of three and thirty versts, nearly five and twenty miles, in two hours and five minutes, our shaft horse trotting all the way. When we proceeded, after changing horses, we found the road much worse ; and occasionally, when we were going along at a great pace, we were thrown on our beam-ends in so formidable a manner, that I once or twice thought it impossible that the kibitka could right itself again, which however it always did, being largely possessed of the quality of stable equilibrium.

The night came on exceedingly dark, the last ten versts of our journey lay across an open steppe, and the snow, which had now been falling heavily for some hours, had completely obliterated the discoloured line which would otherwise have marked the road, but which was now as white as the rest of the plain. It was not, therefore, surprising that in a few minutes we found, from the horses sinking up to their knees in the soft snow, that we were off the beaten track, and we did not even know whether it lay to our right or left. The servants and drivers were now obliged to get down, and walk about, stamping with their feet, to find the hard line of road: it was a good while before they succeeded in their search, and we had quite time enough to meditate on the prospect of passing the night where we were, an event which was then by no means improbable. At length, however, the people hit on the beaten track, which was not many yards from us, and we were once more

in motion ; one of the men walking before us for some distance to feel the way, which by great caution we did not again lose; and the direction of the wind having been observed at first, to prevent the chance of our unwittingly retracing our steps, we at length had the satisfaction of seeing the lights of the village to which we were going, and soon afterwards we found ourselves comfortably installed in Madame L-'s house, which was large and handsome, and where every thing was prepared for our reception; a messenger having preceded us with the necssary orders.

The following morning we went with the General over a great part of the manufactory, which is for the supply of cloth for soldiers' uniforms, and one of the largest establishments of the kind in Russia, the number of persons employed amounting to nearly three thousand. There is a Frenchman at the head of the concern; but Madame L-, the proprietress, superintends it herself when at home. This seems rather an extraordinary undertaking for a woman; but certainly, in Russia, where every landed proprietor almost is a manufacturer, ladies often exhibit business-like tastes and talents, which I should imagine are not often developed among us.

After going over the manufactory, which I need not describe, but which seemed well and systematically conducted, we had an early dinner; and I then took leave of my kind friend General Arapoff and

The day

R-, and I set off to return to this town. was most disagreeable, we had a high wind with a driving sleet, and nothing could be more dismal than our view as we crossed the steppe, in which we had lost our road the night before. A flat waste, covered with snow, surrounded us on every side, the horizon being obscured by the falling sleet: and as we approached the boundary of the plain, the trees and other objects, which indistinctly presented themselves, gave the idea of a shore for which we were steering across the sea; and the road not being particularly good, our sledge pitched up and down, and from side to side, like a boat in rough water, only that our bones bore but too undeniable testimony to the solidity of the surface which we were traversing. It grew dark before we reached Tamboff, and we missed our way more than once, in a plain four or five miles wide, which skirts the town.

The lights, however, which were visible before


marked our direction, and by sometimes catching sight of a verstpost, and sometimes of the black railing of a bridge, of which there are several over hollow water-courses, we got safely to the end of our journey without much delay. Till I went on this expedition, I had never been in a kibitka: it certainly is a very comfortable carriage to sit in, and the motion of a sledge is highly agreeable when one is going fast, and the road is not too bad; but the jolts when the kibitka lights on the ground, after a sort of jump, which a hard ridge

sometimes occasions, are tolerably severe; and I have seen quite enough to convince me, that a long journey at this moment is not very inviting. The best season for winter travelling is now past, and we must expect bad roads and changeable weather; we shall, therefore, be doubtless very happy, when we can look back upon the nine hundred miles of snow which we must traverse between this place and Petersburg. We do not mean to stay long at Moscow, though M—'s family are now there, for fear the winter should break up and detain us, as travelling, at that moment, is very inconvenient; and it is difficult, and at times impossible, to cross the rivers during the spring-floods, produced by the melting of the snow. We shall travel to Moscow in a kibitka, and we shall then hire a Diligence to take us to Petersburg, whence I hope to date my next letter.


Arrival at St. Petersburg—Appearance of thaw at Tamboff-Depar

ture-Increase of cold — The first halt - Motion of kibitka-A long stage - Journeying along rivers --- Arrival at Moscow - A winter scene—Stay at Moscow-Character of the hotels--A sledgeDiligence-A snow storm-Slow progress-Deep holes in the snow

-Small quantity of snow further north-Prince Serge GalitzinVisitors not announced in Russia-A party at Prince Serge's—The Prince of Georgia - The Cheremetieff and Galitzin hospitals at Moscow-Scanty population of that city.

St. Petersburg, March 27th, 1838. You will perceive, by the date of this letter, that we have completed the journey which we were about to undertake when I last wrote ; and you will be glad to find that we have made so long a stride on our way homewards, for, in point of time, Petersburg is as near to England as to Tamboff, at least when the Gulf of Finland is open: this, however, will not be the case for some weeks to come, and the Baltic steam-boats will certainly not begin to ply till the second week in May at the earliest.

We arrived here on Saturday last, having spent ten days in Moscow on our way; and before I give

« ForrigeFortsett »