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was an ordinary working-day, and there was no preparation for visitors, our arrival, owing to a misunderstanding, being quite unexpected; nothing, however, could exceed the neatness and perfect cleanliness of these young manufacturers, more especially the girls, whose hair, in particular, excited our admiration, every head being arranged alike, and with a degree of taste and neatness which many a lady might copy. Caps are never worn by the lower classes in this country, and certainly the well brushed hair, drawn smoothly over the forehead, and fastened at the back by a high comb, rendered the line of heads infinitely more agreeable to the eye, and at least as cleanly in appearance, as the row of mobcaps, which would have been ranged down the table had these been English charity-girls. A wooden screen, about six feet high, ran down the middle of the hall to separate the two sexes. Leaving them at their meal, we were shewn through the dormitories, which were beautifully clean and airy, almost deserving the name of elegant; and to each set was attached a convenient washing-room, well supplied with water. When we
returned to the hall, dinner was over, and at our appearance a bell was rung, on which the whole body, young men, boys, and girls, stood up and sung a hymn, at the conclusion of which, the bell gave the signal for departure, and the two sexes moved out of the hall at different ends, in
the most orderly manner. I was told by General Wilson's brother, that in the thirty years, during which he has had the management of this manufactory, there has never been more than one instance of a girl misconducting herself, a fact which strongly attests the excellence of the regulations which are observed.
This, like all the other public establishments, such as barracks and hospitals, which I have seen in this country, appears a perfect model of order and cleanliness; a fact which is the more striking in Russia, since there is often abundant room for improvement in these respects in private houses. Most branches of the work at Alexandrovsky are under English foremen, so that there is a colony here of our countrymen, amounting to seventy or eighty persons; and divine service is performed in the school-room, every Sunday evening, by the British chaplain,* Mr. Law, who most kindly goes over from Petersburg for this purpose.
I believe this excursion to Alexandrovsky is the only incident which I have to mention since we have been here; you must, therefore, be contented with a short letter, as you would not thank me if I filled it up with a description of Petersburg, or an
* It is but justice to my friend, Mr. Law, to add, that this duty, which is entirely voluntary and gratuitous on his part, is a laborious addition to two full services which he performs every Sunday in the British church at St. Petersburg.
account of the relations and friends, who are kind enough to invite us to their houses. However, as Easter is approaching, I hope to have more to tell the next time I write; meanwhile adieu!
Conclusion of Lent, The Metropolitan washing the feet of twelve
priests—Want of decorum in a Russian congregation-Commencement of Easter Sunday-Ceremony the Kazan churchChristos voscress—The Emperor and a Mahometan sentry-The katchellies—Coaches and six-Grand promenade-The Emperor and Empress-Silent reception of his Majesty, in accordance with Russian ideas of etiquette – Number of holydays injurious to Russia—Why not abolished.
Petersburg, April 24th, 1838. LENT is now over, and the Russians, to their great joy, are once more at liberty to eat, dance, and marry as they please.
On the day before Good Friday, we went to the Kazan church, to see the ceremony of the Metropolitan washing the feet of twelve priests. In the centre of the church, which was much crowded, a platform was raised about five feet from the ground, and on this were placed thirteen chairs, six on each side for the priests, and one at the top for the Metropolitan. Mass was first celebrated at the grand altar, and at the conclusion, the Metropolitan ascended the platform, and took his seat, facing the altar, while six
or seven deacons placed themselves behind his chair. A service was now chaunted, and soon after it had begun, two bishops made their appearance on the platform, and after turning round, and bowing to the altar, and then saluting in like manner the Metropolitan, they seated themselves on either side of him : two priests followed, and took their places in the two next chairs in like manner; others succeeded them, and at last the twelve chairs were filled. The Metropolitan then rose up, laid aside his ribbons and other decorations, took off several robes one after another, and girded himself with a long towel, the chaunted service still continuing. He then proceeded round to each of the twelve priests, with a large silver bason, and went through the form of washing their feet, a deacon accompanying and assisting him. This part of the ceremony occupied but a very short time, and the service was immediately afterwards concluded.
It is impossible to enter a Russian church without being struck by the want of decorum which the absence of seats produces. The whole congregation, except a few persons of consequence, who are placed near the altar, stand pell-mell, without order or regularity; so that when the church is full, the crowd becomes an absolute mob, and those who are attending to the service, are disturbed by the moving of others around them. The services in the Greek church are many of them very long, and