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an old-fashioned Russian road not improved by two days of incessant rain. I dare say when I next travel that way, after being a little accustomed to the country, I may think the road very tolerable; but like many new acquaintances, we certainly, on this occasion, found it highly disagreeable, though here they laugh at us for complaining. However, it must be remembered, that we already had had quite enough of the motion of a carriage after travelling for two days and nights. Be the road, however, as it may, we travelled but slowly over it in spite of our six horses, which were driven according to custom, four a-breast, with a pair of leaders, and a postillion, (of course on the off-horse ;) we stopped half-way to bait, and it was ten o'clock at night before we reached Krasnoe. Here we were most kindly welcomed and received by M—'s father and all the family; comfortable apartments, consisting of bed-room, dressingroom, and sitting-room, had been prepared for us, and we were glad to enjoy a good night's rest, after our journey; we slept well, and I believe it was tolerably late when we appeared at breakfast the following morning
As we had arrived in the dark, we of course had seen nothing of Krasnoe as we approached, and I was curious to discover what sort of a place it was, and to see something of the country, and though the weather continued rainy and disagreeable, I set off immediately after breakfast with General P-y to
make the tour of the premises. The ground slopes down from the house to a large and handsome piece of water, and is laid out in the style of an English garden, with flower-beds, trees, shrubs and grass; at the further extremity is a grove of handsome birchtrees, where the ground is intended to imitate a park. The whole, including the water, is very pretty, but the space is too extensive to be kept in the perfect order which a garden requires ; indeed, although there is no separation, the greater part is rather in the style of a pleasure-ground. At the same time, sheep and cattle are never admitted to graze as on an English lawn, so that the grass is coarse and rank. The architecture of the church, which is close to the house, is considered remarkable as being a species of Gothic, a style uncommon in Russia. It was built in imitation of a.church erected by the Empress Catherine, to commemorate an action in the Black Sea, when the Russians burned the Turkish fleet, and it has five domes, all surmounted by the Greek cross, placed over the crescent.
This edifice was erected by an ancestress of M—'s, a lady who built no less than twelve churches in the Government of Tver, and who was altogether a very remarkable person. She inherited a large fortune, and was married at the age of fifteen, having been brought up on the principle of never doing any thing she disliked; so that she had no education, and could hardly read or write. She had twenty-three children,
of whom ten came to years of maturity: she survived her husband many years, and was nearly ninety years old when she died. After her husband's death, if not during his life-time, she was sole mistress of his property, which she increased till she accumulated an immense fortune by extraordinary energies and talents for business; and she died, leaving large estates to each of seven sons and three daughters.
The second day of our visit brought a decided improvement in the weather, and I had a drive with the General after breakfast in a low phaeton, to see a little of his estate, which consists of apparently sound good land, chiefly arable. The grass land will not bear a comparison with English pasture, and the crops of hay also are very light, though they are here considered particularly good this year. The horses, sheep, pigs, and horned cattle which compose the live stock, are small and of a very inferior kind, but I am told that the expense of improving them by a mixture of foreign breeds, is very much disproportioned to the profit thereby derived. The animals of every kind are necessarily housed at night, even in summer, on account of the wolves, which are very numerous and troublesome in this neighbourhood. In the morning -the whole stock goes out to feed, and remains during the day under the protection of a herdsman, whose badge of office is a whip, which he carries over his shoulder, with a short handle, and a long heavy lash trailing for several feet along the ground behind him.
With this implement he soon reduces to order, and brings back to the herd, any refractory animal which is inclined to stray: the want of fences renders his constant attendance necessary. There is an abundance of water and wood, birch, and Scotch, and spruce fir, both for fuel and ordinary uses on the estate, which also contains lime and brick earth.
The peasants live entirely in villages, of which at Krasnoe there are four, the mansion-house, with its appendages, forming a part of the largest: this is, I believe, a universal custom in Russia, where solitary houses are rarely seen. The roofs are covered either with thatch, boards, thin sheets of iron or guttered tiles, as slates are unknown; the most usual, because the cheapest covering for the peasants' houses, is a slovenly thatch.
These houses are, however, in general, extremely warm and substantial; they are built for the most part of unsquared logs of deal, laid one upon another and firmly secured at the corners, where the ends of the timbers cross, and are hollowed out so as to receive and hold one another: they are also fastened together by wooden pins and uprights in the interior. The four corners are supported upon large stones or roots of trees, so that there is a current of air under the floor to preserve the timber from damp; in the winter, earth is piled up all round to exclude the cold; the interstices between the logs are stuffed with moss and clay, so that no air can enter. The windows are very small, and are fre
quently cut out of the wooden wall after it is finished. In the centre of the house is a stove called a peech, which heats the cottage to an almost unbearable degree ; the warmth, however, which a Russian peasant loves to enjoy within doors is proportioned to the cold which he is required to support without: his bed is the top of his peech, and when he enters his house in the winter, pierced with cold, he throws off his sheepskin coat, stretches himself on his stove, and is thoroughly warmed in a few minutes.
There are two important appendages to the village of Krasnoe, which must be mentioned, viz. the hospital for the peasants, and the bath.
The former is under the superintendence of a German doctor who lives in the house, and is engaged at a fixed stipend. This provision for the proper attendance of their people when sick, is an act of humanity which, I believe, the proprietors of few estates in this country neglect if they can afford it.
The Russian bath is indispensable in every village, and there is scarcely a servant or peasant of either sex, whether young or old, who does not use it every Saturday in the year. You are aware that it is a
bath. A room containing a stove is furnished with benches rising like steps one behind the other to the roof: stones are heated on the stove, and water is poured upon them, so as to fill the room, which is carefully closed, with steam. The bather commences by placing himself on the lowest bench, and