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gradually ascends till he reaches the highest, where the heat of course is greatest; he also promotes the circulation of the blood, and increases the action of the heat upon his skin, by flapping himself all over with small birch twigs. He will often rush out of the bath when at the hottest, plunge into cold water, or even roll in the snow, and return.
This weekly purification of the person must tend greatly to the health of the Russian peasant, whose long hair and beard, and sheep-skin coat, are not favourable to cleanliness.
Mode of life in the country-Language-Russian patronymics—
System of country visiting-Guests—A dinner visit-Village fêteRussian swing— Intense heat-Remarks on the gaiety of the people-An enthusiast-A runaway serf.
Krasnoe, August 10th, 1837. We have now been here nearly six weeks, though I can scarcely persuade myself of the fact, so quickly and agreeably has the time flown by. Our life, however, has been extremely quiet and regular. We breakfast about nine, or half-past, after which Mand I retire to our own sitting-room, where we occupy ourselves, without in general being interrupted, till at two o'clock we all assemble for dinner; after dinner some of the ladies usually visit our room to work, talk, and read; towards five we think of going out to walk, ride, drive, or row; at seven we have tea, after which we go out again, and often come in but just in time for supper at ten or half-past ten. We have a boat somewhat less than a barge, which I pull, often with three or four passengers on board, and considering her tonnage she goes wonderfully
well. The lake, which has been formed by damming up the waters of two brooks flowing into one another, stretches up a hollow to a considerable extent; and as we can penetrate both of the little rivers for some distance, we can easily enjoy a pull of an hour and a half or two hours.
Besides the members of the family and ourselves, we have also, as inmates of the house, a German doctor and his wife; this gentleman, I have already mentioned, is engaged to attend the family and the peasants in sickness; and a little orphan girl, of noble birth, but ruined fortune, whom the young ladies educate according to a charitable custom extremely prevalent in Russia.
I have not made much progress in the Russian language, beyond acquiring the names of a few articles of every-day use. It is admitted by common consent to be extremely difficult, and strangers, who merely intend to pass a short time in the country, have little inducement to bestow much labour upon the study. All Russians of the educated classes speak French, with as much facility in general as their native tongue, and many of them use it almost as much as Russ. in talking to one another, even when no foreigners are present. The Russian language, however, it is said, is rapidly gaining ground in fashionable society, owing to the encouragement of the Emperor, who very wisely will not allow himself to be addressed by his subjects in any other, and who is highly
displeased when it is spoken or written incorrectly. One cause for the general habit of talking French, probably is the want of bells, and the practice of having servants constantly in the ante-rooms close at hand, and within hearing of the conversation. The important precept so carefully instilled into English children, always to shut the door after them, is unknown in Russia.
The Russians have no words, at least none are ever used which correspond to Mr., Mrs., or Miss; and in speaking of, or to one another, in their own language, they use the christian name, subjoining that of the person's father with the termination-added, ovitch or evitch, son of, and ovna or evna, daughter of. Thus John son of Peter is called Ivan Petrovitch, and Anne daughter of John, is Anna Ivanovna. In this manner, without any title of respect, the servant addresses his master or mistress, and the soldier his officer. One of the first points, accordingly, which it became necessary to settle on our arrival here, was the providing us with suitable Russian patronymics for the benefit of the servants. M— became quite naturally Maria Alexandrovna; and, after some consideration, I received the euphonious name of Rodivon Rodivonovitch.
The ordinary routine of life which I have described, has been varied now and then by an occasional visit. The system of country visiting in Russia, is carried on upon the hospitable principle, that a
friend is always welcome. The distances are so great, that morning calls are of course in general out of the question, and, excepting on particular occasions, such as a fête, invitations are rare. Neighbours sometimes send over to announce their intention, if it is agreeable to you, of coming. to dine, or to spend a night or two at your house ; but there being no cross-posts between country places, the most usual thing is, that your guests arrive unexpectedly a little before the ordinary dinner hour. This system has many inconveniencies, though it is unavoidable in Russia, where people frequently cannot send beforehand to prepare you for their visit, and where, moreover, they do not like to pledge themselves to go twenty or five-and-twenty miles, over bad roads, to dine and return at night, with the chance that the day fixed for the visit may prove rainy or disagreeable. These unexpected visits are considered highly complimentary, though from the quantity of servants and horses with which Russians travel, the numbers to be provided for impromptu are sometimes rather formidable. For instance, on one occasion, when three parties chanced to arrive here to dine and spend a day or two unannounced beforehand, though the guests themselves amounted only to five or six, they brought with them ten servants, and sixteen carriage-horses. A single man seldom moves with less than two servants and four horses, and the Russian country-house has no 'neighbour