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with a profusion of thanks and bows. One man in the middle of our journey amused us by turning round to M-, after he had received the usual drink-money, and saying, “ Ah, Marie Alexandrovna, I'm sure you 'll give me a good navodka, for I know your father, and your uncles, and all the family.” He had probably found out who we were from the courier, or from our servant; at all events, I believe he gained his point.
All the way, after we entered the government of Yaroslav, we remarked that the road was lined on each side by a double row of birch-trees, and I now find that all the public roads in the government are ornamented in the same manner.
We arrived here on the 16th of September, at about two o'clock in the morning. A servant soon made his appearance and conducted us to a very comfortable set of rooms which were prepared for our reception, and which, besides being in other respects very handsomely furnished, boast the unusual luxury of having their floors entirely covered with carpet. We got some tea, and then went to bed as soon as possible, though not without having admired the superb moonlight view from our windows over the Volga, which here is a noble stream about seven hundred yards wide.
This house, which was originally built as a palace for a member of the imperial family, forms a very splendid residence for the Governor, and the situation is exceedingly fine, as the town lies at the back, while the windows in front look upon a terrace at the foot of which flows the Volga. The terrace, which stands at a great height above the water, extends for more than a mile, commanding a fine view of the river and the country beyond. A very considerable trade is carried on in the town, which is large, handsome, and flourishing; the shops are exceedingly well supplied with goods, and many of the tradesmen, I am told, are very rich. Yaroslav contains twenty-eight thousand inhabitants, and forty-three or fortyfour churches. Besides the terrace above the Volga, there is a handsome boulevard, and also a public garden. There are a number of large houses in the town, which in the winter are inhabited by gentlemen's families, so that the society at that season is very good.
On the Sunday, two days after our arrival, we attended the performance of mass at the military church, by the invitation of the commanding officer, Colonel Goulaivitch, a fine soldierlike man, who, as well as his lady, has shown us great attention and civility since we have been here, and both of whom we have been fortunate enough to meet almost daily. The church was entirely filled with soldiers, and the effect produced by so many voices chanting in unison the hymns and responses was exceedingly fine.
This regiment is a military institution which has been established here about two years, for the purpose of educating and training up soldiers' sons; the object being to provide a supply of intelligent well-taught non-commissioned officers for the army. The regiment is composed of three battalions, each more than a thousand strong. The first battalion consists of little boys up to the age of about fifteen; the second, of lads from fifteen to seventeen or eighteen; and the third is effective; but in the whole corps there is hardly a soldier more than twenty years old.
After the conclusion of the service the men were paraded before the Governor, and on this occasion I heard for the first time the singular salutation of the Russian soldiers to their inspecting officer. Each company as it marches past gives a peculiar shout, at a given signal, as if with one voice, and with a sort of sudden crash, the effect of which is
striking. After the parade the Colonel took us all over the barracks, which are airy and well organised; everything seemed in excellent order, and the dormitories and other apartments clean and well ventilated. The boys are instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic; they also learn drawing and various branches of professional knowledge, and they are all taught some trade. Nearly every part of the soldiers' equipments is made at home, even including the patent leather for their belts, which seemed to be of very good quality. Portrait-painting is among the arts practised by the soldiers : and we were shown pictures of the Emperor, the Colonel, and most of the officers, very creditably executed by one of them.
After making the tour of the establishment, we went to see the
boys sit down to dinner. They first sang a hymn standing in their places, and, when they had finished, the sound of a bugle gave the signal for them to be seated. They seemed exceedingly comfortable, and everything looked very clean. A certain number acted as waiters to the rest, a service which they all take in turn. In the middle of the room on an elevated platform was a small unoccupied table, at which the Colonel told us that offenders were made to dine as a punishment. I have since seen the military hospital, which was very clean and seemed well conducted. On the ground-floor is the dispensary and surgeon's room, the patients being all upstairs; at the head of each patient's bed is a board, on which is inscribed his name and the nature of his complaint, and behind the board is placed a paper in which the medical man in attendance is required to insert a daily register of the symptoms, treatment, &c., of the patient; so that the Inspector of the hospital, on making his rounds, may at all times be able to judge whether proper skill has been exercised, and due attention paid, by the subordinates.
Colonel Goulaivitch invited us the other day to his house, to witness the taking the oaths of allegiance and fidelity to the Emperor on entering the service, by M—'s young cousin, the Governor's son, who has just received his first commission. The colours of the regiment were displayed in the dining-room, and under them were placed on a table a large Bible and a cross. A priest was in attendance in his robes, and there were also about a dozen cantonists, as the young soldiers are called, who were to officiate as choristers upon this occasion. The new ensign repeated after the priest a long oath, holding in his right hand a corner of the colours. He then knelt down and kissed the Bible and the cross, and the ceremony was concluded by a hymn sung by the cantonists.
I went about a fortnight ago with General Poltoratzky to a horse-fair at a large straggling village two or three-and-twenty miles hence. There were a good many horses shown, but few fine animals; they were, however, very cheap. The General bought one as a carriage-horse for three hundred roubles (about twelve pounds) which would have been worth forty or fifty pounds in England, as he was a handsome well-sized
horse, sound, and only five years old. The scene was amusing enough, and as unlike an English fair as can be imagined. There were a good many gentlemen present, most of them in undress uniforms, and many with crosses at their button-holes. We walked through a refreshment-booth filled with peasants and horse-dealers, and found them all as quiet as possible, and, with hardly an exception, drinking tea. These people do not put sugar into their cups in the ordinary way, but they either hold a lump between their teeth and sip the tea through it, or else they hold the sugar in the left hand, and nibble off a little bit now and then, as they drink their tea. We were not destined this day to suffer from hunger. First of all, when we were in the midst of the fair, two or three large water-melons were brought, and we all sat down to eat them on the spot, some on the grass and others on the shafts of a waggon, while his excellency the Governor compromised his dignity by sitting in the middle on a reversed tub. Shortly afterwards we were summoned to a luncheon, which abounded in champagne and good things of all kinds, and which might well have passed for a dinner. This entertainment was given by the great man of the village, namely, the steward of the proprietor, who was himself an absentee. The luncheon was no sooner over than we set off for a country-house which lay on our road home, and where I found that we, and most of the gentlemen whom we had met with, were engaged to dine.
I confess this was a pleasure I could have dispensed with, having dined already, as I had supposed. However, the offered hospitality was not to be declined, and we arrived at the house a party of more than twenty ; a force evidently stronger than our entertainer had anticipated in the morning; for, although it was dinner-time when we reached the house, we waited full two hours before we sat down to table. After al we dined and reached home before nine o'clock-a fact which will remind you that we are not keeping English hours.
We have now a sharp frost, and two days ago (the 1st of October) we were reminded of the approach of winter by finding in the morning the roofs of the houses white with
snow. We, however, are armed against the cold, as we have provided ourselves, since we came here, with furs and other warm clothing for the winter. The shops, as I have already said, are well supplied, especially with furs ; but it is by no means agreeable on a cold day to make purchases which require a little time in selecting : for, according to the old Russian custom, the shops have no stoves or fireplaces. The shops do not here, as in most countries, adjoin the residences of the tradesmen to whom they belong, but are all collected together in a sort of bazaar, a large building consisting of warehouses with shops in front, and in which no fire is allowed for fear of accidents. The tradesman spends the day in his shop, and only goes home at night. When the weather is cold he wraps himself up in furs, and keeps himself warm by drinking enormous quantities of hot tea, which is retailed in the streets to them and to the droschka-drivers who stand for hire, by people who are constantly going about with a portable samăvar or urn, kept hot by charcoal, and with cups fixed in a belt, and strapped round their waists. The bazaar or collection of shops in all Russian towns is called the Gastince Dvor, or Public Court.
Every Sunday morning, and every fête-day, the governor of Yaroslav holds a sort of levee—that is to say, a crowd of official persons
in full uniform assemble before breakfast to pay their respects: and twice a week his lady is at home to all the people who are inclined to spend the evening, and a large society is generally assembled to play cards and sup.* Besides this, we have had dinner parties two or three times a week, and the party living in the house is considerable in itself. The present time, however, is not the gay season at Yaroslav, as most of the families who compose the society in. the winter are still absent at their country houses. The establishment in this house is large even in Russia, especially for a town, but it would be considered enormous in England. Here, however, assessed taxes are unheard of. In the house about a hundred people are maintained; and upwards of
* (Note, second edition.)—Among the visitors at the Governor's residence during our stay at Yaroslav was Prince Gortchakoff-the general. not the diplomatist.