...Crossing to the Tyne I gave the Euterpe up to her old Captain, and was appointed to the command of the Calliope, a new ship, of lighter draught than the Euterpe, built for the Azov trade, and with a carrying capacity of 5,000 tons. This command I retained for seven years. In her I made repeated voyages to the Azov, and when the ports were closed by ice - from November to March - ran to the River Plate, and occasionally to the lower Black Sea ports in Bulgaria and Roumania. It was interesting to renew, on the occasion of my first trip on the Calliope to the Azov, the acquaintance I made of it it years before, and to note the improvements that had been made in its navigability. It is a 60 days' voyage to and from the Azov, and used to take the old sailing ships, of which Scarborough sent many, nine months for the round trip. One year, when my father was mate of the local brig Cactus, his vessel was frozen up in one of the Kertch ports all the winter, and the crew, in walking ashore over the ice, could frequently knock over with their sticks as many white hares as they cared to kill.
I happened to be at the Taganrog when the men of the district were being mobilised and entrained for the Manchuria in the Russo-Japanese war, and curiously enough, was also there when they were coming up for the recent Great War. No contrast in proceedings could be greater. There was a universal reluctance to proceed to Manchuria, and all men were only got off by being arrested and forced into trains; whereas in 1914 they came spontaneously from the surrounding countryside, and fairly tumbled over each other to draw their equipment and take their places in the railway trucks. I enabled to witness these scenes at close quarters because, owing to the shallowness of the water, the shipping has to lie 30 miles off Tagranrog - the grain being brought alongside in large flat bottomed steam lighters - and as Captain has to sign bills of lading for each of these on their leaving the shore, he has to live in the town during the time his vessel is loading. The barracks, which was originally the palace of peter the Great, is just opposite the noted boarding house where all shipmasters ( andonly shipmasters) stay - a place first opened by Madame Youghas, a Viennese lady, over 40 years and now carried on by ner niece, Madame Fav.