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less broadly marked. The uncouth peasant, in his sheepskin coat, the merchant in his long blue caftan buttoned on the left side, with black boots over his trowsers; and both with thick beards which have never felt a razor, are figures which present themselves here at every step, but which would certainly be followed by a gazing mob in London. The equipages also at Petersburg are, for the most part, quite unlike all that one has seen elsewhere. The private carriages, with four long-tailed horses, the wheelers driven by a bearded coachman, and the leaders, with enormously long traces fastened to the pole, and managed by a boy mounted on the off horse; coachman and postillion each dressed in a caftan or wrapper without a collar, fastened by a gay sash round the waist, and wearing a low-crowned hat of a peculiar shape, the coachman being adorned, if possible, by a handsome beard. The whole turn-out is frequently in as bad a style as a London hackney-coach, but the four horses keep up the dignity of the equipage. Many handsome carriages are built at Petersburg, and many
fine horses are to be met with: but the average of both to be seen at present is decidedly very
indifferent. It is not, however, a fair moinent for forming an opinion, since the court is out of town, and most fashionable people have followed its example.
There are no hackney coaches in Petersburg, though there are plenty of vehicles, both open and
close, which may be hired in the streets; the fares, however, not being regulated by authority, it is necessary always to make a bargain before taking
The hack-cab of Petersburg is the droschka, a very primitive vehicle, consisting merely of a bench about five feet long, covered by a cushion, mounted on four low wheels, and hung on C springs. The driver sits astride in front, resting his feet on an iron bar which projects on each side, over the fore axletree, and the passenger sits in the same way behind, where there is a low back for him to lean against, with his feet on the step on either side, protected from the mud by splashing boards over the wheels. If there is a second passenger, he sits sideways in the middle of the droschka. It is a most rude and uncomfortable conveyance, since one is entirely exposed to the weather, and the position of sitting astride on a bench is not particularly agreeable. There are, however, plenty of private droschkas to be seen, which are very neat and convenient little carriages for fine weather; they are, indeed, much like a pony phaeton, with a seat in front for the driver, and they are very easy, being hung upon C springs. Sometimes these vehicles are drawn by a pair of horses with a pole; but in general, like the hack-droschkas, they have shafts and are drawn by one horse, with his head borne up very high, a wooden arch resting on the ends of the shafts, and standing up over his head, with a ring at the highest part, to which the
bearing-rein is attached.
No carriage, waggon, or other vehicle with shafts is seen in Russia without this arch, which is called a douga. An outrigger is frequently harnessed on the near side of the shafthorse, without a bearing-rein, but with his head, on the contrary, drawn down almost to the ground, and turned outwards, as if he were flying away from the shafts. In this form he is made to canter and prance through the streets, while his companion trots steadily along. To droschkas occasionally, and to heavier carriages often, a third horse is harnessed in the same manner on the opposite side. This attelage, which is exceedingly pretty, is called a troika. The Russians always drive with snaffle bits and without blinkers ;* bearingreins are never used except for horses in shafts.
The canals which run through Petersburg, and the sides of the Neva, are crowded with large clumsy barges, loaded with wood for winter consumption, and cut up into logs ready for use. Good-sized hay-stacks, thatched over, may also be seen apparently floating by themselves upon the river; a second glance, however, shows that the foundation is a low
* From subsequent observation, it appears to me that the vice of kicking in harness is much less common with Russian horses than with English, though from the manner in which the former are often harnessed, and the slight pains which are bestowed on breaking them in, the contrary might have been expected. The reason, I certainly take to be, that the Russian horse has the use of his eyes, while the English horse “imagines an invisible enemy in every loose straw or other harmless object which touches him unexpectedly. No people habitually drive so fast as Russians.
barge, almost entirely covered and concealed by the mass with which it is loaded.
We have, of course, visited the Summer Garden, the principal public promenade of Petersburg, which in this respect is very deficient. The garden has little beauty to boast of, but it is thickly planted with trees, and it, at least, offers abundance of shade. The walks are laid out in straight lines, and adorned by marble busts and statues, but the principal ornament is the celebrated palisade facing the river, which is exceedingly fine. The Russians have a story of an Englishman who came to Petersburg on purpose to see this palisade, and who rowed up the river to it, gazed at it, and having gratified his curiosity, returned home without having set foot on Russian soil. Though not quite worthy of so long a pilgrimage as this gentleman is supposed to have taken, it is a most beautiful work.
We drove, one lovely evening, through the islands formed by the different branches of the Neva, and which are crowded with pretty villas and gardens which in this hot weather look exceedingly cool and tempting, but which are uninhabitable, from damp, excepting in the height of summer. They, however, form at present a very gay and attractive scene as one drives among them, along a well watered road, a luxury which, as I have already observed, the city itself does not furnish.
One evening, about seven o'clock, we went out to
walk, crossing the Isaac Bridge, and following the bank of the Neva on the other side up to the Exchange, and the scene, as we walked slowly along, was certainly exquisitely beautiful. We were on the shady side of the river, while the light fell directly on the opposite side,—on the Admiralty, the Imperial Palace, and the other fine buildings which line the bank, as well as on the gay pleasure boats which crowded the broad bright stream; while facing us stood the well-known and splendid equestrian statue of Peter the Great on a granite rock as its pedestal. We could not help regretting that the ugly bridge of boats was not replaced by a structure worthy of the Neva and of the city which lay before us; for the beauty of the river, enhanced as it is by the fine granite quays facing it on either side, leaves nothing but a handsome bridge to be desired. The construction of one has hitherto been prevented by the extreme depth of water, which renders it impossible to build piers. A chain-bridge is talked of, but here also there are, it is said, some serious difficulties to
We returned home by the garden adjoining the custom-house; it is, however, remarkao.e for nothing but the immense numbers of birds of all sorts, from a parrot to a linnet, which are exposed here in cages for sale.
One thing has struck us in walking about Petersburg, namely, the small appearance there is of communication with the country. Instead of the count