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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 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 adyance 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 censor. 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
made for bringing it on shore, &c. The introduction of poisonous drugs into the country is strictly prohibited, and a small medicine chest which we had was detained for further examination, but was afterwards very civilly given up to me unopened. We were now conducted to our lodgings, which were near at hand, and tolerably comfortable ; and after being up and restless all night, and all morning on board the packet, and during the examination of our luggage, we were exceedingly glad to find ourselves by two o'clock in a place where we could sit down at our
After dressing and refreshing ourselves, we set forth with our laquais de place, whom we shall of course retain during our stay in Petersburg, to see a little of the city, which is very beautiful; but the weather being exceedingly hot, we came in thoroughly exhausted, and were glad to go early to bed, and sleep without the fear before our eyes of being disturbed by custom-house officers. I have this morning been to write down my name at the Alien Office, which is the only personal trouble given to a foreigner on his arrival by the police regulations. Our passport is given to our landlord, whose duty it is to forward it to the proper authorities, by whom it is detained ; and a ticket of residence, as it is called, or a permission to remain in the country, which must be renewed on the 1st of January, every year, is sent in its place: this I expect to receive to-morrow or
the next day. For the ticket of residence a charge is made upon foreigners of five roubles, or about four shillings; from which persons of title, clergymen, officers in the Army and Navy, &c., are exempted. Our books have been returned from the Censor's office, with a certificate that they have been examined, and are permitted ; so that all the troubles of a first arrival are over, and we may consider ourselves as fairly established in Petersburg. We do not mean however to remain here more than a few days, as the town is very empty, and we wish to lose as little as possible of the short Russian summer before we proceed into the interior, reserving the sights of Petersburg to be visited as we pass through on our way home.