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Innocents in Russia

The Quaker City departed Constantinople 19 August, 1867, arriving in Sevastopol 21 August at 5am. It departed at 9 pm the same day, arriving in Odessa 22 August at 4 pm. The ship then departed for Yalta 24 August at 11 am, arriving 25 August at noon. A party from the ship visited Tsar Alexander II on the 26th. On the 28th the ship departed Russia returning to Constantinople. Twain remarks that the trip to Odessa was to take on coal but it may be that the true reason for the trip to Russia was because the Tsar had expressed an interest in acquiring the ship to be used as a family yacht and the Quaker City's owners were eager to sell it. Twain was favorably impressed with the Tsar, thinking him far superior to his preconceived notions of royalty.

Sebastopol

Sebastopol is probably the worst battered town in Russia or any where else. But we ought to be pleased with it, nevertheless, for we have been in no country yet where we have been so kindly received, and where we felt that to be Americans was a sufficient visa for our passports. The moment the anchor was down, the Governor of the town immediately dispatched an officer on board to inquire if he could be of any assistance to us, and to invite us to make ourselves at home in Sebastopol! If you know Russia, you know that this was a wild stretch of hospitality. They are usually so suspicious of strangers that they worry them excessively with the delays and aggravations incident to a complicated passport system. Had we come from any other country we could not have had permission to enter Sebastopol and leave again under three days—but as it was, we were at liberty to go and come when and where we pleased.

Odessa

I have not felt so much at home for a long time as I did when I “raised the hill” and stood in Odessa for the first time. It looked just like an American city; fine, broad streets, and straight as well; low houses, (two or three stories,) wide, neat, and free from any quaintness of architectural ornamentation; locust trees bordering the sidewalks (they call them acacias;) a stirring, business-look about the streets and the stores; fast walkers; a familiar new look about the houses and every thing; yea, and a driving and smothering cloud of dust that was so like a message from our own dear native land that we could hardly refrain from shedding a few grateful tears and execrations in the old time-honored American way. Look up the street or down the street, this way or that way, we saw only America! There was not one thing to remind us that we were in Russia. We walked for some little distance, reveling in this home vision, and then we came upon a church and a hack-driver, and presto! the illusion vanished! The church had a slender-spired dome that rounded inward at its base, and looked like a turnip turned upside down, and the hackman seemed to be dressed in a long petticoat with out any hoops. These things were essentially foreign, and so were the carriages—but every body knows about these things, and there is no occasion for my describing them.

Yalta

We anchored here at Yalta, Russia, two or three days ago. To me the place was a vision of the Sierras. The tall, gray mountains that back it, their sides bristling with pines—cloven with ravines—here and there a hoary rock towering into view—long, straight streaks sweeping down from the summit to the sea, marking the passage of some avalanche of former times—all these were as like what one sees in the Sierras as if the one were a portrait of the other. The little village of Yalta nestles at the foot of an amphitheatre which slopes backward and upward to the wall of hills, and looks as if it might have sunk quietly down to its present position from a higher elevation. This depression is covered with the great parks and gardens of noblemen, and through the mass of green foliage the bright colors of their palaces bud out here and there like flowers. It is a beautiful spot.

Course outline

The Innocents Abroad

  • Innocents Across the Atlantic
  • Innocents in the Azores
  • Innocents in Morocco
  • Innocents in France
  • Innocents in Italy
  • Innocents in Greece
  • Innocents in the Ottoman Empire
  • Innocents in Russia
  • Innocents Journey Through the Holy Land
  • Innocents in Egypt
  • The Innocents Go Home Again

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