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coquetry displayed on both sides, and the grace and variety of their movements; at last, the lady instead of rejecting her suitor, accepts his attentions, and deigns to receive the kiss which concludes the dance.
Yesterday, however, I only saw the dance executed in this manner once; the performers on the occasion being a masked man and a very pretty girl dressed in the Russian costume, who both played their parts extremely well. With the exception of this one instance, the performers were all men, and the dance in each case became a trial of skill and activity between the two partners, to see which could invent the most extraordinary and grotesque steps and motions, and which could keep up longest the violent exertion of this amusement.
A farewell dinner was yesterday given by the nobility of this province, to the Ex-Governor on his departure. I was favoured with an invitation, and was glad of the opportunity of witnessing a public dinner in this country.
About seventy gentlemen were assembled on the occasion; the tables being laid so as to form three sides of an oblong. At four o'clock, the Ex-Governor arrived, and was received by the principal people in the room; a military band (a very bad one), which was stationed in the gallery, striking up as he entered. We sat down to dinner almost immediately, the guest of the day being placed in the centre of the cross-table, supported on
his right hand by my brother-in-law, who being Marshal, officiated as President; and on his left by two Generals, Oushakoff and Arapoff: I sat opposite to these gentlemen. The dinner was very good, all the best cooks in the town having contributed their services, without, as the event proved, “ spoiling the broth.” Towards the conclusion of dinner, we stood up and drank the Emperor's health in champagne, the wine always used for toasts in Russia. The band played “God save the king," the glasses were replenished, and the President gave the health of the Ex-Governor without speech or comment; we again rose to do honour to the toast, and the compliment was acknowledged in a few words. General Oushakoff's health was then drunk with congratulations on a new Order which he had lately received; he briefly returned thanks, and dinner being by this time brought to a close, we rose from table, and coffee was handed round the room, where we stood conversing in groups. The ExGovernor soon after made his bow and took his leave, but not till the champagne had once more circulated as a stirrup cup to wish him a safe journey o Petersburg
A public dinner in England is generally arranged for the purpose of allowing some person or persons an opportunity of making speeches, and expressing opinions on public matters: but this can never be the case in Russia, where no one can venture to discuss
political topics: and under these circumstances I certainly think that the few words in which the toasts were yesterday proposed and responded to, were far preferable to harangues half an hour long, on the extraordinary merits of the gentlemen to whom the compliment of drinking their health was paid, and equally tedious assurances in return of deep feeling and sincere gratitude, in which, most probably, no one would have believed.
Intention of leaving Tamboff-State of the weather-Éxpedition to
Bonderry-Ouchabas-Night-travelling on a steppe- Losing the way-A cloth manufactory in a lady's hands— Return to Tamboff.
Tamboff, March 1st, 1838. This is, I believe, the last letter which I shall send you from Tamboff, for we have already dispatched a great part of our luggage by a carrier, and we mean to set out for Moscow ourselves in a few days. Indeed, from the present state of the weather, it seems that we have no time to lose,* for the frost is giving way, and if the thaw continues, the ice on the rivers will become unsafe, and the winter roads be altogether spoiled; indeed I am afraid that they will at any rate be very indifferent, as we have had a good deal of snow lately, which no doubt is worn into considerable holes in this mild weather, the thermometer having been above the freezing point both yesterday and to-day. Until very lately, the roads have been
* This proved a groundless alarm, as the frost returned with great severity, and lasted till the 10th of April.
remarkably good for travelling, owing to the severity of the frost, and the small quantity of snow on the ground; it is now, however, become very deep in this part of the country. I have already had a little specimen of a winter journey, in an expedition which I made a few days ago with General Arapoff and Mr. R— the English gentleman, who, as I have already told you, is residing in his house. The General was setting off on a long journey, intending on his way to visit a large cloth manufactory belonging to a widowed sister, which he superintends in her absence; and he kindly proposed to R- and myself to accompany him so far on his road, sleep as he meant to do at his sister's house, called Bonderry, between fifty and sixty versts hence, and return home the next day, while he proceeded on his journey. We accepted the invitation, and set off in a heavy fall of snow, about four o'clock on Sunday evening, Monday being a day on which a Russian will seldom, if he can avoid it, commence a journey. The General and I travelled in a kibitka, a vehicle with a head which I have already described to you, ,
and R- followed close behind in a large open sledge extremely comfortable and well built, and in which we both returned the next day. The first part of the road was pronounced on the whole to be not amiss, though we certainly met with some tolerably deep holes, or ouchabas, as they are termed. Each vehicle had three horses, and we performed a stage