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ments of a beautiful pattern of leaves and flowers in fine pearls, of which nearly six pounds weight were employed on this suit alone. There were other robes of velvet almost equally rich, and all had mitres to match, which were absolutely covered with jewels : one mitre was valued at about five thousand pounds. There were also bibles bound in gold and covered with jewels; crosses and images set in diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones; and several handsome services for administering the sacrament. One of these was of pure gold richly and beautifully chased, of the weight of twelve pounds avoirdupoise. The riches of this convent are chiefly owing to the munificence of the ancient princes of Yaroslav, but I am told they are nothing in comparison to the treasures which are heaped up in the convent of Troitska between this place and Moscow. The late Archbishop of Yaroslav found, on his accession to the see, that there were no less than sixty-four pounds weight of fine pearls; of which no use was made, but which were laid up in bags like seeds. Being a person of taste in such matters, he, in concert with the Abbess of a neighbouring convent, employed the pearls in embroidering the beautiful robes which I have just described; they have, however, still remaining unused, about eleven pounds of pearls. Besides these things, they have in the church a shrine of great size, of solid silver; an image set in broad frame of pearls which must be of immense
value; and also many precious and costly articles which I have not enumerated; the interior of the church is almost covered with gilding.
Although the dresses of the prelates, and even of the ordinary priests, are made and ornamented so magnificently, the forms of the robes are exceedingly stiff and ungraceful. Indeed, a false and frivolous taste appears to prevail in every thing connected with ecclesiastical pomp and ceremony in this country. Immense sums of money are lavished on petty minutiæ, on tawdry robes, gilt walls, and jewel-set images, which must be admired not for their beauty, but for their cost, which must be examined only in detail, and which produce no grand and general effects; while one seeks in vain for splendid cathedrals and noble architecture,* to impress and elevate the mind with solemn feelings, and to attest the genius and grand conceptions of ancient days.
We have passed our time here so agreeably, and have received so much kindness, that we are preparing with no small regret to leave Yaroslav to-morrow. Among the other attractions of the house, must not be forgotten in the heart of Russia, a number of modern English books which we have met with, and among the rest “ Blackwood's Magazine,” which is regularly taken in by our hostess, who
* My opinion on these points was unchanged on leaving Russia ; but the interior of the church of the Smolna monastery, and the columns of the church of St. Isaac, at Petersburg, are evidences of a taste for a higher order of things.
understands and speaks English exceedingly well, and who occupies herself much with English literature. The kind and repeated invitations which we have received to prolong our stay, are highly agreeable and flattering, but we are obliged to shut our ears to temptation, since the season reminds us that it is time to seek our winter quarters. My next letter will be addressed to you from Moscow, which is a hundred and eighty miles hence, and where we shall spend a few days on our way southwards.
We have been advised, instead of travelling to Moscow with post-horses, to make an agreement here with a man who undertakes to forward us all the way: by which means we avoid the chance of being detained for want of horses. The expense of a padoroshna, which I will explain directly, is also saved, though this is but trifling.
We have accordingly agreed with an istvostchik to pay him a sum equivalent to about five pounds ten shillings for the whole journey, with six horses; and we have received from him a paper on which are marked the distances, and the proportion we are to pay at each station. The stages are somewhat longer than those of the regular post, but this will be no disadvantage to us, as the Russian horses possess great powers of endurance, and more time is lost in this country, by frequent changes than is gained in increase of speed. The
post horses are an important source of revenue
to government, the contractors who furnish them paying highly for the privilege. At every station there is a postmaster, an officer in the imperial service, whose duty it is to prevent unnecessary delay, and to ensure regularity in furnishing the horses, which are supplied sometimes by the proprietor of the village, but more often by peasants who make this their occupation, and who are properly called yemstchiks; they usually drive their horses themselves. At each post-house is a board, on which is marked the number of horses belonging to that station, which of course is, or ought to be, proportioned to the traffic on the road.
Post-horses can only be furnished to travellers on producing a padoroshna, or order, which it is necessary to obtain at a police-office before starting, and in which is inserted the place to which one is going, the distance in versts, and the number of horses which one requires.
For the padoroshna one pays at the rate of two kopeks per horse per verst, ten kopeks being equivalent to a penny; this duty serves to maintain the roads.
The fare for each post-horse is eight kopeks, between Petersburg and Moscow, and five kopeks on most other roads, per verst.
To travel post in Russia, a person must either be provided with his own carriage, or content himself with a tilèga, a small waggon without springs. In
these the letters are conveyed by the Post Office, and the feldt yägers, or imperial couriers, travel in the same manner. The feldt yägers are a class of officers set apart for this employment, and numbers of them are at all times traversing the empire in every direction, on various errands: the fatigues which they endure are so severe and injurious to the health, that they seldom last above six years, dying in general of consumption.
The pace they are forced to travel in waggons without springs and over the roughest roads, is from twelve to fifteen miles an hour, and this, day and night, for long distances, without any repose. They pay for the horses at every station, but they are not delayed many minutes, as every postmaster is obliged to have a tilèga and three horses standing at all times ready in his yard, in case a courier should arrive, and the moment it goes out, another takes its place. The courier has only to show his padoroshna, and the tilèga is driven out for him directly, the time at which he reaches and leaves each station being marked by the postmaster on the padoroshna. The feldt yägers travel sometimes from Moscow to Petersburg, a distance of more than five hundred and twenty miles, in less than five and thirty hours.