considered as " in the service;" and each individual is classed with entire reference to military rank. One civilian has the grade of ensign, another of lieutenant, and so on, up to full general. From the rank of major-general upwards, all persons, with their wives and daughters, so long as the latter remain unmarried, have the style of Excellency. Their sons, of course, enjoy no rank but what they have themselves attained in the service. A general's daughter ranks with a colonel's wife: but a lady, on marrying, loses whatever title or precedence she may have held by right of birth, or by an office at court, such as that of maid of honour, and can only assume that of her husband. Less fortunate than our honourable and right honourable young ladies, who retain their rank or title after marriage, the Russian general's daughter is no longer Her Excellency, when she has become the captain's wife, and Mademoiselle la Princesse must descend to plain Madame, if she weds an untitled husband.



Exhibition of fire-engines-Fire establishments in the hands of Go

vernment-Account of the system-Village regulations-Frequent occurrence of rural fires-- Visit to a monastery-Ex-archbishopA Te Deum-Convent treasures-Origin of the use of images in the Greek church – Visit to Riepinsk — Going to bed-Mayor of Riepinsk-Towing barge-Project of establishing steam on the Volga-A name's day-Performance of mass by the archbishop-Mode of communicating the death of the Emperor Alexander to his mother

- Treasures of the monastery at Yaroslav- Remarks on Russian churches — Conclusion of visit at Yaroslav - Post-horse system Feldt yägers.

Yaroslav, October 4th, 1837. We were much interested, a few days ago, by a little impromptu exhibition, which displayed the efficiency of the fire-establishment, and the alertness of the men: before, however, commencing any description of what we saw, I must give you a short account of the Russian system.

The fire establishments here are not, as in England, in the hands of insurance companies, but under the immediate control of government. The firemen are soldiers, and the horses, engines, &c., are the property of the crown; the whole, however, appears to be well organized, and the general regulations laid

down by law, to be extremely good. In the towns watchmen are stationed day and night on the tops of high towers, which are built in various quarters, so as to command the town; at the foot of each tower is an establishment of firemen, horses, and engines, which are or ought to be always ready at a moment's notice. As soon as the watchman on the tower discovers a fire, he rings a bell, which gives the alarm to the firemen below, while at the same time, by a telegraph, which can be used either by day or night, there being in the latter case a certain arrangement of lanterns, he points out the direction of the fire, and warns the establishments in other quarters of the town to send their assistance. As soon as the train of engines is ready, it proceeds at full speed through the streets, neither stopping nor turning aside, being preceded by a horseman, who gallops along, shouting and warning all persons to clear the way. If it is dark, the leading engine carries a bright light high up on a pole, which is easily distinguished, by its position, from the lamps of a carriage as it moves along. When a fire breaks out at St. Petersburg, it is the duty of the aide-de-camp in waiting, immediately to inform the Emperor, even if the latter is asleep in bed; if the fire is at all considerable, the Emperor always gets up and goes to it himself: in other cases the aide-decamp is ordered to go to the spot, wait till the conclusion, and return to report what loss has been sus

tained, and, in short, the general result of the misfortune.

In the country the regulations are very good, and it is the duty of the starosta or bailiff of every village to see that they are enforced, though they are nevertheless, in many cases, totally neglected.

In the villages, where the rules are carried into effect, every house has a small board affixed to it, on which is painted a number, and under the number is a figure of some implement useful at a fire: on one is drawn a bucket, on another an axe, on a third a ladder or a pole with a hook at the end for pulling down burning thatch and rafters. The moment a fire is discovered in the village, the inhabitant of every house is bound to appear with the implement depicted outside his door ; and there are various regulations for establishing order in the operations, such as the appointing one man out of a certain number to be the captain of the gang, and to direct their proceedings.

If the rules were always properly enforced, it would not be easy in a country village to contrive better arrangements than these : since ready assistance with a proper number of all useful implements is provided in case of fire, and confusion is as far as possible avoided: it is the duty of the starosta to visit the houses from time to time, in order to see that the implement belonging to each is ready and fit for

use, and even that the buckets are kept filled with water.

The necessity for such precautions is unfortunately exemplified, by the frequent occurrence of rural fires. The peasants, as I have already observed, live entirely in villages : their houses and outbuildings are almost universally constructed of wood, and covered with a loose thatch; and, therefore, if a fire once breaks out, it spreads with inconceivable rapidity from house to house,' and whole villages are sometimes thus destroyed. The period when these misfortunes are most common is in the autumn, immediately after harvest, when the peasants are drying their corn at fires made in wooden thatched buildings.

If the proprietors are careful in placing their drying houses at a safe distance from one another, and from the dwellings, and also in prohibiting the peasants from stacking the whole of their produce close around them, the worst that can ensue from an accident is the destruction of a drying house with the corn which may happen to be in it at the time: but nothing can exceed the characteristic imprudence of the Russian peasants; the orders of their masters are disobeyed; to save a little trouble, the whole of their produce is brought at once as near as possible to the drying-house; a fire breaks out, and a year's provision is destroyed in an hour : the master may inflict punishment for the disobedience of his orders, but he must to a certain degree make good the loss which has been incurred, for the law requires that if, from a failure of crops or any other misfortune, the peasant is

« ForrigeFortsett »