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A Tramp's Sketches by Stephen Graham

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This book was written chiefly whilst tramping along the Caucasian and Crimean shores of the Black Sea, and on a pilgrimage with Russian peasants to Jerusalem. Most of it was written in the open air, sitting on logs in the pine forests or on bridges over mountain streams, by the side of my morning fire or on the sea sand after the morning dip. It is not so much a book about Russia as about the tramp. It is the life of the wanderer and seeker, the walking hermit, the rebel against modern conditions and commercialism who has gone out into the wilderness.

I have tramped alone over the battlefields of the Crimea, visited the cemetery where lie so many British dead, wandered along the Black Sea shores a thousand miles to New Athos monastery and Batum, have been with seven thousand peasant pilgrims to Jerusalem, and lived their life in the hospitable Greek monasteries and in the great Russian hostelry at the Holy City, have bathed with them in Jordan where all were dressed in their death-shrouds, and have slept with them a whole night in the Sepulchre.

One cannot make such a journey without great experiences both spiritual and material. On every hand new significances are revealed, both of Russian life and of life itself.

It is with life itself that this volume is concerned. It is personal and friendly, and on that account craves indulgence. Here are the songs and sighs of the wanderer, many lyrical pages, and the very minimum of scientific and topographical matter. It is all written spontaneously and without study, and as such goes forth--all that a seeker could put down of his visions, or could tell of what he sought.

There will follow, if it is given to the author both to write and to publish, a full story of the places he visited along the Black Sea shore, and of the life of the pilgrims on the way to the shrine of the Sepulchre and at the shrine itself. It will be a continuation of the work begun in _Undiscovered Russia_.

Several of these sketches appeared in the _St. James's Gazette_, two in _Country Life_, and one in _Collier's_ of New York, being sent out to these papers from the places where they were written. The author thanks the Editors for permission to republish, and for their courtesy in dealing with MSS.

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