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DOMESTIC SCENES IN RUSSIA.

LETTER I.

Arrival at Petersburg-Account of voyage- Proceedings of Cus

tom-house officers at Cronstadt and Petersburg-Passport regu. lations.

St. Petersburg, June 22nd, 1837. I LOSE no time in sending you, according to promise, an account of our safe arrival here, which took place yesterday, after a pleasant and prosperous voyage of a week. We sailed from London on Wednesday morning, the 14th, in the Countess of Lonsdale, for Hamburg, which we reached on Friday; and proceeding by land to Traavemunde, the port of the Baltic packets, ten or twelve miles from Lubeck, we sailed in the Naslednik, steamer, for Petersburg at three o'clock on Saturday afternoon. By nine o'clock on Monday night we were in the Gulf of Finland, the following morning we were off Revel;

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and the captain said we should be at Cronstadt before twelve at night. We scarcely lost sight of land during the whole of this day, and both shores of the Gulf were frequently visible at the same time. The Baltic is a lively sea to traverse.

In a steamboat, one is never many hours without seeing land; and the having an island, which marks one's progress the

voyage, to look at, or to look for, is a neverfailing subject of interest: the number of ships, moreover, with their white sails set, of which we could sometimes count one or two and twenty around us, helped to break the monotony of a sea view.

In this latitude we have at present no real night; the sun goes below the horizon for a couple of hours, but the sky retains a red tint, and the smallest print, or the palest handwriting, may be read with ease at a window at midnight. As we were so near the end of our voyage, no one thought of going to bed on Tuesday night. About half-past eleven, the paddles were stopped, and we were boarded by a boat from the Russian guard-ship, off Cronstadt, containing two or three personages, who immediately descended into the cabin, and examined the captain's papers. In about a quarter of an hour they departed, and we proceeded on our voyage, and by twelve o'clock were anchored at Cronstadt. The firing however of the morning gun, and the hoisting of the colours upon the flagstaff, reminded us, that after sailing so far to the east, it was necessary to advance our watches,

it being by Petersburg time two o'clock in the morning. On coming to anchor, we were immediately boarded by two or

three boats full of customhouse officers and soldiers, who appeared to take possession of the ship. The soldiers were posted on different parts of the deck, under the command of a little subaltern; the passengers' luggage was brought upon deck, and ticketed with the word unexamined, a number being added to each article; and in this manner no less than three hours were consumed in the most disagreeable way. The deck was encumbered with luggage, at every turn one met a soldier in a dirty grey great coat; while the cabin was full of customhouse officers examining the passports, so that it was difficult to find a seat or a corner of a table at liberty.

At length, the custom-house officers departed, and allowed us to proceed up the Gulf, towards Petersburg, under the care of the little subaltern and his gang, who were left on board. Our delays were, however, not yet over, for in crossing the bar of the Neva, our boat ran aground, though she only drew about seven feet of water, and this accident detained us about three hours. At last, by means of two anchors carried out a-head, we were warped once more into deep water, and soon reached Petersburg, and came to our moorings at the English quay about twelve o'clock. Several officers now came on board, and the passengers were allowed to step on shore on receiving their passports, which had been collected soon

after leaving Traavemunde, by the captain's bookkeeper. We were allowed to take our cloaks and great coats on shore with us, but nothing else. Thanks to a friend to whom we had written beforehand, we found a laquais deplace awaiting our landing, with the agreeable information that lodgings were engaged for us. It was necessary of course as the first thing, to superintend the examination of our luggage by the custom-house officers, which agreeable ceremony was performed in a large room hard by, which is set apart for the accommodation of steam-boat passengers. We were unlucky in being searched by a particularly surly old gentleman; but the examination, though strict, could hardly be called vexatious, except that a new silk gown of M—'s was very near being confiscated, -all articles of dress unmade, or which have not been worn, being contraband. A little representation, however, to a superior officer who spoke French, conquered this difficulty. All our books were set aside to be examined by the censor, even a map in a case being subjected to this scrutiny. They were all made up into a parcel and sealed with lead, and then delivered to me upon my signing a paper, in which I undertook to send them to the

The penalty for breaking or losing the lead seal is a hundred roubles, (about four guineas.) I then was required to sign one or two other papers, and received a permit for my luggage to pass, some small charges, amounting only to a few shillings, being

censor.

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