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the frost: even with this precaution, however, they often perish in a winter more than ordinarily severe.
Ice is a good thing, of which for a great part of the year Russia certainly enjoys rather a superfluity : but the abundance of it in summer is a very great luxury. Instead of being taken, as in England, from any stagnant pond, and then pounded into a mass, the ice is here selected from the purest water, and placed in solid blocks in the cellar, so that it is perfectly bright and clean. It is not only used to ice butter, water, wine, &c., but plates full of it, in small lumps, for putting into one's glass at dinner, always appear at table. The ice-cellar answers the
purpose of a larder, and forms an appendage to every peasant's house.
Our host after breakfast invited me to see. his kennel, where he had nine or ten couple of harriers, and five or six brace of greyhounds, and he kindly proposed to take them out for my amusement the following morning, although the corn was in general standing, and the sporting season had not yet commenced; however, I was curious to see how Russians hunted, and it was settled that we should go out the next day at five in the morning, if it did not rain.
The greyhounds were really magnificent animals, exceedingly tall, and altogether much larger and more powerful than any I ever saw before; their coats were long and silky, and their tails bushy like those of setters. Two of them are indeed a match
for a wolf, and their master had promised before my arrival to arrange, if possible, a wolf-hunt against the time of my visit; however, for this purpose it is necessary to collect a great number of peasants to drive the woods in a line; but the harvest had now begun, and the peasants were too busy to be spared, the project, therefore, unfortunately for me, fell to the ground; I should have much liked to see a hunt of this kind. Wolves abound in this country, but it is difficult to find them, as they are very shy and cunning, and hearing hounds at a great distance, they will never await their approach. Hounds can seldom kill a wolf, owing to his powers of endurance, but his back-bone being very inflexible, he is unable to turn quickly or in a small space, while he cannot match a greyhound in speed; for this reason, when once found, he is easily caught and mastered by them if they understand their business, and seize him by the throat; since he can neither avoid them by doubling like a hare, nor turn suddenly upon them in defence.
To return to the subject of our visit: some neighbours arrived to dinner, which was laid out, the day being warm and pleasant, under a large lime-tree in the garden. An example, by-the-bye, which I should recommend no one to follow in the month of August, since, however agreeable it may be in some respects, the constant dropping of the flowers into one's plate and glass, is no improvement to their contents.
Among the guests were a lady and gentleman named Lovoff, connexions of the family, who invited us to dine with them as we returned home, which we accordingly did, their house lying near the road, looking over an extent of woodland, which reminded me of an English park. · Madame Lovoff and her family have a great talent for working in wax,
of which in her house we saw two beautiful specimens, a Mameluke on horseback, and a Magdalen in a cave. We were told also that a traineau with two horses in wax, which we had seen at Petersburg in the Hermitage, and the extreme beauty and delicacy of which had excited our admiration, was the work of this lady's mother.
On the morning after our al fresco dinner I woke early and looked out, but as it was pouring with rain, and there seemed every probability of the bad weather continuing, I gave up all idea of our projected sport, and went quietly to sleep again. However, about six o'clock, finding the rain had ceased, I got up, and before I was dressed, was told the master of the house was ready, and after a slight breakfast, we set out together. He was equipped in a great coat with a spencer over it, and a red comforter round his neck; a pair of very loose black velveteen trousers, lined down the parts which press the saddle with black leather like a dragoon's, and strong water-proof boots without spurs. A cloth cap completed his attire. The black velveteen trousers
are, I am told, commonly worn for hunting in Russia over another pair, and they are not bad things for wet and cold.
I was mounted on a rough unpromising looking horse, which, however, belied his appearance, and proved to be in reality a good one. I found, indeed, that he was a Don Cossack, which breed of horses is famous for action and endurance, though coarselooking and small.
We had four piqueurs dressed in military-shaped frock coats of blue cloth, edged round with goldcoloured lace, blue trousers, and caps of orangecoloured cloth, with broad black velvet bands; there was also a fifth man, who was, I believe, a valet-dechambre, and who was dressed somewhat differently. All these were mounted on small active horses of the same description as mine. Three of them wore short swords, and had horns slung over their shoulders. Two managed the greyhounds, and the other three hunted the hounds, for the sport was a combination of hunting and coursing; the object being that the hounds should find hares in the covert and drive them into the open ground to be coursed by the greyhounds. In this manner they sometimes kill twenty in a day; they also kill foxes, and occasionally a wolf; the latter, however, as I have already said, is in general difficult to meet with.
We threw off among some bushes flanking and connecting two small woods. The hounds were un
coupled amidst a din of whips cracking, horns blowing, and men hallooing; in short, all pains were apparently taken to excite the pack to the highest possible pitch of wildness, and certainly not without
Away they went into cover giving tongue like hounds who already wind a fox. - That is no hare," quietly remarked my companion, “it is only their joy at getting loose.” The joy, however, was not easily subdued, and their cry continued with little interruption to be heard through the woods for about half an hour, when it was asserted they had found a hare, although, as nobody had seen it, I was sceptical enough to doubt its existence. At last a hare really made its appearance, and afforded a short course to the greyhounds, which it escaped by doubling back into the wood. Two men were always stationed outside the covers in favourable spots, each with two or three greyhounds; these dogs knew their business very well, and kept quietly in their proper places; each wore a collar with a ring, so that he could be led if necessary, the men having long leashes for the purpose; this, however, appeared to be seldom used except for young dogs not properly broken in. When the hare turned back into cover, the hounds were cheered on, and they took a ring through some rough ground; the hare was again driven from the wood, but the greyhounds did not catch sight of it, and in the end it was lost. My object, at first, was, if possible, to prevent the greyhounds seeing the hare, in