[ocr errors]


Notwithstanding his reported reconcilia. doors and shutters of which are painted tion to the Church, and a confession said symbols of the wares for sale within ; the to have been signed by him, the curé of curious little low, four-wheeled droschkies, St. Sulpice refused to receive his body, the elegant equipages with silver barness which, after having been embalmed, was (for as yet snow roads have not made transported by the abbé Mignot, bis sledges the necessity they are later on), nephew, to the abbey of Scellières in the and the coachman — quite a personage, diocese of Troyes, and there interred; the fine and tall, sometimes quite patriarchal. simple ioscription, “ Here lies Voltaire " looking — arrayed in the caftan with its being engraved on his tomb. Fifteen flowing drapery, girdle, and sash of bright years later, during the Revolution, a mon- colors — driving with arms extended in a ument was erected to his memory in the fashion which seems to be peculiar to the Church of Ste. Géneviève in Paris, then nation. denominated the Panthéon.

Then the picturesque groups in the His entire property, representing an in.streets; the variety of ihe costumes of the come of seventy thousand livres a year, peasants particularly catching the eye; the besides a quantity of furniture and a li- strangeness of the language, accompanied brary of fifieen thousand volumes, mostly by expressive and animated gestures; the aonotated by himself, was bequeathed un- low bows — a dvornik (house porter) will reservedly to his niece, Madame Denis. make a salaam to a maidservant which The books – either by gift or purchase would do credit to an Eastern courtier. subsequently passed into the hands of the Add to all this, the colored buildings, marempress Catherine of Russia.

ble palaces; demonstration of religious CHARLES HERVEY. feeling on the part of the people on pass

ing a church, temple, priest, or other object of reverence; and you have a picture almost every feature of which is singular

to an inhabitant of western Europe. From Temple Bar.

People here all arm themselves for the

winter. There can be no question as to Life in St. Petersburg is synonymous its severity; indeed one would be inclined with life there in winter, since directly to imagine it were almost welcomed as a spring sunshine and soft breezes proclaim friend, for keen disappointment is exthe end of the reign of ice and snow, pressed when the snow is tardy in falling. every one appears to be seized with the After the beavy rains which fall in the spirit of migration, and there is a general late autumn, snow roads are almost a exodus, some moving to Tsarskoe Selo, necessity of existence; if frost suddenly or Peterhoff, others pitching their tents sets in before they are made, it is under at Strelna, in the islands in the Neva, or great difficulties that the country people at any one of the various pleasant places bring supplies to the metropolis; the where Petersburghers bivouac for the price of provisions rises in proportion;

and distress ensues. Double windows The gathering to headquarters for win. are universal; they are an absolute neces. ter begins soon after the middle of Sep. sity. For the admission of fresh air, one tember (new style); and then every day pane in each window is left so that it may

an accession of numbers on the be opened at pleasure. The rest of the Palace Quay, in the Nevsky Prospect, window is so thoroughly secured that not and other public places. The railway a breath of the keen air can enter; this stations are crowded, so are the landing process accomplished, the difference of places on the Neva ; for whilst many are the temperature within doors is sensibly flocking in, others are hastening away perceptible, and heating by means of whilst yet the gulf is open. There is in stoves may then be delayed for some cessant stir and movement before frost time. regularly sets in, and this city, ice-bound The interior of a Russian house is not and crystallized, owns the spell which familiar to all, so, under favor of the Lares only can be realized by those who have and Penates, we will enter the sacred spent a winter in a northern capital. domicile, first premising that a well-kept

A stranger here is at first struck by the house in St. Petersbury or Moscow is absolute novelty of all around – one seems exceedingly comfortable. A tall, portly to have fallen into a new world : the free suisse (house-porter) admits you, when a space, expansive plains (squares); singu. footman ushers you up a mostly spacious, lar aspect of many of the shops, on the handsome staircase, often of marble; and,



after passing through the usual double ; seldom visible before one o'clock in the doors, you are introduced into an ante. day – early rising is not one of their cusroom, where you leave your inevitable toms. The ordinary nine o'clock breakgarmest — your fur cloak. The 'recep- fast, where there is a family, is guiltless tion-rooms are then entered, and these of ceremony.

The national samovar often seem interminable; eight or nine in stands on the table ; to the uninitiated we number in the houses on the Palace or may explain that this is a kind of urn, but English Quays are not uncommon, gen. possessing the advantage over our urn, erally opening into one another. The in. since water may, for hours, be kept hot in laid parquets of the rooms are often very it, owing to burning charcoal being keptin beautiful — the floor-polisher is an impor- a tube in the middle of the urn. By this a tant institution in Russia ; of course some superior manservant is stationed, who rooms are richly carpeted, and do justice offers each one as he appears, a cup of to the looms of Turkey and Persia. tea; a roll, or what not, completes the

The silk or damask curtains, wall hang meal. You sit, or stand, linger or lasten ings, and coverings for the ottomans, are away, at pleasure; nothing could be less superb. All is luxurious : vases of lapis- formal. The regular breakfast answers lazuli, porphyry and malachite, pictures, very much to our luncheon. The Rus. and objects of art in general are in pro. sians do not adopt very late hours for fusion.

dining. Every one is now familiar with The Russians are very fond of proine dinner à la russe, and surely those are in nading through their suites of a partments, the minority who do not consider it an and ample space is left for this purpose. improvement upon our fashion. Although The winter being so long, every conceiv- the cuisine is French, some national able means is used to shed around the dishes retain their prestige, and amongst charms of warmer cliinates: trellises, these are the cold soups — by no means along which various creepers are trained, bad, selon nous. The Russians have a are introduced; pretty baskets of plants custom, which it is said other northern (tulips, hyacinths, and camellias in full nations adopt, of partaking of what they bloom, whilst winter is still raging out-term smorgös, before seating themselves side), the constant warm temperature in-at table. On a side-table, on little glass doors being favorable to their cultivation. or porcelain dishes, is arranged a variety The Continental fashion of living in flats of condiments, such as pickles, dried fish, much prevails here. Sleeping-rooms are and of course, the never failing caviare, for not invariably numerous in proportion to this purpose. The dinner-table is tastethe reception-rooms; but this state of fully adorned with fruit and flowers. The things naturally improves with the in- plate is superb, and the decanters and crease of civilization. Sometimes, now, goblets are often of lovely tinted topaz. a servant brings with him into a house Formality in entering the dining room is bed and baggage, and settles down in a banished — all walk in sans cérémonie corner of some upfrequented corridor, indeed the Russians are inclined to think other provision for himself and his effects there is just a shade of vulgarity, in india being nil.

cating on this occasion the locus standi of The picture of his saint has its place one's friends. English Petersburghers assigned on the wall above, a curtain is make a compromise. The hostess takes arranged in front of his improvised lodg. the arm of a gentleman, selecting perhaps ment, and there he is comfortably estab. the greatest stranger, and precedes ber lished, or, at any rate, contentedly estab- guests, who follow in pairs. There is lished. The uneducated Russians carry often a very Babel of tongues during dinto a great extent their fanaticism for the ner; and although French is generally the piciures of saints, calling them bongs language of society, Russians dining en (gods). These are painted in bright colors famille converse in their own. The late on pieces of board, and ornamented with lamented emperor encouraged this cussilver or gold. When a Russian enters a tom, which had fallen into desuetude. room or shop, let his business be of the He feared, owing to the increasing tenlast importance, bis first act is to salute dency to the use of French, German, and the saint by bowing, or crossing himself. English, that his subjects were in danger

What with sledging the ice-bills, and of forgetting their own tongue. skating on the Neva, outdoor amusements Ladies and gentlemen always leave the are not lacking; though many are the days tabie together, and as the hostess rises a on which even the hardy must be content curious little ceremony takes place, the to remain within. Ladies of fashion are guests making some slight acknowledg.




Sunt to her for the entertainment. Some most picturesque attire, join in the exerkiss her hand, others shake hands, and cise. The fun may be imagined.

Little many simply bow. A chance caller at din. wooden huts are erected on the ice, and ner is hailed with absolute cordiality. are kept well heated for the accommoda.

Much has been said about Russian so- tion of spectators. Skating, then, may ciety being difficult of access. It is true well be conceived to have its charms; but that the traveller who visits St. Peters- the chief national diversion is afforded by burg without a good introduction, may the ice-hills erected on the islands in the find himself in a desert; yet an introduc- Neva; these are consequently well worth tion to one family of respectability is a description. They are made of timber sufficient. It follows that the houses of raised to a height of some forty feet, havall who move in their circle are open to ing steps on one side to ascend, and on you. When general invitations are given, the other a steep descent covered with they are really expected to be acted upon. ice. Water is repeatedly poured on this,

The stoves, by means of which the and the surface is kept as smooth as glass. houses are heated, are very ingeniously Down this ladies and gentlemen - seated constructed. One stove will heat several on small, low sledges — descend with tre

It is filled with wood, which is mendous velocity, and carried along to burned until calcined; it is then well the foot of another ice-hill, the steps are stirred; the door of the stove is tightly climbed, and the experiment repeated; shut, and it does not require to be replen- and so on. ished for several days. The injurious Many are the sights to be witnessed on effects of the hot air are obviated by the Neva. Not the least curious are the large jars of cold water being kept in the reindeer with their owners, the Samoïdes.

It is certainly delightful to feel They generally come down from the far pretty much the

temperature north in the winter; and the funny, dimin. throughout the house.

utive figures of these people, who, clad in The freezing of the Neva generally skins, drive standing, pole in hand, are takes place in November. It is a curi. very remarkable. They considerably inous phenomenon : at first small fakes of crease the picturesque aspect of the scene. ice are observed on the surface; these Russian ladies are met with everywhere quickly become such large sheets that the now, so scarcely a passing remark on their bridges are hastily removed to prevent manners and looks is needed. They are their being injured or carried away. The often graceful, and sometimes beautiful. freezing process is wonderfully rapid. 10 Certainly thorough cultivation is less gen. one hour a person may make his way in eral than with us. Esprit, though, is not a boat through the floating ice, and in the lacking. The full ample cloak in winter next be able safely to walk over the is universal, making all appear to have stream. It is pack-ice; and when once much the same figures. The fur inside thoroughly fixed, foot.paths and carriage. this is frequently of great value. roads are smoothed on the surface, and On many days the cold is intense; the planted on each side with rows of fir- continuance and severity of it freezes the trees. The sledge.races on the Neva are ground from two and 'one-half to three very exciting. Nor are rich tableaux vi: feet deep every winter, and the ice on the vants around, lacking. The Peterhoff Neva varies from twenty-eight inches to Road, Palace Quay, etc., abound in them. three feet in thickness. One suffers less The bustle of the sledges, bells of the from the cold at 25° Réaumur or more, horses, cries of the drivers, are amusing; when there is no wind, than at 17° with whilst the various costumes, costly furs, wind. And what skies ! – often surpass. and rich colors, contrast with the white, ingly beautiful. Perhaps a mass of dark, crystallized city. Thanks to the energy billowy-looking, indigo clouds have gath. of the English, there is a fine skating. ered portentously in the heavens: one's ground on the Neva, and the spectacle to first impression is that a violent storm is be witnessed there on any fine afternoon approaching. Suddenly they break, the is most animated : ladies and gentlemen of gloomiest disperse, leaving a magnificent all cationalities skating with an ease and spectacle, pile upon pile of purple cloud savoir faire most charming; a band of blending into intense reds, and vivid music contributes to the enjoyment, and golden tints — the different shades so the illuininations which sometimes take clear; whilst, perhaps, in the opposite place in the evening are brilliant in the horizon may be seen delicate, really blue extreme; grand-dukes, nobles of every clouds. In an intense, bright frost and degree and of all nations, ladies in the dry atmosphere the skies are truly pictur.

[ocr errors]

esque, and at such times walking is most certainly, at the time the writer was in exhilarating. But beware of frost-bites: Russia, nothing could exceed the respect, after the aching caused by excessive cold not to say adoration, with which all classes in any part of the body, if numbness sud. of his subjects regarded him; and when denly comes on, there is danger - the better times come, and the fearful spirit spot affected turns white, and friction is which has actuated men to such horrible necessary. A Russian moujik perceiving crimes has passed away, again will all this, will accost you with, “Dear little hearts in gratitude revert to him. He will auntie," or " sister,” “ your face is frozen," occupy a grand page in history, and myr. at the same time offering you a lump of iads yet unborn will bless the name of snow which lends efficacy to the friction. Alexander the emancipator.

Unquestionably St. Petersburg is defi- With the Easter festivities may be said cient in the old associations and Eastern to end the Russian winter. The preparaaspect which lend so great a charm to tions for Easter ceremonies in the Rus. Moscow, and gratify the sentiment of an- sian Greek Church, on Easter-eve, and tiquity; still there is much that is gran-grand doings on the festival itself, have diose and attractive in this capital. The been so often described, as to render it great space and immense buildings excite unnecessary for the writer to enter into ihe stranger's wonder. Then the magnifi. any detail respecting them. They cercent river and massive granite quays, the tainly leave impressions on the mind never golden dome of St. Isaac's Church, the to be obliterated. And with this joyous Winter Palace, fine streets, and splendid festival come new thoughts, new hopes. edifices too numerous for description here! All begin to anticipate the breaking of the Every one has seen engravings of the ice on the Neva; still, when the river with equestrian statue in bronze of Peter 1. its clear current appears, winter is not yet It is an extraordinary monument. The


Soon after comes down the drift huge, rugged rock of granite which forms ice from the Ladoga; and as long as it the pedestal of the statue, it required little oats on the surface, the atmosphere owns short of miraculous ingenuity and labor to no warmth, and no discarding of fur cloaks, move to the spot. The statue itself is a nor other sudden changes of garments, masterpiece.

can with impunity be made. But, these No one visiting the Russian capital Ladoga blocks once out of sight, the temshould omit seeing the Hermitage : under perature rapidly changes. Every blade this unpretending appellation it contains of grass after the snow has disappeared is vast treasures of art and industry. The as yellow as straw, and the country looks picture gallery alone never wearies the as if it could know no renovation. But, lover of art. The Raphael's gallery is patience for a short time! When once said to be of the same dimensions as that the temperature becomes genial, a change of the Vatican. Intermediate are the pil- like magic takes place. The buds of the lars of porphyry and marble. And what birch-trees expand, there is a sudden burst a profusion of vases and tables of lapis- of foliage, and the various tints which lazuli, malachite, of fine mosaics, etc.! gladden the eye, together with the flood of It is an assemblage of beautiful objecis. song of the nightingale, apprise the inhabThe Winter Garden there for the moment itants of these latitudes that the long, quite deludes you into the idea that you monotonous winter has departed, and that have escaped into some delicious southern they can prepare for their migration. All climate ; for in the most severe season sorts of al fresco visions present themthere are the blooming rose and the hya- selves. It is a time of jubilee; and with cinth in company with the ripening peach, delight is greeted the change from luxu. trees and bushes in leaf, verdant lawns rious, but close, shut-up rooms, to the and gravel walks surrounding.

almost universal balcony life. The writer cannot conclude this little

C. R. C. sketch of winter in the Russian metropolis without payiny a tribute to the memory of the late noble-minded emperor, whose sad and most unmerited fate shocked Europe in its length and breadth, and

From The Daily Telegraph. created the deepest feelings of horror and

MIGRATION OF FISH. disgust in all right-minded people. He ONE of the problems of the sea that formed a grand conception when he came has hitherto baffled all attempts at solu. to the throne, with high moral courage tion is the migration of fish. Like the following it out to its completion; and Bedouins that they are, they appear sud


denly and mysteriously out of the desert | voracious species, and pay tremendously depths of the ocean in large companies, heavy tolls as they go. Not a tribe but and as suddenly and mysteriously disap- levies an impost upon them as the wan. pear. They pitch their tents and strike derers pass through the waters, and then, them again wiihout apparently any method constantly migrating, the herring shoals or preliminary arrangement, and come lose probably far more from the hungry and go with the inexplicable capricious. appetites of those they meet than from ness of any other class of gipsies. All the nets of men. Sometimes they have species of fish have this habit, and some been met with in countless numbers, flee. more conspicuously than others. But ing precipitate from fierce attack, stamdone is so multitudinous in its arrival, so peding in a headlong, reckless way, like utterly unreasonable in its departure, as the wretched Tartars escaping to China "the king of the fish,” the herring. Fish. from the Bashkies; at oihers placidly ermen have, of course, many superstitions proceeding on some instinct.guided exoon the subject, but scientific research has dus to new feeding.grounds.

Yet they failed to find any satisfactory explanation are always in motion, thorough vaga. for the whimsical direction taken by these bonds. One part of the sea suits them as fish in their pilgrimages, or for their rapid, well as another, so they never settle anye and apparently causeless, disappearances. where, but rove about in their multitudes Vast shoals will block up a piece of wate along all the coasts of the north At for a few hours or a few days, and then, lantic, and send from time to time smaller with an unanimity which is amazing, when contingents into more southern waters. the number of the finny bost is taken into Self-preservation is, of course, the reason consideration, they turn and are gone. of their restlessness. Were they to con. Let the nets group never so close, there tinue in the same haunts from year to are no gleanings to be got. The vast year their destroyers would always be congregations, millions upon millions, ready waiting for them, and, since the bave all decamped together. Where they food supply is the regulating principle of came from, no one knows; where they go animal economy, the natural history of to, who can tell ? The sea has its soli. the sea would have to be re-written. The tudes, its immeasurably secret places, larger fish would muster regularly at the deep wildernesses of unfathomed water, known rendezvous of the herrings, and and desert shores where inen are never their spawning-grounds would attract an seen, and to these, when the whim takes infinite variety of hungry sea- things. them, or some prodigious instinct prompts Man has already availed himself to the them, the myriads betake themselves. utmost of such partiality, as the shoals One day they are crowding in dense hosts may display, and every corner of the coast, round a certain baok, swarming in a par. every identation upon it, where the herticular spot of water so thickly that nets rings are ever known to come, is carefully shot there sink with their loads, and on occupied with nets. So the herrings very the next there is not one. No whistling wisely change their ground as often and will call them back; for they are gone, as unexpectedly as they can. Other and it may be for a year, or it may be for causes, however, are at work to make this twenty years. Whither do they go? It fish seem more wayward than it really is. is just as well perhaps for the fish that For, though by instinct it is a vagabond, they keep their secret so closely. For a it has such strongly marked preferences fishing-ground where herrings never failed for certain sites that its annual coming is would be worth more than a silver mine, confidently reckoned upon. But the duand prodigious as the massacres already ration of its stay is influenced by many are, the destruction of this invaluable accidental circumstances, of which one of creature would then proceed with in the most curious is certainly this — that finitely greater effect. Not that fishing is if, in the course of the netting, any great ever likely to reduce the numbers of her number of the herrings are killed and rings. Indeed it only seems to encourage sink to the ground, the shoals at once them, for this year has been a splendid desert the place. The noise and great one for the fishermen. So that, up to disturbance of the water during the fish. date at any rate, no mischief has been ing often of course friglitens the herrings done. But there are other enemies be. away; but if it be true, as is stated, ihat sides man, and these, if the herriogs were the presence of dead herrings will not to remain long stationary, would ruinously only scare the shoal from a particular lessen their numbers. As it is the great spot, but keep them away from it for years masses are perpetually pursued by other | afterwards, a very interesting faci bas

« VorigeDoorgaan »