nightingale,
of whom they had heard much. The former they saw, and were much pleased
with it; but the good lady, to their chagrin, was absent at the
Monastery. They consoled themselves by looking round her hut; but there
was nothing to distinguish it from the others: it was, indeed, worse
built, having been put up in a hurry. Their enthusiasm was the pure
effect of imagination; and had we pointed out any other as the residence
of that lady, it would have produced the same result.

The decline of the sun apprised our Russian visitors that time was
flying; and they had far to go. We parted from them near the top of the
Crow’s Nest, one of the finest spots in the world to get a view of a
good sunset.

Early the next morning all the people in authority were astir. Generals,
colonels, officers, and men in light marching order, might be seen
quickly crossing and recrossing the plateau in every direction. I had,
with my brigade of cooks, been busy since daybreak, and a white stream
of communication had established itself between the general’s palazzo,
built of fine white stone,[26] and the villarette of your humble
servant, so conspicuously erected in almost the centre of the plateau.
This was no other than my cooks in their white culinary attire, running
like mad to and fro, fetching and carrying the portions of the collation
which I had prepared in my kitchen. At ten, to the minute, the party
were to sit down; at five minutes to ten the collation was on the table,
and in military order. The bill of fare was as follows:--


        _Offert au Général Vassileffsky par le Général Garrett_.

               Filets de turbot clouté à la Dame Blanche.
                 Cotelettes de mouton à la vivandière.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                           Relevées chaudes.
                Les hanchettes de mouton à la Brétonne.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                            Pièces froides.
    Le dindonneau farci à l’anglaise.        Les poulets demi-rôtis.
  Le gros jambon de Westmoreland glacé.    Le gannet garni d’ortolans
                             à la Victoria.

                   *       *       *       *       *

               La Macédoine Lüdersienne à l’Alexandre II.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                         Petits hors-d’œuvres.
   Les escaloppes de mortadelle de Verone.    Le thon italien mariné.
  Les olives de Provence farcies.            Les lamproies et sardines
         Les anchois.                                 marinées.
       Les cornichons à l’estragon.               Indian pickles.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                         Entremets de douceur.
           Gelées d’oranges.              Idem au marasquin.
      Plum-pudding à la Exeter.      Un turban Savarin au Madère.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                     The Crimean cup à la Marmora.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                            Dessert assorti.
              Salades d’oranges.       Compotes de poires.
                     Figues, raisins, amandes, &c.

My engineer, Tom Shell-proof, as we afterwards called him, undertook to
gallop round to the various regimental kitchens, and see that all was in
order.[27] This brought to my recollection the applicable and pithy
remark made by my friend Mr. Charles Pierce, who, in the preface of his
valuable work entitled _The Household Manager_,[28] says that “The
warrior general who looks forward to the successful termination of his
coming engagement, first, with careful study and practised thought,
views in prescience each possible exigency, and provides a means to meet
it, strategically considering the country in which his scene of action
is laid, and the appliances in all respects necessary to his victory.”
The school from which the author of the above-quoted work emanates is
Chirk Castle, where, upwards of twenty years ago, I first made his
acquaintance. His then young master, Colonel Myddleton Biddulph, is the
present Master of the Household to her Majesty. Mr. Pierce was himself
afterwards attached to the household of the reigning Duke of Lucca, and
was fellow-servant and a most intimate friend of Baron Ward, who
ultimately became not only Master of the Household, but Prime Minister,
to the Duke of Parma. Mr. Pierce himself, as is well known, is _maître
d’hôtel_ to the Russian Embassy.

At ten to the minute, the Russians arrived. After the introduction, the
guests sat down, and every jaw was soon doing its best; for in less than
twenty minutes there were only the names of the various dishes to be
seen, and they were upon the bill of fare--which was not eaten. The
Russian general, who has only one arm, ate as much as two men with the
use of both. A servant waited upon him, and carved his meat. Better
looking men I have seen, but not more military. He seemed as hard and as
round as a cannon-ball. Between three and five was the general’s hour of
rising in time of peace. When he told me this, I said, “Then I suppose
in war-time you don’t lie down at all, general?”

“Very little indeed,” was the reply.

“That I can conceive. But in time of peace you must admit four or five
to be rather an early hour to call upon a friend, as you proposed doing
to General Garrett.”

The general was a man of very agreeable manners--spoke French rather
fluently--had a very quick eye--was no sooner seated than he took a
survey of the company. The lunch was much relished--the speeches were
short and to the point, and all went on to everybody’s satisfaction. The
Russian general was particularly pleased, and highly complimented his
host upon the dainty repast, which he could not conceive was to be had
in the Crimea. His aide-de-camp informed me that he was a bit of an
epicure, and always kept a good table when at home. Both the
aides-de-camp were much taken with the engravings from the _Illustrated
News_ pasted round the walls of the general’s dining-room. They could
not make out how it was that General Pelissier wore a Russian uniform,
and Prince Menschikoff the French military order--that General Canrobert
was dressed like the Emperor Alexander II., while his Majesty was
dressed in the French general’s costume. Count Orloff wore the French
imperial uniform; and above all, their general-in-chief, Prince
Gortschikoff, appeared attired as a Highlander, while the Grand Duke
Constantine was rigged out as a Zouave. They remained some time after
the general had left the table, puzzling over these strange

“This,” said I, “was done during the cut-throat time; but now we are at
peace, and in future every one will carry his own head upon his
shoulders, and each military man wear his own uniform and orders. War,”
I continued, “is a mischievous evil, which turns everything topsy-turvy,
while peace will restore every head to its proper owner.”

This explanation appeared to puzzle them more than the thing itself; so
I showed them that the heads had been cut off with scissors and placed
upon other bodies. This amused them so much, that the general had to
wait some time for them. They were entirely engrossed by those
illustrated pasquinades, which appeared to be quite a novelty to them.

The review followed. Lord Alexander Russell commanded. The very next
morning, Colonel Lockhart of the 92nd Highlanders called at my hut, to
consult me about a grand banquet which was to be given at Kamara to Sir
Colin Campbell (only six miles off) before his departure for England.
Though it was impossible for me to undertake it myself, being still
fatigued from the effects of the exertions of the previous day, I could
not refuse my assistance. After a great deal of trouble and persuasion,
I prevailed upon Mr. F. Crockford to undertake it, and we made out the
bill of fare.

The banquet took place on the 9th of May, 1856, to the entire
satisfaction of all present; and a great day it was. The gallant general
had reviewed his troops that morning, and he bade them adieu, as they
were leaving the seat of war, where they had so nobly done their duty
both in and out of the trenches. The air re-echoed with shouts at each
sentence the worthy general uttered, till he was at last so moved by
their enthusiasm that he--Sir Colin Campbell--shed tears. Such was the
interesting scene which took place the morning before Sir Colin Campbell
left his proud Scotch Zouaves in the mountains and vales of Kamara.

A few hours after that touching martial ceremony I had the honour of an
interview with Sir Colin. He thanked me kindly for the trouble I was
taking in getting up the banquet. I availed myself of this opportunity
to request the general to favour me with his autograph. He smiled and
consented. The document forms one of the most interesting relics in my
Crimean archives, as the general addressed it to me, with the date, &c.
(It was also countersigned by General Cameron.)

The banquet at night went off admirably, and the _coup-d’œil_, for a
battle-field, was brilliant. About a hundred sat down to dinner. Sir
Colin Campbell made a very touching speech; so did General Cameron, who
succeeded to the command, and Colonel Stirling, Sir Colin’s
aide-de-camp. The evening closed merrily. After the generals and the
Staff had retired, the bagpipes continued playing, and all that remained
in the banqueting-hall commenced dancing--people, plates, dishes,
bottles, and glasses included. The next day, Sir Colin, after paying a
friendly farewell visit to all, embarked at Kamiesch on board the French

A few days before Sir Colin Campbell’s departure, a grand dinner was
given to General della Marmora at head-quarters, and Captain Ponsonby
called upon me to ask whether I could not prepare something new in
honour of the Sardinian general. I promised to turn my attention to the
matter. As the dinner was fixed for the following day, I had but a short
time to produce any novelty. The idea struck me that a new and well-iced
beverage would be very acceptable during the hot weather. This led to
the invention of the Crimean cup _à la Marmora_, which met with high
approbation, and was quaffed with great gusto at the grand Marmora
dinner at head-quarters. The receipt is as follows:--


     _Proportions._--Syrup of orgeat, one quart; cognac brandy, one
     pint; maraschino, half-a-pint; Jamaica rum, half-a-pint; champagne,
     two bottles; soda-water, two bottles; sugar, six ounces; and four
     middling-sized lemons.

     Thinly peal the lemons, and place the rind in a bowl with the
     sugar; macerate them well for a minute or two, in order to extract
     the flavour from the lemon. Next squeeze the juice of the lemons
     upon this, add two bottles of soda-water, and stir well till the
     sugar is dissolved; pour in the syrup of orgeat, and whip the
     mixture well with an egg-whisk in order to whiten the composition.
     Then add the brandy, rum, and maraschino; strain the whole into the
     punch-bowl, and just before serving add the champagne, which should
     be well iced. While adding the champagne, stir well with the ladle:
     this will render the cup creamy and mellow.

     Half the quantity given here, or even less, may be made; this
     receipt being for a party of thirty.

I perceived that my anticipation had been fully realized, and that after
the proclamation of peace, the whole camp was converted into an immense
banqueting-hall. The continued demand for my assistance in reference to
dinner-parties, and invitations to the same, almost made me regret the
war-time, during which I used to live in comparative peace, at least as
far as high cookery went, having only to attend to my duties, which of
course I did not neglect. In addition to all this, I felt compelled, in
return for all these polite invitations, to tender hospitalities at
home, and thus kept my camp establishment a regular _petit_ Lucullusian

The day fixed for the grand festival was at this period drawing near;
the number invited increased daily, while the temple only occupied the
same space of ground. The places were measured to an inch, and it was
found that it would just hold fifty-four with ease, or sixty if they
were packed like sardines in a tin box. The number was therefore limited
to fifty. To do the thing well for such a party in the Crimea, required
both judgment and perseverance. In the intervals between the hours of
duty, I laid out my plans, how I should not only please, but also
astonish my illustrious guests. A number of regiments were daily
leaving; and this caused fresh invitations to be made and issued, in
order to fill up the vacancies. At last the day arrived. The morning was
very wet, and the sky clouded; two of my men were ill, as was usually
the case when anything of importance was about to take place; and
consequently the commencement was inauspicious. Owing to the rain, to my
great annoyance, the muddy soil of the Crimea accumulated in the hut,
caused by the ingress and egress of half-a-dozen soldiers, who had been
kindly granted for a few hours to fetch some green plants from a distant
ravine to ornament my _fête champêtre_ and harmonical soirée. It was
nevertheless very refreshing to see for the first time on the rocky
summit of Cathcart’s Hill the green branches of the valley and the wild
flowers of the fields. In less than two hours, the entrance of the
villarette, which before only presented the appearance of a comfortable
lucifer match box, or fifth-rate kiosque _à la Turque_, assumed quite a
rural aspect. My six brave fellows had mounted, not to the assault, but
on ladders and cross-beams, those indispensable ornaments in such a
villarette, and, as if by enchantment, had transformed it into a
perfumed bosquet, or retreat worthy of the goddess Flora. Bunches of
flowers, wild lilac, green branches, and evergreens were profusely
spread all over both the interior and the exterior of my villarette.
These were interspersed with small flags--red, blue, green, and yellow
paper lanterns. These decorations gave it quite a fairy appearance. Wax
lights were profusely distributed all round; and in the centre hung a
chandelier of original shape, constructed by the celebrated Tom
Shell-proof, of Snow-hill, London. The entrance was ornamented by a bold
bunch of evergreens and many-coloured flowers. Twelve glass lamps,
procured at an immense expense for this occasion only, were carefully
cleaned, trimmed, and hung along the front and roof of the hut. They had
been painted in blue stripes with ultramarine, by the celebrated
theatrical artist, Corporal Stainer. By twelve o’clock the interior was
finished--tables, benches, sideboards and all. The only thing to be done
was to clear out about half a ton of mud, as that sadly interfered with
the general appearance of the now enchanting spot.

All was progressing satisfactorily in the cooking department; the
weather began to clear up, and at length everything seemed to smile upon
my final and most difficult undertaking. Had this festival proved a
failure, my guests, who would, no doubt, have been polite enough not to
say anything on the point before me, must have formed a very
unfavourable opinion of my gastronomic knowledge, which I should not
have had another chance of retrieving. It was therefore of the utmost
importance that a failure should not occur, or even be thought of. To
my sorrow, I suddenly perceived that the turf which had been freshly put
down a few days previous in my grand green grass-plot and avenue had
turned quite yellow, from the effects of a burning sun. My outside
illumination--viz., lamps made out of ration fat, which then could only
be obtained by purchase (the soldiers knowing the value of it)--would
not consequently produce the effect I intended--the reflection of light
upon the green turf. Ambitious as I was of producing quite a novel
impression upon the minds of my guests, I felt much vexed at this
failure. While deeply pondering over the affair, in walked Colonel de
Bathe, with a most extraordinary long face. He said, “You see me quite
in despair: we have lost Major Neville and his brother, two of our best
madrigal singers, and I really do not think we can sing at all. You have
spoken so highly of our singing-club, and the company you have invited
will all be disappointed.”

“Do come, colonel,” I replied, “and, if necessary, I will sing myself.”

“I will come; but we shall be very imperfect.”

“Never mind: we will make up for that by wit, _bon-mots_, and frolic.”

I succeeded in reassuring the worthy colonel, and he left, promising to
come early. A few minutes afterwards, a man entered, and informed me
that I could not have the knives, forks, crockery, glasses, &c., which
Mr. Crockford had promised, as they had not been returned from Kamara.
He added that they would probably be back in the evening or early the
next morning. The French rolls I had ordered at Little Kamiesch the day
before could not be made in time, and the baker sent to know if common
bread would not do as well. “I should think it would,” said I, in no
pleasant mood. No more American ice was to be had at Kamiesch; and this
was indispensable for the crowning triumph of the affair, upon which I
relied so much--viz., my new cup _à la Marmora_. There were, in
addition, innumerable culinary vexations. It was by no means certain
that the promised band from the Rifles would favour me by attending,
as Lord Alexander Russell was absent, and General Garrett did not like
to grant the necessary permission in his absence, and no one knew when
his lordship would return.


VISITORS ARE articularly requested not to touch The FLOWERS]

Let me observe, the way I first saw the grass turn was not under the
influence of my friend, merry champagne. Not at all; but it had
playfully acted upon my mind, and given me an entirely new and original
idea. No matter how ridiculous it may appear to my reader, it was
original. This was to go to the theatre and get a pot of opal green
colour, and set some military artists to paint the grass, which was
quickly done to perfection. In fact, it was so well executed, that the
horses picketed near were actually taken in, and played all manner of
capers to get loose and have a feed. My guests were astonished, and
could not account for the sudden change, having noticed how brown it
looked in the morning. Well, reader, what think you followed this sudden
bright green inspiration? Why, the arrival of the crockery, &c., bread,
and the American ice, two fresh waiters, and Mr. Crockford’s cook, who
rendered great assistance.

Twilight was conquered by ration fat, lampion-shells were profusely and
artistically placed on the then green grass, tables sumptuously laid
out, the chandelier and wax lights ignited, the globe lamps in front of
the villarette blazing in volcanic splendour, the band of the Rifles
playing, and the noble company as nobly arriving. O Vatel! you felt
gloriously, for your banquet had succeeded; and while your wealthy
patron, the Prince de Condé, was receiving from Louis XIV. the praise
due to your genius, you were no more. All honour to your manes! I, like
you, immortal Vatel, had all the horrors of an unexpected failure before
my eyes. The idea of suicide did not come into my mind, as it did to
yours, noble defunct and incomparable _chef_! probably because I had not
the honour of wearing the sword of the courtier. Though I had a stock of
guns, swords, bayonets, &c., the idea of suicide never struck me,
inasmuch as all these weapons were taken as trophies from the Russians,
who were now friends and brothers, and those emblems of carnage would
have been disgraced if soiled with the blood of so humble an individual
as myself. On the contrary, though inclined to despair, I lost no time,
but opened a bottle of champagne for a friend who had just popped in. At
the second glass--_mirabile dictu!_--the thick curtain which shaded my
brow vanished; the unsightly brown grass turned green, and everything
appeared _couleur de rose_; and though no material amelioration had yet
taken place, I felt that success was certain. _Nil desperandum!_ How
many men who have ceased to live through an anticipated failure would
now be living had they struggled against adverse fate, and not been led
away by the dread of an imaginary evil!

The soirée was indeed in jeopardy; but in revenge I had the
gratification of receiving from every guest invited a polite note,
worded thus: “General, Colonel, or Captain So-and-so, will be very happy
to spend the evening at Monsieur Soyer’s villarette.” General Wyndham,
who was at one time uncertain whether he could come or not, sent his
aide-de-camp to inform me that he should be able to attend, and to know
the hour. Everything, in fact, tended to render my position more
unpleasant; and the proverb, “Plus on est de fous, plus on rit,” was
anything but clear to my mind. It would be clear enough if a good supper
and good entertainment were provided; but if the contrary, I should say,
“Plus on est de fous, moins on rit.” It was three o’clock, P.M., and
nine was the hour on the invitation cards. There remained but six hours
for success or failure.

O Vatel! my noble master in the science of _curée_, I then for the first
time understood the true extent of your devotion to your art.
Humiliation and dishonour awaited you; and Death--yes, Death! god of
Starvation, with his frail, bony limbs--was grinning at you. Fortunately
you lived in an era of gastronomic grandeur, when a _chef de cuisine_
bore a high rank, and had your own aristocratic weapon wherewith to do
the noble deed which gilds your name.

The gallant Colonel de Bathe was the first to arrive, with plenty of
musical support. The programme was settled. Each noble general, as he
arrived, was received _à la militaire_, not, as the song says, “sans
tambour ni trompette,” but _sans cérémonie_. Every one being acquainted,
introductions were not necessary.

At half-past nine the band, which had performed all the while, ceased
playing, and the grand madrigal concert commenced, followed by glees,
&c., and at intervals the band played lively quadrilles, polkas, &c.,
till eleven o’clock, when the supper took place. The band melodiously
accompanied the knife-and-fork chorus, the champagne galop, and pop, pop
of the confined corks. Shortly after, the amiable Lord Rokeby, who had
kindly undertaken the office of chairman, made a most affable and, to
me, interesting speech, dilating in high and flattering terms upon my
mission to the East.

After supper, the band again ceased, and, while they enjoyed their
nocturnal repast, madrigals, glees, duets, solos, &c., followed in rapid
succession. All of a sudden (I happened at the time to be in the back
room) an alarm was given by General Wyndham, who called out, “Soyer,
Soyer, your hut is on fire!” The general was getting up, when a young
officer sprang from beam to beam till he reached the top of the hut,
where a large paper lantern had taken fire and ignited the roof. My
principal fear was for my picture, painted by the late Madame Soyer,
called the “Young Bavarian;” which was the admiration of all my Crimean
visitors, and well known in London amongst the connoisseurs, having
repurchased it at the sale of the great Saltmarsh collection, at Messrs.
Christie and Mason’s, in the year 1846--(subsequently, when travelling
in the South of France, I met on my route the illustrious Horace Vernet,
and in Paris, had the honour of showing him this painting in his study
at the Institute, when he expressed his opinion in the following
words:--“That no female artist had ever painted in such _a bold_ style,
nor with such a truthfulness of colour and design.” He added, it was
worthy of the pencil of Murillo). It hung directly under the
conflagration. But, thanks to the gymnastic agility of our unknown
fireman, calm was soon restored; the band recommenced playing, and the
punch _à la Marmora_ circulated freely, for everything was abandoned for
that exciting mixture, even grogs and champagne. At about two o’clock
Lord Rokeby and General Craufurd left. I then introduced a comic song,
in which all joined, including between two or three hundred spectators
who had collected round the hut. As the hour advanced, the company
diminished; but at five in the morning there were still a few guests
inquiring for their horses. And thus ended the last party on Cathcart’s
Hill previous to the breaking up of the Fourth Division and its return
to England.

The following is an account, from the _Times_, of the banquet, and of
the names of some of my noble visitors:--

     This evening, a number of distinguished guests honoured M. Soyer
     with their presence at supper at his villarette near Cathcart’s
     Hill. The exterior of the hut was illuminated with lamps fed with
     ration fat; the interior was embellished with numerous wreaths and
     festoons of the beautiful natural plants and flowers now so
     abundant over the less-trodden parts of the plateau. Some glees of
     Kücken, Mendelssohn, Fleming, &c., very well executed by Mr. Clarke
     Dalby, Major Colville, R.B., Colonel de Bathe, Scots Fusilier
     Guards, and others, formed an agreeable introduction to an
     excellent supper--a triumph of culinary art over Crimean resources,
     which was, however, soon subjugated in its turn by the ferocity and
     unconquerable steadiness of the British appetite. Lord Rokeby
     proposed M. Soyer’s health, and passed a high eulogium on the
     services he had rendered to the army by his exertions to promote
     good cooking and the use of palatable food; and M. Soyer returned
     thanks with propriety and feeling, acknowledging the aid and
     support he had received from generals, officers, and privates in
     the introduction of his improvements.

     Among the guests were General Wyndham, Chief of the Staff; General
     Lord Rokeby, General Lord W. Paulet, Colonel Lord Alexander
     Russell, Lord Sefton, Sir Henry Barnard, General Garrett, General
     Craufurd, Colonel Blane, Colonel Hardinge, Colonel P. Fielding,
     Colonel Drummond, Colonel Ponsonby, Major Dallas,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Smith, and about thirty other officers.
     About this time twelve months the long rangers, of which we wisely
     held our tongues for fear the Russians would find out how
     unpleasant they were, and redouble their attentions, might have
     interrupted the proceedings very abruptly.



     A final trial--Distribution of the Order of the Bath--Letter from
     Lord Gough--Farewell to the battle-field--Bonfires--Grand
     _coup-d’œil_--Lord W. Paulet’s farewell party--Parting
     visits--Depredations--Morning parade catechism--Stuart’s
     canteen--The Theatre Royal of the Fourth Division--The scenes
     shifted--Soyer’s new invention--Pilgrimage through a deserted
     camp--Sanatorium Hospital--Six cemeteries--Trip to Odessa--Return
     to Balaklava--A pleasant surprise--The yacht _Sylphide_--Letter
     from W. H. Russell--Departures--The Nightingale Monument--The last
     day--General Codrington’s letter--The keys of Balaklava given up to
     the Russians--The place retaken--A parting invitation--Good-by to
     the Crimea.

The following day I begged Sir William Codrington to fix a day for my
final trial, when I intended to place twelve stoves in the 56th
Regiment, then quartered at the back of the vineyard facing
head-quarters, and thus cook for the whole regiment. This would afford
Sir W. Codrington an opportunity of judging of their efficacy, and
enable him to give his opinion upon the subject. Lord Gough had arrived
to distribute the Order of the Bath; and, as his lordship was to remain
a couple of days longer in the Crimea, I was anxious that he should be
present at the inspection. The following Sunday was fixed for the
purpose, and the inspection was to take place after divine service.
Accordingly, Lord Gough, Sir W. Codrington, General Wyndham, General
Barnard, General Garrett, Colonel de Bathe, Colonel Blane, Colonel
Walker, Captain Ponsonby, with their respective Staffs, were present,
and tasted the various kinds of food I had caused to be prepared by two
soldiers only for the whole regiment, about six hundred strong. About
thirty gentlemen had assembled; and they all expressed in high terms
their satisfaction and approval, not only of the quality of the food
produced from the soldiers’ rations with so little trouble, but also of
the small quantity of fuel consumed in its preparation. In corroboration
of this, I the next day received the following letter from Lord Gough:--

     LORD GOUGH begs, with his compliments, to inform Monsieur Soyer
     that he had much pleasure in seeing his new cooking-stoves for the
     army. Any measures which Monsieur Soyer may have in view to
     simplify the cooking arrangements of the soldier will always meet
     with Lord Gough’s hearty approval.

     _Sebastopol, 10th June, 1856._

The French as well as the English camps diminished daily. Each evening
was ushered in by large bonfires, indicative of the early departure of
either French or English troops. This style of farewell to the
battle-field was generally adopted in both armies; but some of the
French, not satisfied with burning their lumber and loose wood, which
was very properly allowed by the authorities for those joyful volcanoes,
commenced setting fire to their huts, kitchens, &c.; for which they were
very severely reprimanded by their general, who, instead of allowing
them to start the following day, as intended, kept them in camp to the
last--compelling them to bivouac upon the spot, and thus fully enjoy the
consequences of their folly, having no kitchens to cook in, nor huts to
lie under. This was a good lesson for the remainder of the army.

The Fourth Division, under the command of Lord William Paulet, received
orders to depart. Every regiment distinguished itself more or less by
its peculiar style of bonfire. They were to be fired simultaneously on
the eve of their departure. Some were raised to the height of thirty
feet; one even exceeded that, with a base of at least sixty feet in
circumference, being composed of not less than ten or twelve tons of
wood and rubbish, brought together by the men of the 57th Regiment, who
worked very hard for some days in getting it ready. The night arrived,
all the bonfires, with the exception of the large one, which was kept
for the last, were fired; and when the smaller ones were about half
consumed, this monster was ignited in four places. The _coup-d’œil_
was indeed grand. The burning of Sebastopol had not offered such a
column of fire in one spot; added to which, all the regiments composing
the division had joined, and were dancing round that mountain of
flame--shouting, singing, playing on marrow-bones and cleavers, and upon
hundreds of tin camp-kettles as a substitute for drums. The camp was
richly illuminated for miles around till about ten o’clock, when, as
usual, all mustered in military order. The burning sky had recovered its
former azure splendour; the stars were twinkling and shooting; and the
next day nothing remained to tell the tale to the new-comers but a kind
of large black seal, about eighty feet in circumference.

That evening I had the pleasure of joining a farewell party, given by
Lord W. Paulet to a number of friends at his head-quarters. The time
passed very merrily and agreeably, leaving a most delightful impression
upon the minds of all.

The next morning, at daybreak, the whole of the division were on their
way to Balaklava. A long red line was seen marching in the distance; the
sound of the bands playing “Cheer, boys, cheer,” was faintly heard,
gradually receding from both sight and hearing. Those brave fellows were
then off for good. The Guards had left their camp some days before; but
they went in detachments--the Coldstreams first, the Grenadier Guards
next, and the Fusiliers last. I paid my respectful farewell visits to
Lord Rokeby, General Craufurd, Colonels Drummond, Foley, &c. &c.

Upon this occasion, Colonel Foley invited me to lunch at their grand
mess-room, which invitation I accepted with great pleasure. Every one
being on the move, invitations to dinner entirely disappeared from the
order of the day. The rations were the only provisions which graced the
last day’s bill of fare. Still, the salt pork, beef, and the fresh meat
were very good, and highly relished by a Crimean appetite: added to
which, the remains of a good English cheese, a salad _à la Zouave_, and
good English draught ale, completed the sumptuous gala. While freely
partaking of the gallant colonel’s hospitality, a number of officers
joined us; amongst whom I recognised the scion of a celebrated epicure,
who sat next me, and commenced manipulating in his plate a most
relishing sauce. Upon tasting this, I could not resist exclaiming--

“Oh! Sefton, Sefton! may your noble ashes repose in peace in your tomb!
The glory of your name has not faded: your grandson, the youthful Lord
Sefton, is an epicure!”

Some of my stoves remained in use in the Crimea till the day of the
departure of the First Division. I was in duty bound to watch over and
rescue them from the hands of the marauding Tartars, who seemed to claim
as their own everything left behind by each regiment, even previous to
the surrender of the Crimea by the Allied Governments.

All that remained of the British army consisted of the 20th with two
Scotch regiments at Kamara, and a body of the Land Transport Corps at
Cathcart’s Hill, (the Land Transport Corps were even at that time
raising their bonfires); and the 56th Regiment at head-quarters, as Sir
William Codrington’s body-guard. So few troops being left upon such a
vast space, made it not only very dull, but also very unsafe, compelling
us to keep loaded guns and revolvers at the head of our beds. The
precaution was most necessary, for, with all our care, we were daily and
nightly robbed by the Tartar Jews who infested the camp. Tents actually
disappeared, and several huts were fired in the English camp; and no one
could detect the authors of these outrages.

The Fourth Division retained its name and the ground, but that was all.
The chief of that colossal body alone remained--General Garrett having
to the last maintained his head-quarters upon the memorable spot. The
loss most felt upon Cathcart’s Hill was the departure of Lord Alexander
Russell’s brigade of Rifles, who were in the habit of parading and
exercising daily upon the plateau. A parting dinner given to his
lordship by General Garrett, and to which I was invited, closed merrily
enough; but the day after their departure the camp was as desolate as a
desert; only one regiment, the 20th, remained. General Garrett and
myself were the only proprietors on that far-famed spot, Cathcart’s
Hill, though no end of new tenants were arriving in shoals; I mean the
rats from deserted camps, who boldly took possession of our
head-quarters. All around had in a few days assumed such an aspect of
desolation, that it appeared to me like a sudden exile from a lively and
brilliant capital to a deserted rock: the beating of drums, sounding of
trumpets, and the harmony of the bands; as well as the eternal morning
parade catechism of the drill-serjeant, shouting with all his might,
“Fall in! eyes fifteen paces to the front!”--or occasionally, as the
French would say, “Les yeux fixes et la tête à quinze pas!” “Shoulder
arms! slope arms!” Now and then, an awkward fellow would be thus
apostrophized by the witty Serjeant: “Now, my man, has not your country
been generous enough to present you with a musket? Then, do your country
justice by learning the use of it.”

The profound silence which succeeded the tumult of camp life would have
depressed the greatest philosopher. Stuart’s celebrated canteen,
attached to the theatre, and which appeared in the series of engravings
already published, was on the move; and Stuart’s head man, Joe, was at
his last score of bottle-breaking, when I called and ordered
half-a-dozen of pale ale.

“You may boast,” he exclaimed, “of being the last served here, for we
are going off to Kadikoi immediately.” I then walked into the theatre.
The stage offered a singular _coup-d’œil_: the figure of a child, as
well as a black doll, were hanging by the neck from a cross beam at the
top of the stage; the elaborately-painted curtain was torn into ribbons,
the scenery partly whitewashed over, and the furniture of the apartment
of Serjeant Blowhard was thrust into Miss Greenfinch’s bedroom; while
Slasher and Crasher had left the theatre in a most dilapidated state.
Female attire, including wings, ringlets, caps, bonnets, bunches of
flowers, crinolines, and toilets of all fashions, bedaubed with chalk,
bismuth, vermilion, and red brickdust, instead of carmine, were
scattered about the stage in such a state that a French _chiffonnier_
would not have disgraced his hamper by including them amongst its
contents. The painting-room floor was like a rainbow; all the powdered
colours had been kicked in every direction, forming a mulligatawny of
shades enough to puzzle an Owen Jones and his disciples. The benches in
the stalls and pit were piled up into a formidable barricade. Nothing
had been respected but her Majesty’s royal arms, which ornamented the
centre of the proscenium. These had been painted by Major Dallas,
General Garrett’s aide-de-camp.

By the aid of a ladder, I carefully removed them, with the intention of
placing them amongst my Sebastopol trophies, as a memento of the
dramatic art in the Crimea. Upon leaving this desolated skeleton temple
of Melpomene, I inquired of Mr. Stuart’s bottle-breaker the cause of
this awful disorder. He told me, frankly enough, that so far as the
wardrobe was concerned, the rats had taken possession, but that for the
remainder, himself and a few friends had done the work of devastation by
way of closing the season. Thus terminated the dramatic performances in
the Theatre Royal of the Fourth Division; and it was, no doubt, a fair
specimen of what happened in other divisions, if left in the hands of
similar good managers.

Indeed, I could not but feel hurt at this sudden devastation, for it was
only a few evenings before that this tumble-down temple of Momus was
gloriously shining through the resplendent glare of a dozen brown
candles, and that the celebrated band of the Rifles (by permission of
Lord A. Russell) was delighting a crowded audience numbering upwards of
five hundred soldiers, when, at the end of the first piece, to the
astonishment of all, and myself in particular, a distinguished artist
and “non-_commissioned_” poet came forward, who, though not in the style
of Victor Hugo or Moore, but rather in the poet_less_ “_or you-go-not
style_,” poured forth the following song, to the amusement of the
audience, who at its conclusion encored it most lustily. The “_poetry_”
(?) ran as follows:--


    A trifling thing, gentlemen, I am going to mention;
    Oh tell me, pray, have you seen this great and new invention,
    To cook in camp I believe it is their intention;
    For Soyer’s patent, I confess, it is a perfect creation.
                                                    Steam! Steam!

    For in it you can burn coal, wood, or patent fuel,
    Put in your meat, and then you’ll find it will soon be doing;
    And when lighted, away it goes, and everything in motion;
    For Soyer’s patent, I confess, it is a perfect creation.
                                                    Steam! Steam!

    They gather round for to see the wonderful man who made it,
    And stand in amaze and have a gaze, and then begin to inspect it.
    All the cocked hats, I believe, say it’s a stunning notion;
    For Soyer’s patent, I confess, it is a perfect creation.
                                                    Steam! Steam!

    It’s greatly approved of, I believe, by all the nation,
    And they are about to contract for this great new invention.
    I sincerely hope that there’s no harm in anything I mention;
    For Soyer’s patent, I confess, it is a perfect creation.
                                                    Steam! Steam!

    _Composed by_ A. THOS. PRICE,
    _Lance Corporal 20th Regiment_.

My presence being discovered, the whole of the troops rose _en masse_,
and favoured me with three cheers, when, mounting a bench, I addressed
them as follows:--

“My worthy friends and brave fellows, allow me to express to you my most
profound gratitude for the honour you have conferred upon me thus
unexpectedly. My humble services have often been approved of by your
superior officers, but believe me, nothing can be more gratifying to me
than your genuine and spontaneous approval of my endeavours to improve
the cooking of the soldiers’ rations; and now that peace has
re-established order amongst us all, I shall only be too happy to devote
my time in instructing you in the plain art of cookery; for, believe me,
it is the desire of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, and your
superiors, that you should live well, long, grow fat, and die happy.”

Shouts of laughter and rounds of cheers terminated this unexpected
dramatic impromptu. The performance in consequence terminated twenty
minutes later than usual.

On leaving this heap of ruins, I felt as though haunted by a day-mare
instead of one worthy of Young’s Night; but I persisted in conquering
the feeling, and in continuing my sorrowful pilgrimage. As if to add to
the gloomy appearance of the deserted camp, the sun, which long threw
his burning rays upon the dry soil, disappeared behind vaporous clouds,
and rain fell fast. Nevertheless, nothing could prevent me carrying out
my first idea, which was to visit in all their loneliness the various
camps. I reasoned thus with myself:--“I am probably the only person who
has the chance of doing this, and, therefore, the only person who will
be able to tell the tale.” In spite of the great desire I had to
continue my journey, as evening was approaching, I was compelled, though
reluctantly, to put an end to my camp review until the day prior to my
evacuating the Crimea; therefore I returned to Balaklava, which place,
together with Kamiesch, alone showed signs of martial movement, the
latter less so than the former. The French troops got away before our
own, and at last there were as many Russians as French at Kamiesch. I
had scarcely anything to do, which was not amusing after having had so
much business continually upon my hands. Mr. Crockford asked me whether
I should like to take a trip to Odessa. I jumped at the proposal with
delight. That gentleman kindly allowed me to invite a few friends, and
assured me that the trip would only occupy five or six days, going and
returning. In less than four hours the list was filled, and two days
afterwards we were on board the _Belle Alar_, but under more prosperous
circumstances than on our former pleasure expedition. The weather was
fine, the vessel properly ballasted, and furnished with provisions of
all sorts, besides a cargo of goods. Our appetites were first-rate; and
after thirty-eight hours of fair steaming, we came in sight of the
far-famed city of palaces--Odessa, into the harbour of which we were at
once admitted.

Thanks to General Lüders, who obtained of the governor a suspension of
quarantine, and Brigadier-General Staunton, whose arrival had been
telegraphed, we were allowed to enter even without passports. Among the
fortunate tourists were General Staunton, Colonel Smith, Major Earle,
Mr. William Russell, Mr. Angel, Mr. Crockford, and myself.

During the trip, our party was as turbulent as the ocean was calm. Each
day commenced and ended with shouts of laughter, contrasting singularly
with the former melancholy days in the camp. I need not relate that
which is so well known to every one--that the most successful parties
are those which are got up _à l’impromptu_. This was the case with this
delightful trip; so much so, indeed, that some who came on board at five
o’clock were not aware of it till two or three.

I do not think I can give a better idea of this delightful trip than by
republishing the following descriptive letter, which appeared in the


_To the Editor of the Times._

     SIR,--From the arid and partly-deserted soil of the Crimea, and the
     everlasting view from Cathcart’s Hill of the now silent ruins of
     Sebastopol, nothing can be more refreshing to the mind than the
     aspect of a civilized and inhabited town.

     I and a few friends agreed to make a trip by water to the famed
     city of Odessa, where we are now enjoying the favours of peace, and
     it is with great pleasure that I return our sincere thanks to the
     authorities and inhabitants of that city of palaces for the most
     cordial and charming reception which could have been conferred upon
     strangers after such a destructive war.

     Being anxious to visit the public buildings, military hospitals,
     and the various institutions, I expressed my wishes to General
     Lüders, which his Excellency not only acceded to, but deputed his
     aide-de-camp, Colonel Scariatine, to accompany us in our visitorial

     The party consisted of Brigadier-General Staunton, 4th Division,
     Adjutant-General Colonel Smith, Major Earle, and myself.

     This noble man, who spoke excellent French and English, was indeed
     a valuable _cicerone_. The most important of the institutions we
     visited are the Military and Civil Hospitals, the Foundling
     Institution, the Salles d’Asile, and the Hospital of the Sisters of
     Charity. We were received at, and shown over, the Hospital by the
     chief medical officer, Dr. Grime, and staff; at the Foundling, by
     the director, Mr. Fourman; at the Salles d’Asile, by the
     inspectress, Madame Pera Ergard; and by the Superior of the Sisters
     of Charity, Madame Marie Retchakoff--one of the latter had just
     arrived from Bakschiserai; she had been all through the campaign,
     and was slightly wounded in the trenches. She related that several
     sisters were killed in Sebastopol, and many wounded during the
     siege; the latter are now recalled to St. Petersburg, and enjoy the
     favour and patronage of the Empress. These ladies were most anxious
     to hear of Miss Nightingale’s doings, and spoke of her with the
     greatest veneration. They listened with much interest to my account
     of that excellent lady’s efforts in the cause of humanity.

     All these institutions, though based upon similar principles to
     those in England and France, possess a type of their own, both as
     regards the expense and management. Cleanliness, simplicity, and
     judicious economy seem to be closely studied in all the

     The culinary department, which, of course, was of vital interest to
     me, I found extremely clean and well constructed, though rather
     complicated. The boilers are made of wrought iron, which I at first
     sight feared was copper, but the lids only were made of that showy
     but dangerous metal in such vast establishments, where the
     apparatus is in continual use and tinning difficult to be often

     We were at the Orphan’s School in time to taste their food, which
     consists of a basin of soup, one pound of meat, one ounce of
     oatmeal, and one pound and a half of white bread. The soup is of a
     thinnish nature, and strongly flavoured with pleasant aromatic
     herbs, the whole forming, no doubt, a very wholesome and nutritious
     food, and well adapted to the climate. Their beverage, which is the
     one of the soldiers, is called Quielyë and Chtschy in Russian, and
     Quataee in the Polish language. It is made with rye, mead, and a
     small portion of hops, requiring only a few hours to prepare it.

     I must say that to an uninitiated palate it is anything but a
     pleasant drink, but, no doubt, very refreshing and agreeable when
     used to it; for after drinking one goblet of it my thirst was
     allayed for several hours during one of the hottest days I had
     experienced for some time.

     Now, a few words for the epicures. The sturgeon, which is here
     abundant, and in England despised and valueless, forms a principal
     and an exquisite article of food, which is partly owing to the
     method they have of dressing it. On my return I intend to try and
     reinstate this queenly fish in its pristine fame.

     Fresh caviar, which is made from the roe of the fish, is daily
     eaten by the Russian population as an introduction to the dinner.
     Crawfish of an extraordinary size are caught in the small rivulets
     close to the town; they are cheap and very plentiful. The tail and
     claws are generally the only parts eaten, and tons weight of the
     part which makes the exquisite bisque d’écrevisses are monthly
     thrown away.

     The receipt of this excellent soup I have promised to send to the
     worthy host of the Europa Restaurant, he having promised to give it
     a trial, and thereby enrich his already luxurious bill of fare.

     With the highest consideration, I have the honour to remain, your
     very obedient,


     _Europa Hotel, Odessa, June 23._

We left the far-famed city of Odessa, and thus joyfully terminated our
trip to that land of new friends.

Upon our return to Cathcart’s Hill, we found that General Garrett and
suite had removed to the commandant’s house at Balaklava, the general
having succeeded to that important post at the departure of Colonel
Hardinge, which post he retained till the final close of this great
political and military drama. My majordomo, my engineer, and followers,
were not able, with all their bravery, to resist the nightly attacks of
the Tartar camp-rovers. Robbery it was impossible to prevent; for they
in one night, as I heard, cleared off everything out of doors, as well
as an old bell tent and a box with the servant’s clothes. The matter at
last grew so critical, that my people were obliged to fire upon them in
the night at random. Such Arabian marauders are worthy of the finest
type of Zouaves for pillaging.

I found also, on my return, that my people had, immediately after I set
off on my trip, left the hill, at the recommendation of General Garrett.
He kindly sent word that he did not consider it safe for them to remain
there any longer. They were quartered in one of the wards close to the
General Hospital, where some of the Sardinian sick remained. They had
all daring, adventurous, and extraordinary anecdotes of what had
occurred during my absence to relate. Shell-proof, in particular,
pretended to have wounded several in the nocturnal engagements.

On his departure for Odessa, Mr. Wm. Russell had left his iron castle,
with his farm-house, stables, garden, and dependencies, in a most
nourishing condition; but upon his return that gentleman found the
castle pulled down, folded up, and packed ready for removal by land
pirates. He thus describes his feelings on the occasion:--

     MY DEAR MONSIEUR SOYER,--What do you think? I am now a houseless,
     homeless wanderer: they have pulled down my house, so it is really
     time for me to evacuate the Crimea. The shell of the house only
     stands; and as I am not a lobster or an oyster, that will scarcely
     give me a shelter; so I must hang out on Cathcart’s Hill, in the
     old cave where Sir John Campbell lived long ago.


Upon returning to Balaklava, we found it but a dismal place. Everybody
you met--and the number was not great--quietly asked, “What, not gone
yet!--when are you going?”

“In a few days,” was the general reply, or perhaps “to-day” or

For my part, I told every one who inquired that I had gone, and what
they saw going about dressed like me was only my shadow. Joking apart, I
may state, for the information of those whom I respect and who deserve
to know the truth, my reason for remaining so long was this: I was in
duty bound to see the remainder of my field-stoves, which were in use
till the last moment of the campaign, shipped for England. Not only was
I responsible for them, but I had to give my official report to Sir
William Codrington, and close the mission entrusted to me by the British

Glad was I to be once more at liberty, as my health, though partially
restored, was anything but satisfactory. The Commander-in-chief had gone
to Odessa only for a few days, it is true; but during his absence there
was nothing doing. Balaklava was deserted, the camp lifeless; Kadikoi
still more so--not a hut, tent, shed, store, canteen, shop, or stable,
was inhabited. Brick and stone houses, as well as hospitals, were to let
at the very moderate price of nothing at all, and glad to get tenants at
that rather reduced rate. It was not at all extraordinary for one to
rise a poor man in the morning, and at night find oneself a large
proprietor. Every person, upon leaving, presented you with rows of
houses, shops, &c., which they could not sell or take away.
Nevertheless, all was stale, flat, and unprofitable, as a day or two
after coming into possession you yourself had to give them up. Riding
through the camp, even at mid-day, was a dangerous experiment, as it was
invaded by hundreds of people of all kinds and tribes, who prowled
about, pillaging everything they could put hands upon. Therefore
Balaklava was the only safe quarter, and dull enough into the bargain.
The heat was great, and amusement scanty. Like the song of the
Manchester operatives, “we had no work to do-oo-oo.” Eating little,
drinking much, and sleeping all day, was our principal occupation. I
removed from the General Hospital to a very comfortable hut, then
recently occupied by an officer of the Commissariat, comprising three
rooms, a stable, and yard.

About noon one day, while in deep slumber, I was suddenly aroused by a
joyful voice. It came from Captain Hall, General Codrington’s
aide-de-camp. “Hallo!” said he, “I fear I am disturbing you.”

“Not at all, captain; pray walk in--I have nothing to do. I was taking
an Oriental nap, which calms one’s senses, to that extent that I had in
imagination travelled as far as England and back again to my duty in the
East in less than half an hour.”

“I have done more extraordinary things than that,” said he. “By the same
conveyance I have been as far as the East Indies and back to
head-quarters in the Crimea in twenty minutes.”

“You have certainly beaten me; and I think the human mind can at any
time beat the electric telegraph for speed.”

“What do you intend doing to-morrow?”

“The same as to-day, captain--nothing.”

“Captain Leyland and family have just arrived in the harbour in the
beautiful yacht, the _Sylphide_. I have spoken to him about you, and he
will be glad to make your acquaintance. They called upon you at
Cathcart’s Hill, but you were at Odessa. If you like to see that
gentleman at once, I will introduce you.”

“Most happy, captain.”

In a short time we were climbing up the side of the bulky _Sylphide_, an
immense yacht. From her deck, her beauty was seen to the best advantage.
The real Sylphide was, however just perceptible, surrounded by a group
of gentlemen and ladies, beneath a large union-jack which formed an
awning upon deck. This was no other than Miss Leydell, a beautiful lady
eighteen years of age, with blue eyes, fair hair, rows of pearls for
teeth--in fact, a real Sylphide, a sight of whom would have driven
Taglioni to despair. After I had had the honour of an introduction to
her sylphideship and the surrounding group, the conversation became
animated. The topic was upon a monster gipsy party which was to take
place the following day in the valley of Baidar, and to which I received
an invitation, no sooner made than accepted by your humble servant. The
captain then offered to show us over his yacht, which might be compared
to a nobleman’s floating house, for elegance, perfection, and comfort.

The Land Transport Corps and Commissariat had all left, and only the
General-in-chief and Staff remained, forming the last link of the chain
which still bound them to the Crimean soil. They were at the time
preparing for an excursion to Odessa, on a visit to General Lüders. The
excellent account of the courteous reception we had received at his
hands, as well as from the inhabitants of that beautiful city, rendered
them more anxious to go. Miss Nightingale was preparing for her
departure. I was waiting the closing of the Land Transport and General
Hospitals, to see my field-stoves embarked; and after delivering them in
person to Captain Gordon, I was anxious to follow. Balaklava church, now
deprived of its sacerdotal character, was being prepared for the
reception of the Commander-in-chief upon his return from Odessa, as
head-quarters had been given up to the original proprietors. General
Wyndham, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, had left for England.

The _Algiers_ had arrived in port, to conduct Sir William Codrington to
England, via, Constantinople and Malta. A few days afterwards, Miss
Nightingale and nurses left for Scutari. All the hospitals in the
Crimea were then closed.

A few days after the departure of Miss Nightingale, a marble monument of
immense size arrived, and was erected, by an order left by that lady,
between the Sanatorium heights and the Sardinian graveyard and monument,
situated on the peak of a mountain. It is perceptible from a great
distance at sea. The Nightingale Monument is a monster marble cross,
twenty feet high, of beautiful Marmora marble. I believe it was ordered
and paid for by that benevolent lady, and dedicated by her to the memory
of the brave, and the deceased Sisters of Charity. Nothing was written
upon it when we left; but the following line was, as I was informed, to
be inscribed:--

    Lord have mercy upon us.
    Gospodi pomilore nass.

Shortly after the return of Sir W. Codrington, Sir John Hall, the chief
doctor, and Dr. Mouat departed. The only acting parties now left upon
the Crimean shores after the awful struggle were, General Sir William
Codrington, Admiral Freemantle, Rear-Admiral Stewart, General Garrett,
Colonel Halliwell, Major Dallas, Captains Hollis and Barnard, Colonels
Hugh Smith and Ross, and Captain Gordon; Mr. Osborn, the Commissariat
officer, and Mr. Fitzgerald, the purveyor.

The last day, so anxiously waited for and so sweetly anticipated, had
arrived. It was ushered in by nightly burnings of huts and canteens.

The day before our departure, and the one prior to the surrender of
Balaklava to the Russians, being fixed for my grand review, after in
vain endeavouring to induce several individuals to accompany me, I had
to go alone, as nobody else took any interest in my solitary pilgrimage.

Even my Snow-hill Zouave at the same time pretended that he had too much
to do to waste his valuable time, as he called it--valuable indeed was
the word; for at that instant my Cockney Zouave, the brave, was busily
engaged making a family drawing. A Stanfield would have been at a
standstill at the ingenuity of this modern Joseph Vernet, as a marine
painter. Miss Nightingale’s carriage had the night previous arrived at
my domicile from a store in the Land Transport Corps camp, where I
rescued it from a heap of vulgar wagons; it was now standing before the
door of my hut, which faced the General Hospital, and had attracted the
attention of Mr. Landells, the corresponding artist of the _Illustrated
London News_, who was first struck at the many peculiarities of this
vehicle, and afterwards more so with the production of my artist, when
he broke out into a genuine shout of laughter, after gazing for an
instant on my Zouave’s picture. Nothing for originality could have
matched it, but a late Turner, in its _demi-chef d’œuvre_, from which
the halo of glory had departed, and age had left genius alone
galavanting from his palette to its now immortal canvas. Turner did I
say--yes, and without disgracing the name of that great man; for in the
presence of Mr. Landells, my modern Stanfield, who was anxious to gather
as much as he could for the edification of his large family on a small
sheet of foolscap, and being compelled from the great heat of the
morning sun to keep in-doors, would occasionally get up and peep round
the corner. On being asked by Mr. Landells how he could see from where
he was sitting the entire range of the harbour, and more particularly
the Genoese Tower, which was situated directly opposite the back of my
hut, my clever Zouave, disgusted with Mr. Landells’ ignorance of the
rudiments of sketching, and vexed at being disturbed, quietly replied,
“D--- n it! did you not see me turn round the corner.”

“Pray don’t, my dear sir,” I exclaimed, “interrupt my artist; as you may
perceive he is a regular Turner--round the corner, I mean.”

With the courage of Don Quixote, but without a Sancho Panza, I undertook
my grand military review. I could not but regret the absence of my brave
travelling gent, Peter Morrison, who, through an assumed illness, had
three months previous abandoned the field of glory, thus terminating his
brave and brilliant military career; for had he been still with me, I
might have depended upon his formal refusal to follow me.

It was six in the morning: the sun was shining feebly through watery
clouds; the breeze blew freshly; the road was moist, my pony in good
order, sandwich-case full, leather bottle filled with brandy-and-water,
and my revolver loaded. My mind was full of anxiety and wild reverie,
for I was about to pass a review of, to me, a defunct army, with the
fortunes of which I had been so intimately connected during the war. I
knew that upon my return to England I should only meet a few fragments
of this splendid force, and not the entire mass, as I had done in the
Crimea. I had twelve hours before me.

I commenced at the Sanatorium Hospital, which had been to me such a
scene of animation and vivid interest. A mournful silence reigned in
this small wooden city. My kitchens had suffered the least in the
terrible ordeal; all the framework and brick stoves were still standing,
and looked just as if waiting to be again put in action. The grand row
of huts forming the various wards, without being much disturbed, were
rather in a state of dilapidation. Lastly, I visited Miss Nightingale’s
sanatorium residence, situated on the peak of a rock at the end of the
row of huts. This wooden palace, with its rough verandah, was divided
into three separate apartments, giving it a more cheerful appearance
than the rest. The iron stove, and its rusty pipe, beds, &c., had been
removed, but the remainder of the furniture was intact. Tables, benches,
wooden stools, empty pots and bottles which had contained medical
comforts, a few rags, a piece of an apron, no end of waste paper, a pair
of wooden shoes, and a live cat that appeared to have lived upon the
remnants of the kitchen-diets, or more likely the rats, met my inquiring
gaze. I caught Miss Puss and closeted her in Miss Nightingale’s
store-room, with the wooden stool in daily use, intending to send for
both at night. The latter I proposed to keep as a relic, and to restore
the former to society by either taking him on board ship or letting him
loose in the town. I sent my servant; but the pillage had
commenced--the cat was gone, and I only got the stool.

Anxious to continue my tour of inspection, I ascended the mountain
towards the old Sardinian camp, lately occupied by a few English
regiments shortly before embarkation. In the space of a few hundred
yards I passed not less than six cemeteries--viz., the one for the
Sisters of Mercy and doctors, Sailors’ Hospital, Sanatorium, a large
Turkish one, and two belonging to the Sardinian troops. Leaving the
Marmora Monument on the left and the Nightingale Cross on the right, I
merely cast a _coup-d’œil_ to the tumble-down Sardinian hospital and
fragment of camp, and took the road to Kamara. Not a soul did I meet for
three miles while crossing the rustic road, cutting immediately through
the peak of these lofty mountains, with their base in the Euxine on one
side, and on the other, through deep ravines, solemnly reposing on
Balaklava’s glorious plain. No, nothing but a poor horse, who had been
ineffectually shot, was grazing near a pool of blood. Life, the mother
of all, seemed to have rescued him from the grasp of Death--the animal
was no longer bleeding, the perforation made by the bullet appeared to
be healing up. I gathered him a heap of grass, gave him some water from
an adjacent rocky rivulet, washed his wound, and to my regret abandoned

Shortly after, I crossed through the late camp of the Highland Division,
through the vales, dales, and rocky mountains of Kamara. Russian
officers and soldiers had taken possession of Sir Colin Campbell and
General Cameron’s head-quarters, with its green turret. Although no
sentries were posted, any quantity of Tartars were wandering about laden
with spoils of the deserted camp. What a contrast! Only a few days ago
this picturesque spot was all life and animation; indeed the cloth was
hardly removed from the festive board, the echo of the shrill pibroch
was still vibrating through the adjacent mountains. It was there, only a
short time since, that I bade farewell to the brave generals, Sir Colin
Campbell and Cameron. Space will not allow me further to descant on the
past beauties of this scene; a volume could be filled with its
splendours. Not a mile from there stand the fortifications, and
mud-built huts of the Sardinians, looking more like a deserted
rabbit-warren than the abode of an army; it was on this spot they
bravely withstood the attack of the enemy at the battle of the Tchernaya
on the 16th of August, 1855. Gipsy families had taken possession of a
farm and small church on the left, which is so well known. I looked with
amazement at the once blooming gardens of the French camp, and the
myriads of wild flowers. Death and desolation seemed then to be the only
attendants on this once fascinating scene. Crossing the plain of
Balaklava at full gallop, over the celebrated ground where the grand
charge of cavalry took place, a distance of several miles, I perceived a
white speck: it was the remains of the grand ball-room built by the
French in honour of the birth of the Imperial Prince. Heaps of ruins
were perceptible at a great distance; this was the once over-populated,
but now deserted, Kadikoi. A few minutes after I reached the plateau of
Inkermann, arriving near the celebrated windmill where, at the time of
this battle, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and staff were
encamped (see Addenda). I next proceeded through the park of artillery,
and went direct to the Light Division’s head-quarters, carefully
inspecting the late abode of Lord William Paulet, where once more I met
with a most cheering reception, this time from a Tartar family who had
taken possession, and they supplied myself and horse with refreshment.
The only gloomy reminiscence from this spot was the sight of the
numerous graveyards, where mother earth had wrapped in her bosom all
that was mortal of many hundreds of her brave sons. At the bottom of the
ravine the watering-place for the horses still remained. The water, as
usual, was gurgling on its way from tub to tub; an abandoned mule was
alone slaking his thirst where once hundreds of horses were to be seen
drinking. From here it took me only a few seconds to reach the Second
Division and General Barnard’s head-quarters. The Russians by this time
had indeed taken possession of all he had left there, though still I
must say that all things were here kept in good order; labouring men
were making a garden close to the hut. Soon after this, roaming to the
top of Cathcart’s Hill, I found the theatre and canteen in perfect
keeping, both having been burnt to the ground. Soyer’s villarette,
though very dilapidated, still remained. The green plot of grass was in
great disorder, no doubt the work of the loose horses, who, anticipating
a feed, had found to their disgust that art, for once, had been
triumphant over nature, and they accordingly vented their spite upon the
painted grass. The clergyman’s hut had been respected. General Garrett’s
palazzo had been invaded by an indescribable _miscellanea_ of animals.
The rocky grotto, which had been severally tenanted by General Sir John
Campbell, General Wyndham, General Paulet, General Bentinck, and his
Grace the Duke of Newcastle, was left to the mercy of the rats, who here
vegetated by hundreds; the floor was strewn with rags, paper, and other
rubbish, which had been gathered by these industrious and destructive

Immediately after ascending and descending three steps, hat in hand, I
paid my last solemn duty and respects to the resting-place of the dead
brave. A picture indeed it was to see the respect paid to those who had
so gloriously died for their country’s cause--Père la Chaise or Kensal
Green could not look in better condition than this solitary cemetery.
With my heart full of emotion I bade adieu to this consecrated spot, and
retired. Once more, and for the last time, I gazed on the ruins of
Sebastopol. Life seemed to have deserted this once mighty city; one
solitary chimney alone emitted smoke; the sun was still shining on this
defunct place, which a few days previous I had visited in detail, and
found still in the deserted state so often described.

Crossing Lord A. Russell’s Rifle’s quarters, I soon arrived in the Third
Division. General Adams’s villarette had been turned into a farmhouse;
sheep and other cattle grazed in the ravine.

From this spot I visited the General Hospital located in this division;
which I found in a similar state as the Sanatorium. Not a sign of life
was perceptible in this mournful spot, where so lately I had witnessed
so many painful scenes. From here I journeyed to the Brigade of Guards,
the theatre of my semi-martial _début_, having previously inspected the
intermediate camp. All was as silent as the grave. A line of obstruction
lay on the ground where once the busy railway passed. The Rokeby Castle
and its vicinity had the appearance of a travelling caravan of gipsies
reposing; children in rags escaped from the group to solicit alms; a few
halfpence contented them. In the camp, the kitchen and a number of huts
had been burnt down; the mess-room of Colonel Foley was still ornamented
with the rustic chandelier which had been bequeathed to me by the
gallant colonel before his leaving. Colonels Walker, De Bathe, and the
late Colonel Drummond’s habitations were selected as a home by the
wandering tribe of gipsies.

General Craufurd’s head-quarters were uninhabited; a few loose horses
were grazing near, on the celebrated cricket-ground. The close of my
visit was to the English and French head-quarters; in the former I was
informed the proprietor had reinstated himself on his domains. The
turmoil and traffic of war had here given place to the quietude and
repose of peace. The post-office, telegraph, and printing machines had
ceased their movements; the vineyards alone appeared refreshing to the
eye. Dr. Hall’s snuff-box hut was left open, and partly unroofed;
General Wyndham’s quarters were quite deserted. The rope curtains taken
from the Redan, and laid on the ground before the hut door, was all that
remained which I could recognise, as they had upon my demand, been
presented to me by the general’s aide-de-camp, whose name, to my regret,
has escaped my memory.

The French head-quarters presented a similar aspect, but was more
animated by crowds of adventurers.

Having on my way home taken a glimpse at the ruins of the Seacole
Tavern, Land Transport Corps, Army Works Corps, and hospital, I arrived
at Bleak House (the head-quarters of Mr. Doyne the engineer), which was
drearier than ever, and, like a lost balloon in mid air, entirely
deserted; all that remained was the almost indescribable view which, at
one glance, stamped the scene as something more than beautiful. From
the rock where I stood I could pass in review the remainder of the
camp, as yet unexplored by me. On my left once lay Colonel Wood’s park
of artillery, and towards it were a few mules clambering, led by
Tartars. At the foot of the hill were Captain Gordon’s late quarters;
further on, on the next mound, were the head-quarters of the Land
Transport Corps, in the occupation of Colonel M’Murdo and Captain Evans;
but the most striking object in view was the combined Railway Station
and Engine House, once the focus of noise, but now the abode of repose.
In abandoning this rural spot, and running my eye a few hundred yards
below me, lay a most charmingly built villarette, most suitably called
Prospect House, which was the private residence of Mr. Doyne. Science
had here conquered what was wanting in material; the goddess Flora had,
like the owner, abandoned this pretty landscape; the dry soil and the
sun’s rays had “dishabilled” each root from its flower. The cavalry camp
and its numerous rows of stables were the last I visited. Dusk gently
stole over the horizon when I re-entered the Col of Balaklava. The stars
were brightly shining; it was nine o’clock; every bell in the harbour
was tolling. Before retiring to rest no less than thirty-seven
cemeteries did I count on my daily tablet, which I had passed during my
solitary wandering.

The night before the surrender of Balaklava, a large fire broke out in
the village of Kadikoi, which, had the wind been high, would have
destroyed more than a thousand huts. As usual, the miscreant who had
done the mischief escaped detection. General Sir W. Codrington was much
vexed at this, as some huts had been sold to the Russian officers. I
was, in consequence, deputed by Mr. Bennett, of the Army Works Corps,
who was just leaving in another vessel, (at that time I was on board the
_Argo_, and ready to sail the following day) to accompany the Russian
officer to Sir W. Codrington, to inform him of the fact that the money
had been received, and to request that it might be returned. Sir
William, though overwhelmed with business, it being the eve of his
departure, kindly attended to the Russian officer’s request; and the
next morning, as I was going on board the _Argo_, I had the pleasure of
meeting the Commander-in-chief on his way to the spot where the fire had
taken place, in order to assure himself that the huts burnt were those
which had been paid for. I had a short walk and conversation with Sir
William upon various subjects, and took the opportunity of thanking him
for the following letter, with which he had kindly favoured me,
containing his opinion of my culinary services during the war:--

BALAKLAVA, _July 9th, 1856_.

     I believe Monsieur Soyer to have given great assistance in showing
     the soldier how to get the best meal from the food that is given to
     him; and I have no doubt Monsieur Soyer’s stoves accomplish this
     purpose in a standing camp or barracks with but little expenditure
     of fuel. It gives me great pleasure to say that Monsieur Soyer has
     always been ready to advise and personally superintend the carrying
     out improvements in the system of cooking: his knowledge and
     attention have therefore been of service to the army in the Crimea.

W. CODRINGTON, _General_.

We then parted, the general going to Kadikoi; and I, to select my berth,
and see Miss Nightingale’s carriage shipped.

The day turned out fine, though rather gloomy in the early part, and
very windy. As the last day of such a series of fine weather, it was
anything but a promising farewell. At twelve precisely, the keys of
Balaklava were to be given up. A picket of the Land Transport Corps were
placed on the small bridge at the Col of Balaklava.

A few minutes after, three or four gentlemen sailors, accompanied by
some parties whom we at first took for heroic Kadikoi tradesmen, arrived
at full gallop, crying out--“The Russians are coming!” which report
spread alarm through the camp, and in less than two minutes caused all
the troops, twenty-five in number, to be under arms, and rush full speed
upon the assailants, by whom they were entirely defeated--as in a few
minutes Balaklava was retaken, and has ever since remained in the hands
of the Russians. Thus ended that friendly battle of which I was so
anxious to be an eye-witness, where champagne flowed freely in lieu of

The grand reception and ceremony was to take place at the Commandant’s
head-quarters. A few minutes after twelve, Captain Stamaki, the new
governor of Balaklava, made his appearance, accompanied by only one
aide-de-camp. Being met by the English authorities, he made a full stop,
and the password was exchanged, I believe, in the Greek language. The
governor of Balaklava then galloped into his new kingdom. In about
twenty minutes a body-guard of about seventy men, some on foot and some
mounted, made their appearance. The horsemen, upon nearer approach, we
found to be a picket of Cossacks. When about one hundred yards from the
bridge, the British picket went towards them--the Russians having
halted. This conventional performance lasted but a few minutes; and
then, the British posts were relieved by the Russians as they passed on
their way to the commandant’s, where they were received by Sir W.
Codrington, General Garrett, Admirals Freemantle, Stewart, Captain
Codrington, &c. &c. A squadron of the 56th, the last regiment remaining
in the Crimea, were in attendance with their band. On one side were the
English, and the Russians opposite, for the first time on duty facing
each other in friendly feeling. The centre was occupied by the
authorities. Amongst the group of lookers-on was the illustrious Mrs.
Seacole, dressed in a riding-habit; and for the last time this excellent
mother was bidding farewell to all her sons, thus ending her benevolent
exertions in the Crimea. Having given her my parting salute, I left the
_mère noire_ for the Black Sea. The sun shone brightly upon that
animated group, now performing the last scene of the great drama enacted
upon those shores.

A few minutes after the curtain had fallen, spectators and performers
had separated, and all were entering upon their new duties. The last
remnant of the British army was that day ordered to sail for home.

The weather, which had been rather boisterous, increased in violence;
and in consequence, the captain of the _Argo_, with whom I had been in
company since the morning to witness the grand closing scene, made sure
that we should not sail till the next day. He therefore proposed
inviting several of the Russian officers to dine on board. This I
immediately communicated to them in French, and they politely accepted
the invitation. The party was six in number: among those invited, was
Monsieur le Conte de Maison, a French nobleman, who had lived many years
in Russia, and was a large proprietor in the Crimea. After replying to
several of his questions, I told him my name. He appeared doubly
interested, having heard, as he said, so much about me in the Crimea. In
Russia this gentleman was looked upon as an epicure, and probably the
interest he felt in my acquaintance had something to do with the good
dinner he anticipated. Dinner was to have been upon the table at six,
and at half-past five the boat of the _Argo_ was to fetch them on board.
All was settled, and a pleasant evening with our new friends expected. A
violent shower of rain scattered us in all directions, and, much to our
sorrow, we never met again.

We had hardly regained the ship, when Admiral Stewart came on board and
ordered the captain to sail immediately. I went home through the rain to
inform my people of the sudden change of orders, and found they had
already heard the news and had started. I arrived just in time to
prevent a Tartar stealing one of my horses, of which I had made a
present to Mr. Smith, a wine-merchant, as there was no possibility of
selling him. Horse-dealing with the Russians about that time was pretty
much after this fashion: a rather decent horse would fetch from three to
five roubles--which latter sum makes a pound sterling. Under these
circumstances, to place them in good hands was not only a charity, but a

Everybody had got on board, and the new-comers were under shelter. The
rain fell heavily, and not a soul did I meet in my way from the General
Hospital to the _Argo_, which was lying at the other side of the
harbour. Nobody was out but myself, my horse, and my umbrella, which I
had much difficulty in holding up in the gale I was then braving. The
thousands who had witnessed and mingled with the noisy crowd which for
so many months had encumbered the place, can form but a faint idea of
the gloomy appearance of the desolate Balaklava.



     Farewell to the Crimea--Last glimpses--A collision--Rough
     weather--A strange coincidence--The Russian foundling--His
     history--A metamorphosis--The Sultan’s banquet--Sight-seeing at
     Constantinople--Last visit to the City of Palaces--“The Culinary
     wonder of all nations”--Holiday tour--The Author makes his bow.

On board ship all was bustle and confusion. As the vessel steamed slowly
out, we passed the few remaining steamers, including the bold _Algiers_,
Captain Codrington, which was smoking with might and main. We went
ahead, digging our way through the mountainous waves, which appeared to
have accumulated in the harbour purposely to say farewell, or dash our
brains out against the bulwarks or the perpendicular rocks of the bay.
Black, sulphurous, and reddish clouds were rolling from mountain to
mountain, burying the peaks of each in their course, and giving the
aspect of a universal deluge, by the union of earth to heaven. We could
perceive nothing excepting now and then a glimpse of two white spots:
one was the Sardinian funeral monument, dedicated to their defunct
heroes; the other, the white marble Nightingale Cross, which, as I have
before mentioned, had just been erected by that lady to the memory of
departed heroes, and the deceased Sisters of Charity and Mercy. So rough
a day had not visited us since that eventful one on which Sebastopol had
fallen. It was getting dark, and a misty rain kept falling, which made
any but joyful reminiscences of our final departure from the theatre of
war and the arid soil of the Crimea. The sable veil of night soon fell
over our colossal steamer, the _Argo_, as she pitched and rolled in the
hollow of the sea, having on board three hundred horses--a rather
awkward cargo,--besides having been only recently patched up from some
serious damage she had received in consequence of a collision with a
French man-of-war. It had made a large hole in her, and carried away her
figure-head. She had been for some time in the greatest danger in
consequence of this, and though not materially so on the night of our
departure, the remembrance of the accident was disagreeable enough to
make all uncomfortable and spoil our appetites. A few extras had been
added to the bill of fare in anticipation of the visit of our Russian
friends; but I beg to inform my readers that I and a few of my
_compagnons de voyage_ saw no more of the banquet than did our
much-disappointed guests on shore, who may probably think the invitation
was a joke played off upon them by the captain, and that he was aware of
the time of his departure.[29]

At about eleven, most of the passengers retired to their fully-inhabited
cabin. The captain passed the night upon deck; so did I partly, as
Morpheus often refuses to visit me when I am upon the mighty ocean, in
either rough or smooth weather. Three times was the deck submerged by
the heavy seas; washing the passengers from larboard to starboard, and
_vice versâ_--a sort of gymnastic exercise neither pleasant to man nor
beast. Several horses broke their lashings and fell during those heavy
shocks. The next morning was not more pleasant, but the afternoon turned
out fine. At about three everybody was on deck, cheerfully conversing,
walking, reading, smoking, &c. Nothing, I believe, is so soon forgotten
as rough weather at sea, especially when the sun favours one with a few
brilliant smiles. The dinner-table was well attended, and everybody very
chatty. I sat near the captain and General Garrett. The former (whose
anxiety seemed to have entirely disappeared) said to me, “I am going to
relate a curious incident respecting yourself, Monsieur, of which you
are perhaps not aware, but you will call it to mind when I tell you.”

“What is it? I hope it is nothing likely to bring me into discredit, or
to shock my modesty?”

“On the contrary, it is all in your favour.”

“Such being the case, pray proceed. What think you, General Garrett?”
said I.

“By all means,” he replied.

“Do you remember,” the captain began, “on the morning of the 8th
September, as you were coming back to your camp, meeting with two naval
officers who were endeavouring to pass the lines in order to get to
Cathcart’s Hill and have a sight of the storming of Sebastopol?”

“That I do; and what’s more extraordinary, I do not know their names: in
fact, I could not make out who they were, nor where they came from.”

“These are the very points on which I am about to enlighten you. You
rendered them an important service on that occasion by your hospitality,
for which I can assure you they are even to this day very grateful.”

“They were very welcome; but who were they?”

“At the time the adventure occurred, they both belonged to this ship:
one was our doctor, and the other the son of a member of the company,
who intends, upon your arrival in England, to give you an invitation to
spend a few days at his seat near Southampton.”

“I am much obliged; but pray, when you see them, say I am already highly
repaid for anything I did, as it was entirely through them I had the
high honour of dining with General Windham upon the day on which he
immortalized himself as the hero of the Redan.”

“You don’t say so!” exclaimed the captain.

Perceiving his astonishment, I related the circumstances mentioned in a
former chapter. Of course these were well known to General Garrett.

It was with regret I was leaving the Crimea without knowing the heroes
of this simple, though to me singular, adventure. How strange it is that
at last, and upon my way home, I should ascertain that which I had so
often inquired about!

A few rounds of champagne to their health and prosperity terminated this
singular affair.

The invalided _Argo_ had regained her perpendicular upon the smooth
surface of the ocean, and stood as firm as St. Paul’s upon its
foundations. In fact, the good vessel appeared quite motionless, and
made our ocean saloon as lively as any upon _terra firma_. The night
seemed to be jealous of the fineness of the day, and not a breath of
wind disturbed its serenity. The unwieldy ship glided over the sea,
which flashed as though it had been a lake of diamonds. The breeze was
just strong enough to fill the few sails spread to catch it. Every one
was upon deck, as busy as bees upon a hot summer’s day. The order was
given to muster the soldiers and lower-deck passengers, and in a few
minutes they were all upon the main-deck. Amongst them appeared a lad
all in rags, barefooted, and with a black and a blue eye. His dirty,
ragged jacket was covered with blood and mud. He stood cross-legged and
leaning upon his elbow against the coping of the bulwarks, his right
hand thrust in the hole where a pocket had no doubt once existed. The
lad, in spite of his attire, looked as brisk and independent as a modern
Diogenes or a Robert Macaire. To the questions put to him by the
captain, he replied somewhat in the style of the Grecian philosopher to
Alexander the Great. There was, however, this difference--those great
men understood each other, while the captain’s English was entirely lost
upon the ragged hero. After several attempts and failures on the part of
the captain, a gentleman, Mr. Souter, who spoke the Russian language,
interrogated him, and asked him how he got on board. His reply was,
“With the baggage, to be sure.” He then, boldly and in a fine tone of
voice, suiting the action to the word, told the following tale:--“I am
an orphan and a Russian serf belonging to Prince Meshersky. My name is
Daniel Maximovitch Chimachenka; and since my owner, the prince, went to
the war, the serfs have been much ill-treated by the agent in charge.
This was particularly the case with myself, as I was attached to the
agent’s personal service. He beat me daily, and gave me scarcely
anything to eat. One day, two English officers passed through the
village, and I held their horses for them while they took some
refreshment. When they came out, they gave me a shilling. Though it was
nearly dark, I watched the road they went, and followed them at a
distance. After walking some time, I lost sight of them, and slept in
the wood till daybreak. Two days after, having travelled through forests
and over mountains in order to avoid detection, I found myself at
Balaklava. This was only just before the departure of the fleet. I was
determined to follow those kind people the English, who had given me so
much money for so little work. Being aware that you were all going away,
I bethought myself of hiding on board one of your ships, thinking that
when discovered you could not treat me worse than the prince’s agent had
done. I made the attempt in two different vessels, but was discovered
and put on shore again. This vessel being one of the last, I went on
board assisting some Maltese sailors with the luggage, and amidst the
bustle managed to hide away amongst the horses.” In this manner the
youth got to Constantinople.

The following letter, published in the journal of that city, will inform
my readers of the rest:--

     Monsieur Soyer, now so well known in the East, has taken under his
     protection a Russian boy who was in the greatest destitution,
     having stowed himself away on board the steam-ship _Argo_ at
     Balaklava. He was only discovered when the muster of soldiers and
     deck-passengers was called. The poor lad was in rags and
     barefooted. He had received a terrible contusion on the head, and
     his black swollen eyes and blood-stained face rendered his
     appearance anything but prepossessing. Being cross-questioned by a
     passenger who understood Russian, he stated that he got on board
     under pretence of assisting the sailors with some luggage, and
     contrived to hide himself amongst the horses till the ship was at
     sea, fearing that he should be put on shore, as had already
     happened to him twice before. During the night, he came upon deck
     and fell asleep. About three in the morning, a violent hurricane
     came on, and a heavy sea broke over the bows, nearly washing the
     soldiers and himself overboard. It was at this juncture that he
     received the contusion, and became for some time senseless. He
     asked for nothing to eat during the passage, fearing discovery, but
     satisfied the cravings of hunger with orange-peel and pieces of
     broken biscuit, which the soldiers had thrown about the deck. He
     said that he was an orphan, twelve years old, and left his native
     village through the ill-treatment of his owner’s agent. Some
     English gentlemen, in passing through the village, gave him a piece
     of money for holding their horses; so he decided upon following
     such kind people, in the hope of obtaining employment and living
     amongst them.[30] He appears very intelligent, and is quite
     indignant at being taken for a Tartar. He is, he says, a true
     Russian. Instead of allowing him to be turned adrift in
     Constantinople, Monsieur Soyer claimed and took him under his
     protection, taking a certificate from the captain to that effect,
     in presence of General Garrett and his Staff, who were passengers
     on board the _Argo_. As he is now free, no doubt a prosperous
     future is in store for the poor Russian lad, through the kindness
     of Monsieur Soyer.--_Journal de Constantinople et Echo de
     l’Orient_, Thursday, 21st July, 1856.

[Illustration: THE BOY AS FOUND.]

[Illustration: THE BOY AS HE IS.]

While on shore at Constantinople, I sent this unsightly and
dirty-looking urchin to a Turkish bath, and by this simple, “gentle,”
and delightful Oriental process removed two or three coats of dirt from
his skin. I had a suit of livery _à la Russe_ made for him, which
greatly improved his appearance. When quite recovered from the effects
of his bruises and black eye, he turned out to be a very smart, clean,
and extremely intelligent lad. So grateful was he for my kindness, that
he came every morning at six o’clock to fetch my clothes to brush,
kissing my hands at the same time, whether awake or asleep, as a mark of
his gratitude. I have him with me in London, and intend to educate him,
and hope he will turn out a good man of business and useful to society.
It is most probable that had he been left to himself in Constantinople,
he would have become a great rascal or a thief; for he possesses enough
intelligence to be either a clever, honest man, or an arrant rogue.

We were anchored in the Bosphorus, opposite the Barrack Hospital. It was
about ten in the morning. Everybody had an extra wash upon the occasion,
and all were dressed in their best. The weather was very warm and fine,
and all appeared gay and merry. General Garrett being anxious to see the
wonders of the Mahomedan city, I offered, as I was now pretty well
acquainted with its _chefs-d’œuvre_, to be his _cicerone_, which
offer he immediately accepted. We started, accompanied by Colonel Hughes
and Major Dallas. After paying our respects to Admiral Grey at the
Admiralty, we hired two caiques and repaired to the ancient quarter of
Stamboul. There we took horses, and for six hours ascended and descended
the intolerable muddy and badly-paved streets of the real
Constantinople, where are to be seen so many Mussulman works of
art--viz.: St. Sophia, the Bazaar, Seraglio Palace, and Hippodrome, &c.
&c. &c., with which the general and suite were much delighted. Our
intention was to dine at Messirie’s Hotel, and we had just arrived
there, when we were informed that the Sultan that day intended to give a
grand dinner in honour of Generals Pelissier and Codrington. Captain
Hall, who brought the news, requested General Garrett to pay an
immediate visit to Lord Redcliffe, adding, that no doubt the ambassador
would wish him to be present. General Garrett replied--“It would be
utterly impossible for me to be present at the ceremony, inasmuch as I
cannot get my uniform, which is at the bottom of the hold of the _Argo_.
I will, however, pay my respects to Lord Stratford.”

We immediately started for that purpose. The general remained some time
with our ambassador, and upon coming out informed us of the kind
reception and invitation he had received to be present at the grand
Dolma Batchi Palace banquet, saying he must manage to go somehow. The
only difficulty was to get his own uniform, or any other that would fit
him, for the occasion. I merely left my card at the Embassy, intending
to pay my respects to Lord Stratford some other day.

This banquet had been postponed for several days, on account of the
non-arrival of Sir W. Codrington from Balaklava. The dinner was at last
decided to take place on the 18th of July, 1856, at seven o’clock. The
English general had not arrived, but was hourly expected. About three
P.M. his ship appeared in sight, and at five entered the Bosphorus. All
on board who were invited were ready dressed; so they only had to
disembark at the splendid marble terrace which forms the landing-place
of the Sultan’s new palace of Dolma Batchi, where numerous attendants
were waiting to receive them. But, as usual, “Man proposes, and God
disposes.” The severe gale we encountered on leaving Balaklava, far from
sparing the great _Algiers_, had delayed her more than it did our good
ship. While passing in front of Therapia, her progress was again
arrested by one of the most furious hurricanes ever known in the

The illustrious guests had arrived minus the Commander-in-chief, who was
expected every minute. They were sitting in the grand reception-room.
The dinner-hour arrived, and the doors of the magnificent Mahomedan
hall were thrown open to the assembled guests. They were amazed at the
splendour and richness of the architecture of that cathedral-like
throne-room, which is a perfect copy of St. Sophia on a very splendid
scale, the dome being only fourteen feet less in height than that of St.
Sophia. The appearance of the table, placed in the centre, though very
large and well garnished with elegant table ornaments, fruits, flowers,
and a most _recherché_ dessert, left, as far as the dinner goes, much to
desire. The mixture of French and Turkish cookery, of which I much
approve, would have been preferable to all French, so difficult of
perfect execution, particularly at Constantinople. As a whole, the
_coup-d’œil_ was perfectly pyramidal and magical. The guests were
seated according to rank and precedence, and each had his name and
number on his plate, which plan prevented any confusion. The soup, as
well as several _hors-d’œuvres_ and other dishes, had been handed
round, when a tremendous hurricane shook the frame of the stupendous
edifice, extinguished the lights in the orchestra, and made the colossal
chandelier (perhaps the largest in the world) swing to and fro until
fears were entertained of its falling. For a short time we were
uncertain whether it was a hurricane or an earthquake; and though the
festive board was encircled by old invincibles whom the cannon of
Sebastopol had never unnerved for a minute, it must be confessed that
the fear of an earthquake produced an ominous silence.

In a short time the music recommenced, and every one was himself again.
The busy traffic of a large banquet had resumed its regular course; the
guests had forgotten this vexatious event, and were conversing
cheerfully. When the dinner had been removed, and the dessert was placed
upon the table, the band played the “Sultan’s Grand March,” and his
Sublime Majesty entered in all his Oriental pomp, followed by the
dignitaries of the empire. This pageant was indeed worthy of the antique
style of Oriental grandeur. Still, it is to be regretted that it had
lost much of its magnificence from having been simplified and
modernized. After this gracious mark of cordial union between the
Mahomedan monarch and his Allied guests, which has been so well and
elegantly described by the public press, the Sultan retired; and thus
ended this sumptuous entertainment, which will ever hold a distinguished
place in the gastronomic annals of nations. It was at least the first,
and probably will prove the last, at which the magnates of three great
nations met together beneath the roof of the great Pacha’s palace to
partake of Mahomedan hospitality _à la Française_, which in my opinion
ought to have been Anglo-Franko, but at all events half Turko.

The only thing to be regretted was the untoward absence of Sir W.
Codrington, which happened as follows:--The _Algiers_ started a few
hours after the _Argo_; but being considerably heavier than that
vessel--being a man of war--and owing to the bad weather and foul winds,
she arrived ten hours after us, instead of four or six, as had been
expected. In spite of this delay, she would have arrived in time, but
for the extraordinary hurricane which came on as she entered the
Bosphorus. Every gentleman invited was dressed and ready to land upon
arriving at Dolma Batchi Stairs. It was all to no purpose; for on coming
before Therapia, the safety of the ship compelled the captain to order
the anchors to be let go; and as no caiques could venture out, it was
impossible to land. My chief reason for mentioning this fact is because
it was reported in Constantinople and Pera that the French and English
commanders of the Allied armies disagreed politically, and would not
meet. Through my friendly influence with important persons in
Constantinople and Pera, I caused this report to be contradicted by the
press, as it might have left an evil impression upon the public mind.

The _Argo_ was to sail about four P.M. the next day. At two I went on
board to claim my Russian _protégé_, and found the boy, who was aware of
my being in Constantinople, and as the steamer was about to sail, had
lost all hope of being rescued by me. In expectation of being landed at
Constantinople and left to the mercy of the world, he was seated on the
poop of the ship, anxiously looking out with the same anxiety as Sister
Anne from the top of the tower, in the tale of _Bluebeard_, to see if
any one was coming. At length he perceived a caique with two caidjees
approaching the ship _Argo_; in it was seated a rather stout gentleman,
dressed in the Oriental style, as he afterwards related, with a large
white round hat, encircled with a turban of white and red gauze, and
wearing a bournous. “It can only be my new master,” exclaimed the boy to
those around--or at all events he made them comprehend as much. Nothing
could exceed the boy’s joy when I set foot upon deck; but, as I was not
aware of his anxiety, I took but little notice of him, as I had many
persons to see in a short space of time. Observing this, the poor lad
began to cry. Had he been retaken, he would have been sent to the mines
for fifteen years, and afterwards as a soldier for life. I requested the
captain to draw up a statement to the effect that the boy had run away
of his own accord, and begged of General Garrett to be present as a
witness; and he was accordingly transmitted to me as a free boy from the
time of his destitution.

The following is a copy of the statement:--

_Steam-ship “Argo,” Constantinople, 16th July, 1856._

     I hereby certify that a Russian boy, about twelve or fifteen years
     of ago, was found on board this ship after leaving the Crimea. He
     states that he came on board for the purpose of getting employment.
     His name, he says, is Daniel, and that he was a serf of Prince
     Meshersky’s. Monsieur Soyer, a passenger on board, now takes him
     into his service, to prevent his starving.

H. B. BENSON, _Commander_.

     N.B.--The boy’s name is Daniel Maximovitch Chimachenka. He says he
     is an orphan--has been very badly treated by his master’s
     steward--and begged of Monsieur Soyer to grant him protection, and
     is very willing to go with him wheresoever he pleases rather than
     return to his former master. As he was quite destitute on arriving
     at Constantinople, Monsieur Soyer is kind enough to take him under
     his protection.

     I hereby certify that the above is quite correct, having
     interrogated the boy in his own language (Russian).

P. POUTEAU, _Kt. S. A._

I then bade a cordial farewell to all my _compagnons de voyage_, who
were very anxious to have my company to London; but I had made up my
mind to take six months’ holiday, and travel wherever my fancy might
lead me, especially to my native city of Meaux, which I had not seen for
twenty-six long years. I also wished to write this work in peace, having
lost my notes. I informed them that I could not have the pleasure of
accompanying them, as I meant to take a Continental tour, but hoped to
meet them in London upon my return, which would probably be in the
beginning of the then ensuing spring.

Wishing to visit at my leisure the civil and military institutions of
this interesting city of Constantine, and, above all, to become well
acquainted with the system of cookery, in which I had already recognised
a deal of merit and originality, I determined to remain some weeks at
Constantinople, as well as to offer to his Sublime Majesty the Sultan,
through the kind intercession of Lord de Redcliffe, to whom I had paid
my humble duty, a complete set of my various culinary works, as well as
my magic and model stoves. I established myself at the hotel, and,
accompanied by a friend, and my Russian boy dressed _à la Cosaque_,
proceeded to visit on horseback all the curiosities of the Mahomedan

As I have already observed, though I frequently wished to inspect
minutely the great metropolis of Constantine, my incessant duties never
allowed me time for this: I therefore now devoted my leisure time to
seeing Constantinople. I had fixed three weeks as the space requisite to
visit in detail the wonders of that city. To do this, I engaged a
dragoman of some intelligence, and requested him to conduct me to every
place worthy of being seen, at the same time acquainting him that three
weeks would be the utmost stay I should make in Constantinople.

Having obtained a firman, or _passe-partout_, we were to be seen flying
from palace to palace, mosque to mosque, bazaar to bazaar, kiosque to
kiosque, hospital to hospital, cemetery to cemetery, prison to prison;
from turning to howling dervishes, and from the Sweet Waters of Europe
to those of Asia, and last, not least, to the Sultan’s kitchen, which to
me was the only object of paramount interest.

Almost every one attached to the army had left the banks of the
Bosphorus and returned to England. Only now and then did one meet a
British uniform in Pera. These were the officers of the Commissariat or
the Turkish Contingent. Amongst the former were Commissaries Smith,
Adams, Osborn, &c.

The post-office and hospitals were given up: Therapia and Buyukderé
alone could boast of possessing the tail of the British army and navy.
General Storks was still on a visit to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe; Sir
Edmund Lyons was on board his splendid man-of-war, the _Royal Albert_,
in the Bosphorus; Admiral Grey had left, and only a few acting naval men
remained at the Admiralty.

I afterwards addressed the following letter which appeared in the


_To the Editor of the Times._

     SIR,--In reply to no end of inquiries from persons meeting me in
     the streets of Pera, Bujukderé, Therapia, the Isles des Princes,
     &c., as to what I am doing in Turkey now the whole of the army has
     gone, and as every one here seems so anxious, probably others may
     feel interested, it has struck me, sir, to inform you personally
     why I remain here. In the first place, Constantinople and its
     vicinity are far from being destitute of vital interest, and those
     who have only seen its beauty from the Bosphorus, and then at first
     sight condemned the interior of this gigantic city of Constantine,
     have seen nothing, and are utterly incompetent to speak of it, much
     less to write upon the curiosities, manners, customs, and way of
     living, of this singular and almost unknown people, though lodged
     nearly in the centre of Europe. Thanks now to my last visit to
     Constantinople, which time nor duty did not admit of before, I now
     know it and its neighbourhood as well as London, and much better
     than Paris. I am pretty well acquainted with Turkish institutions,
     as well as manners and habits, which indeed deviate so much from
     our fashions that they cannot prove uninteresting to relate, if not
     to follow. Though so many authors have written upon Turkey, they
     have yet left me several virgin pages, and those pages are upon the
     national cookery of the Moslem people.

     They have many dishes which are indeed worthy of the table of the
     greatest epicure, and I shall not consider my Oriental mission
     terminated to my satisfaction till I see in the bills of fare of
     France and England their purée de volaille au ris, tomates, et
     concombres, and purée de Bahmia aromatisée à la crême, by the side
     of our potages à la Reine, Tortue, Jullienne, and Mulligatawny;
     near our whitebait, red mullets, turbot, and salmon, their fried
     sardines, bar fish, gurnet, sturgeon, red mullets aux herbes,
     oyster pilaff, mackerel, salad, &c.; and with our roast beef,
     saddle-back of mutton, and haunch of venison, their sheep, lamb, or
     kid roasted whole, and the monster and delicious kebab; by our
     entrées of suprème de volaille, salmis, and vol-aux-vents, their
     doulmas kioftee, sis kebabs, haharram bouton, pilaff au cailles,
     &c.; with our vegetables, their Bahmia, fried leeks and celery,
     Partligan bastici, and sakath kabac bastici; with our macédoines,
     jellies, charlottes, &c., their lokounds, moukahalibi, Baclava
     gyneristi, ekmekataive. Their coffee, iced milk, and sherbet--in
     fact, all their principal dishes might, with the best advantage, be
     adopted and Frenchified and Anglicised. Not so their method of
     serving, in which they mix sweet and savoury dishes throughout the
     repast; and less likely still their method of eating with their
     fingers, though, after several trials, I must admit that it has
     some peculiar advantages; their sauces being of a thinnish nature,
     require to be absorbed with a piece of bread in order to partake of
     them, which could not be performed equally well with a knife or
     fork. Their custom of serving only one hot dish at a time is not
     new to us, we having borrowed it from the Russians, who probably
     took it from the Turks. No nation as yet has been able to boast of
     having introduced a single innovation in the way of living to this
     singularly incommunicative race, the cause of which I can only
     attribute to the immense distance placed between the relative
     social position of the two sexes: for while in Europe the “_beau
     sexe_” forms the soul of society and sociability, in Turkey they
     are kept in entire seclusion, and almost without any kind of
     education. My stay here has not only produced me the high honour of
     an interview with the Sultan, but also the advantage of becoming
     acquainted with one of the most useful and principal officers of
     his Sublime Majesty’s household, called the Hachji Bachji, or
     general-in-chief of the culinary department of his Sublime Majesty
     the Padischah, and he speaks with pride of having held that office
     five years with the late Sultan and Padischah Mahmoud, and has now
     retained it seventeen years with his present Sublime Majesty.
     Independent of the private kitchen of the Sultan, he has under his
     command in the various palaces about six hundred men cooks, and had
     in the time of Sultan Mahmoud upwards of one thousand. Having
     expressed a wish to become acquainted with some of the principal
     Turkish dishes, and the way in which the dinner was served, he not
     only gave me the required information, but invited me to a dinner,
     “_à la Turc_,” at the new palace of Dolma Batchi. We were only four
     guests, including himself; above seventy small dishes formed a
     luxurious bill of fare, which, after the Turkish fashion, were
     partaken of quickly, as the Moslems only taste a mouthful of each
     dish which may take their fancy. He then informed me that the
     repast we had partaken of was the _fac-simile_ of the dinner daily
     served up to his Majesty the Padischah, who always takes his meals
     alone, and as no bill of fare is made, every dish in the Turkish
     cookery code must be prepared daily throughout the year, and only
     varies in quantity according to the abundance or scarcity of the
     provisions to be obtained in the various seasons, so that his
     Sublime Majesty may find everything he may desire within his
     Imperial call. Further details upon this subject I shall give when
     I publish my other work, which will be entitled “The Culinary
     Wonder of all Nations.”

     The Armenian cookery turns very much upon the Turkish style, while
     the Greek has a type of its own, which, I regret to say, is far
     from meeting with my approbation, though in high Greek families I
     have partaken of most excellent dinners; but the Turkish dishes
     were always the most satisfactory, the common cookery of the Greeks
     being sloppy and greasy, while, _per contra_, the Turk has studied
     the art of preserving the essence of all the provisions employed,
     which method will at all times produce a palatable as well as a
     nutritive food. Prior to my departure, which will be in a few days,
     I shall pay a visit to Scutari, to contrast the present state of
     that busy spot with its now, as I hear, totally deserted aspect. My
     remarks upon this subject I shall do myself the pleasure of sending
     in a future letter, in hopes that they may prove interesting to the
     thousands who have visited that celebrated place on the Asiatic
     side of the Bosphorus.

     With the highest consideration, I have the honour to remain,

Sir, your obedient servant,
_Pera, Constantinople, Hotel d’Angleterre_,      A. SOYER.

_Sept. 8, 1856._

This visit was more laborious than most persons may imagine, but the
idea of beginning a new and agreeable campaign, after having terminated
a long, dreary, and perilous one, was very pleasing. I was free as
regarded my actions, and my health was partly restored. Shortly after my
arrival at Scutari, my governmental mission as well as hospital duties
ceased, these establishments being closed. I therefore settled
everything with the Purveyor-in-chief, Mr. J. S. Robertson, General
Storks, Miss Nightingale, and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, who all
honoured me with documents expressive of their high approbation of my
services. Prior to my final departure, I sent the full report of my
proceedings and labours at Scutari, as well as in the camp, to Lord
Stratford de Redcliffe.

The following is his Excellency’s reply:--

THERAPIA, _August 2nd, 1856_.

     DEAR MONSIEUR SOYER,--I return you the papers you were good enough
     to send for my perusal. The honourable testimonials you have
     obtained have been well earned.

     I shall have much pleasure in asking the Sultan’s permission as to
     your sending him the articles you mention.

Sincerely yours,

A Monsieur
Monsieur Soyer.

The day after the receipt of the above letter from his Excellency I was
summoned by Mr. Etienne Pizanni, the first dragoman of the Embassy, who
left a message at the Hôtel d’Angleterre to the effect that the
following morning I was to be at Topané Cannon Foundry landing-place,
with the various articles I intended to offer for the acceptance of his
Sublime Majesty. At ten o’clock precisely I arrived. The caique of the
Embassy was already waiting. A few minutes after we had crossed the
short and chopping waves, _aux collerettes d’argent_, or bright silver
hue, which, with the morning breeze, take birth in that fairy lake, the
cradle of romance and beauty, as night approaches. Shortly after we were
safely landed on the monster marble quay, the private landing-place of
the Sultan, which proudly unites the Bosphorus with the gigantic palace
of Dolma Batchi; from here we were inducted to the Grand Chamberlain’s
kiosque, where coffee-cups and chiboques of great value, being
ornamented with gold, pearls, emeralds, and diamonds, were filled by
slaves and handed to us, and partaken of with great gusto.

In a few minutes Prince Galamaki was shown into the apartment. He had
come for the purpose of taking leave of his Sublime master prior to
leaving Turkey for his post as ambassador to the Court of Vienna; and
having myself had the honour of knowing this distinguished diplomatist
when he was ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, he at once
recognised me, and the conversation being opened by Mr. Pizanni, we had
a most interesting dialogue on semi-diplomatic matters, embracing a
period of fifteen years.

Two hours had now elapsed. Chibouques and coffee had been handed round
many times, when the Prince remarked that his Majesty was later than
usual. Shortly after, an officer of the palace entered, and desired Mr.
Pizanni and myself to accompany him to the Sultan’s private palace, a
distance of several hundred yards. Crossing a floral carpet of sweet
perfume, interwoven with plots of choice exotic plants and flowers,
marble fountains, vases, baths, &c., we ascended a staircase, and were
introduced to a simply, but costly-furnished apartment, when Mr. Pizanni
remarked that we had already made a near approach to the person of his
Majesty. Hardly had he uttered the remark, when a eunuch entered, and
requested us to follow him. We passed through several long dark
corridors, richly tapestried, and here and there interposed with
coloured glass, which threw a golden-yellow light, reflecting a peculiar
hue on the eunuchs who were here and there stationed, keeping guard.
Silence reigned supreme. We soon reached a very spacious area. A screen
was suddenly removed, when, standing on the summit of a grand crystal
staircase, most brilliantly illuminated with resplendent vermilion glass
shades, stood erect a figure, which, at first sight, I took for an idol
or statue belonging to this enchanting place. Mr. Pizanni advanced, with
great veneration, towards it, bidding me follow, over a highly-polished
glassy-looking floor, which I did not without fear of slipping--when, to
my astonishment, I found myself standing before Abdul Medjid Khan, the
Padischah, who, though simply attired in a rich robe de chambre and a
plain fez,--which I believe is the oriental dress of reception,--the
sublimity of the monarch’s countenance will never be effaced from my
memory. Mr. Pizanni, addressing his Majesty in the Turkish language,
introduced me, when, through that gentleman, I ascertained that his
Majesty wished me well, and that his heart was well disposed towards me
(meaning a great deal in a few words). His Majesty was then informed of
the purport of my mission, commencing at the hospitals of the Bosphorus,
then in the Crimea. His approbation was expressed by the slow movement
of the head from left to right, the body remaining motionless. Then took
place the offering of my various productions, culinary and literary,
eight in number, which lay on a large, richly-ornamented piece of
furniture, in the centre of this large cupola. The simplicity of the
field-stove obtained his Majesty’s high approbation. “I well understand
them,” said he, talking all the time to Mr. Pizanni, who translated word
for word to me. After having complimented me very highly on the services
of my undertaking, “I am much pleased,” were the last words his Majesty
uttered. We then retreated backwards. Though the conversation had been
varied and animated, not a movement on the part of his Majesty did I
perceive all the twenty minutes we were conversing. We left the idol as
we found it.[31]

       *       *       *       *       *

The time fixed for my stay in the far-famed city of Constantinople was
fast drawing to a close; a short visit to the Isles des Princes, that
focus of nightly revels, was to put a final seal to my Mahometan review.
I went there on a Sunday, and had the pleasure of meeting, amongst
thousands, with Admiral Lyons and his maritime staff. Here monks,
caidjees, donkeys, green fruit, cakes, fireworks, and gambling-tables
thrive in a most flourishing manner. As the night approached, the
Admiral left to join his ship, escorted down the silvery Bosphorus by
hundreds of lighted torches, and shouts from thousands of visitors. The
next day I was on board the _Albert_, anchored before Bujukdéré, and
bade adieu to the gallant admiral. I then paid my farewell respects to
his Excellency Lord de Redcliffe and his family; the day was now fixed
for my departure, everything was packed up, and my Russian boy, Daniel
Maximovitch Chimachenka, had, with the greatest intelligence and
delight, corded my last box, and seemed as if he was already breathing
the air of freedom. For some time previous, a monster gipsy party had
been in embryo; illness had prevented this rural festivity coming off,
but on my return to Pera, it was luckily fixed for the following
day--the illustrious Mr. Messirie being the giver of this monster
pic-nic. At five the next morning every one was attired in their best
summer array, and streams of people were pouring from all directions to
the Galata Pier. A steamer, gaily trimmed, was waiting for the guests.
When all were on board, the paddles commenced their revolutions; and, as
we floated along the limpid bay of the Golden Horn, Greek music kept
time with our race. Soon we arrived at Therapia, and landed on the pier
of the Hôtel d’Angleterre, where light refreshments were provided for
the innumerable guests. About forty caiques with double caidjees were
waiting near the shore, while two caiques of large dimensions were
filled with instrumental musicians. We then all started, crossing the
Bosphorus towards Ibraham Pasha’s marble palace, and to the melodious
sound of the music, we landed in one of the many pretty valleys of which
the Bosphorus alone can boast; it was called the Sultana, near the
Sultan’s valley. Such a culinary encampment I never before beheld; four
men-cooks were busily engaged in dishing up sixteen hot _entrées_, fowls
were being grilled, quails and dotrelles were being roasted, kaboub
frizzling, and all kinds of fish were submitted to the science of
cookery; four sheep and two lambs were roasted whole in the adjacent
forest, while a table for about a hundred and fifty people was laid out
under the shadowy folds of a huge tree, luxuriously situated at the base
of a delightful Turkish fountain; sherbet, ices, jam, and cakes were
also freely partaken of. At twelve, to the minute, the open-air banquet
was placed upon the table, and soon the warning note of the tum-tum
assembled all around it. Oriental fruit and flowers profusely ornamented
the festive board, while Smyrna melons of large dimensions perfumed the
air. The banquet lasted two hours, after which dancing and oriental
games were in full swing in all directions, including the Greek,
Armenian, and Albany dances, accompanied by the twang of music, to the
great delight of the participators, as well as the admiration of several
hundred Turkish spectators, both men and women, dressed in their best,
this being their Sabbath. It gave