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cups to drink it out of; this accommodation is to be had in every village almost, and from sixpence to tenpence is the usual charge. For tea and sugar, and indeed every thing else, not forgetting bread, the traveller must depend upon himself, since, unless he is a Russian born, he will not be able to eat the black rye-bread of the peasants.
The semăvar, or Russian urn, heated with charcoal, which is found in every house from the highest to the lowest in this country, is an excellent invention, insuring good tea, since the water is always boiling, and the teapot being placed on the top, is kept quite hot.
We proceeded all night upon our journey, and about two o'clock in the morning came to a river, which it was necessary to cross by a floating bridge. The leaders were taken off, since there was not room for them with the carriage upon the bridge, which was small and narrow.
The river being shallow at the edge, the bridge could not be brought quite close to the bank, and we therefore had to drive through water for about the length of the carriage to reach it; and then, there being no proper gangway for the wheels to run up, the bridge formed a high step or block against which they rested. The four wheelers either could not, or would not, draw us over this obstacle, and, after two or three vain jerks, refused the collar altogether. We could not get out of the carriage, without stepping
into water up to our knees, which, in a frosty September night, we did not feel inclined to do. The bridge was so narrow, that, if they had put to the leaders again, and had succeeded by a sudden spring in forcing the carriage upon the bridge, they probably would not have been able to stop it in time to prevent our running across into the river on the other side, where the water was deep. We, therefore, remained stationary for about half an hour, when the ferryman, who had gone for assistance to a village close by, returned, bringing with him about twenty peasants, who took off the horses, and, with the aid of levers, soon placed us on the floating bridge.
Nothing can exceed the ready good will with which a Russian peasant gives his assistance in case of need, especially where, as in this case, he is remote from great towns, and great roads. These people were called up in the middle of the night, and they were employed up to their knees in water for some time, in raising the wheels over the obstacle; but they continued the whole time in the most perfect good humour, and there was none of the swearing and abuse of one another, which would, in many countries, have been heard on a similar occasion. They apparently considered that they were merely rendering an ordinary service to their neighbour the ferryman; and, after we had crossed the river, they merely demanded through him a trifle, in addition to his ordinary charge, for their assistance.
They commonly address each other as brat, or brother, and their superiors use the same term in speaking to them; indeed, a master, in giving an order to his servant, often calls him brother.
In about four hours after crossing the river, we reached the town of Kashine; here, however, we made no stop, but passed through and changed horses a verst or two further on.
Kashine is a very old town, built in a straggling manner on steep broken ground, intersected by ravines : it once possessed a Kremlin, and was strongly fortified. Like all ancient Russian towns, it is filled with churches, and the various views of it which presented themselves to us were extremely singular and picturesque. When we stopped to change horses we breakfasted, in the same manner as we had supped the night before, at the house of a peasant, who furnished us with hot water and cream: the latter is a luxury which is to be met with almost every where in Russia.
At the next station we overtook our courier, who had horses ready to take us to the town of Ouglitch. He had already given us his services for about a hundred miles, and he offered to proceed, if we liked, to Yaroslav. However, we considered that it would be unnecessary to take him further, as M—'s uncle, to whose house we were going, had promised to order horses to be in readiness for us at every stage in his government, which we had now entered. We therefore dismissed our courier with a small recompence
for his services, and proceeding on our road, reached Ouglitch about one o'clock. Before we entered the town we crossed the Volga for the third time since the commencement of our journey, on a floating bridge. We drove, as we had been directed, to the house of the Gorodnitch, an officer who is, I believe, at the head of the police of a town, at least so the word seems to imply. This gentleman, who spoke French, gave us the agreeable information that he had received the promised instructions from the Governor, and that he had horses prepared for us, and he invited us into his house until they were ready. The horses, however, did not appear for more than an hour, and it was nearly three o'clock before we were able once more to set out, having still nearly eighty miles between us and Yaroslav.
Ouglitch, like Kashine, is a very old town; it contains about four thousand inhabitants, and there are no less than twenty-four churches, besides two convents. None of the churches, however, appeared externally as handsome as some of those which we had seen at Kashine.
The first stage from Ouglitch was thirty-four versts, and the road, for a great part of the distance, lay through a heavy sand. The horses were knocked up before they had finished their work, and during the latter part of the stage, the istvostchik got down from the box and stood upon the pole, leaning with his back against the edge of the footboard; his object
seemed to be, by getting closer to the horses, to give his whip more power. We found horses awaiting us at the end of the first and second stages from Ouglitch; but at the last station, before reaching Yaroslav, those which had been ordered for us had, owing to some mistake, been sent away, and we were detained there more than an hour. The Starosta, or head man of the village, whose duty it was to furnish horses for us, went from house to house to procure them, and they came, one by one, miserable looking animals, no bigger than ponies, until at last six were collected; and then the ceremony of arranging where each was to go, and of putting them to, occupied no small time.
In travelling in Russia, the traces, which are ropes, belong to the carriage and not to the harness of the horses. The collars have a leather loop on each side to which the traces are tied, and the istvostchiks are very particular in seeing that they are of the proper length, and in placing the horses as close as possible to their work, and in the early part of a stage one usually has a stoppage or two to adjust a trace or a pole piece, which does not exactly please the fastidious eye of the istvostchik. On this occasion we were rather more than the usual time in putting to the horses, and we had rather more than the average number of stoppages in the course of the first three versts after we had started: but this was not wonderful with a team of six peasants' horses, no two of which, in all probability, had ever been in harness