0Thursday. 4th [October 1877]—Besika Bay, on board the Helicon
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4 October 1877 — Besika Bay, on board the Helicon
Thursday. 4th [October 1877]. Arrived at Besika abt 9 in the morng. P. Louis of Battenberg came off as officer of the watch to call in us. Henry went off to call on the Duke of Edinburgh on board the “Sultan” & as he left the Duke fired the salute of 19 guns. The Adls Hornby & Commerell both came to call & all the Captains of the ships & Henry returned the Adls calls at once. At one we went ashore in our riding costumes taking our saddles with us & got on poneys provided for us. I had a nice stout white poney who carried me well—the 2 Adls & their 2 flag lieuts: Gresley & Winslow came with us & all our party. We rode to Troy. It was a charming ride over a kind of moor land covered with stunted shrubs of a kind of Juniper & every now & then some fine oaks– We had to go thro a marsh & 2 villages. The dogs kept picking up land tortoises which they carried a short way & then had to drop. We got at last to a very stony place & came to a spring coming up thro’ the rock. There we found 2 sailors had spread our lunch under a tree. They had caught a young pelican wh caused us much amusement by flapping its great bite at all that went too near. After lunch we remounted & rode on to the top of the mound which is supposed to be the site of the citadel of Troy. It is a lovely spot. Looking down one side there is almost a sheer fall to the plain below thro’ wh meanders the river—on the other the descent is less rapid but the river winds round & is seen there—on the other side there is a splendid view over the country to the sea & one can distinguish the islands beyond. As we rode back to Besika there was a most gorgeous sun set—such as I had never seen. Looking inland there was a mist over the plain wh was a delicate rose colour—but to sea the sky was a deep bright orange—the distant islands deep purple & these colours were softened & blended in the foreground & in these the great ships of the fleet rode as great phantoms. As it got dark these colours gradually paled & softened and died away. We did not get back till the sun was quite set and had only just time to get on board the Helicon dress & go off to dinner with Adl Hornby on board the “Alexandra.” Met the Duke of Edinburgh at dinner & he took me in to dinner. It was rather dull & formal. After dinner they all smoked & then we returned on board & went to bed.

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