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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 harness which, after having been embalmed, was (for as yet snow roads have not made transported by the abbé Mignot, his 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 inscription, “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. Geneviève in Paris, then nation. denominated the Panthéon.
Then the picturesque groups in the streets; the variety of the costumes of the peasants particularly catching the eye; the strangeness of the language, accompanied by expressive and animated gestures; the low bows a dvornik (house porter) will make a salaam to a maidservant which would do credit to an Eastern courtier. Add to all this, the colored buildings, marble palaces; demonstration of religious feeling on the part of the people on passing 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.
People here all arm themselves for the winter. There can be no question as to its severity; indeed one would be inclined to imagine it were almost welcomed as a friend, for keen disappointment is expressed when the snow is tardy in falling. After the heavy rains which fall in the late autumn, snow roads are almost a necessity of existence; if frost suddenly sets in before they are made, it is under great difficulties that the country people bring supplies to the metropolis; the price of provisions rises in proportion; and distress ensues. Double windows are universal; they are an absolute necessity. For the admission of fresh air, one pane in each window is left so that it may be opened at pleasure. The rest of the window is so thoroughly secured that not a breath of the keen air can enter; this process accomplished, the difference of the temperature within doors is sensibly perceptible, and heating by means of stoves may then be delayed for some time.
The interior of a Russian house is not familiar to all, so, under favor of the Lares and Penates, we will enter the sacred domicile, first premising that a well-kept house in St. Petersburg or Moscow is exceedingly comfortable. A tall, portly suisse (house-porter) admits you, when a footman ushers you up a mostly spacious, handsome staircase, often of marble; and
after passing through the usual double doors, you are introduced into an anteroom, where you leave your inevitable garment your fur cloak. The reception-rooms are then entered, and these often seem interminable; eight or nine in number in the houses on the Palace or English Quays are not uncommon, generally opening into one another. The inlaid parquets of the rooms are often very beautiful- the floor-polisher is an important institution in Russia; of course some rooms are richly carpeted, and do justice to the looms of Turkey and Persia.
The silk or damask curtains, wall hang- | ings, and coverings for the ottomans, are superb. All is luxurious: vases of lapislazuli, porphyry and malachite, pictures, and objects of art in general are in profusion.
seldom visible before one o'clock in the day — early rising is not one of their cus toms. The ordinary nine o'clock breakfast, where there is a family, is guiltless of ceremony. The national samovar stands on the table; to the uninitiated we may explain that this is a kind of urn, but possessing the advantage over our urn, since water may, for hours, be kept hot in it, owing to burning charcoal being kept in a tube in the middle of the urn. By this a superior manservant is stationed, who offers each one as he appears, a cup of tea; a roll, or what not, completes the meal. You sit, or stand, linger or hasten away, at pleasure; nothing could be less formal. The regular breakfast answers very much to our luncheon. The Russians do not adopt very late hours for dining. Every one is now familiar with The Russians are very fond of prome- dinner à la russe, and surely those are in nading through their suites of apartments, 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 climates: 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. The Continental fashion of living in flats much prevails here. Sleeping-rooms are not invariably numerous in proportion to the reception-rooms; but this state of things naturally improves with the increase of civilization. Sometimes, now, a servant brings with him into a house bed and baggage, and settles down in a corner of some unfrequented corridor, other provision for himself and his effects being nil.
The picture of his saint has its place assigned on the wall above, a curtain is arranged in front of his improvised lodgment, and there he is comfortably established, or, at any rate, contentedly established. The uneducated Russians carry to a great extent their fanaticism for the pictures of saints, calling them bongs (gods). These are painted in bright colors on pieces of board, and ornamented with silver or gold. When a Russian enters a room or shop, let his business be of the last importance, his first act is to salute the saint by bowing, or crossing himself.
What with sledging the ice-hills, and skating on the Neva, outdoor amusements are not lacking; though many are the days on which even the hardy must be content to remain within. Ladies of fashion are
or porcelain dishes, is arranged a variety of condiments, such as pickles, dried fish, and of course, the never-failing caviare, for this purpose. The dinner-table is tastefully adorned with fruit and flowers. The plate is superb, and the decanters and goblets are often of lovely tinted topaz. Formality in entering the dining-room is banished - all walk in sans cérémonie – indeed the Russians are inclined to think there is just a shade of vulgarity in indicating on this occasion the locus standi of one's friends. English Petersburghers make a compromise. The hostess takes the arm of a gentleman, selecting perhaps the greatest stranger, and precedes her guests, who follow in pairs. There is often a very Babel of tongues during dinner; and although French is generally the language of society, Russians dining en famille converse in their own. The late lamented emperor encouraged this cus tom, which had fallen into desuetude. He feared, owing to the increasing tendency to the use of French, German, and English, that his subjects were in danger of forgetting their own tongue.
Ladies and gentlemen always leave the table together, and as the hostess rises a curious little ceremony takes place, the guests making some slight acknowledg
ent to her for the entertainment. Some kiss her hand, others shake hands, and many simply bow. A chance caller at dinner is hailed with absolute cordiality.
Much has been said about Russian society being difficult of access. It is true that the traveller who visits St. Petersburg without a good introduction, may find himself in a desert; yet an introduction to one family of respectability is sufficient. It follows that the houses of all who move in their circle are open to you. When general invitations are given, they are really expected to be acted upon. The stoves, by means of which the houses are heated, are very ingeniously constructed. One stove will heat several rooms. It is filled with wood, which is burned until calcined; it is then well stirred; the door of the stove is tightly shut, and it does not require to be replen. ished for several days. The injurious effects of the hot air are obviated by large jars of cold water being kept in the rooms. It is certainly delightful to feel pretty much the same temperature throughout the house.
The freezing of the Neva generally takes place in November. It is a curious phenomenon: at first small flakes of ice are observed on the surface; these quickly become such large sheets that the bridges are hastily removed to prevent their being injured or carried away. The freezing process is wonderfully rapid. In one hour a person may make his way in a boat through the floating ice, and in the next be able safely to walk over the stream. It is pack-ice; and when once thoroughly fixed, foot-paths and carriageroads are smoothed on the surface, and planted on each side with rows of firtrees. The sledge-races on the Neva are very exciting. Nor are rich tableaux vivants around, lacking. The Peterhoff Road, Palace Quay, etc., abound in them. The bustle of the sledges, bells of the horses, cries of the drivers, are amusing; whilst the various costumes, costly furs, and rich colors, contrast with the white, crystallized city. Thanks to the energy of the English, there is a fine skatingground on the Neva, and the spectacle to be witnessed there on any fine afternoon is most animated: ladies and gentlemen of all nationalities skating with an ease and savoir faire most charming; a band of music contributes to the enjoyment, and the illuminations which sometimes take place in the evening are brilliant in the extreme; grand-dukes, nobles of every degree and of all nations, ladies in the
most picturesque attire, join in the exercise. The fun may be imagined. Little wooden huts are erected on the ice, and are kept well heated for the accommodation of spectators. Skating, then, may well be conceived to have its charms; but the chief national diversion is afforded by the ice-hills erected on the islands in the Neva; these are consequently well worth a description. They are made of timber raised to a height of some forty feet, having steps on one side to ascend, and on the other a steep descent covered with ice. Water is repeatedly poured on this, and the surface is kept as smooth as glass. Down this ladies and gentlemen-seated on small, low sledges - descend with tremendous velocity, and carried along to the foot of another ice-hill, the steps are climbed, and the experiment repeated; and so on.
Many are the sights to be witnessed on the Neva. Not the least curious are the reindeer with their owners, the Samoïdes. They generally come down from the far north in the winter; and the funny, dimin utive figures of these people, who, clad in skins, drive standing, pole in hand, are very remarkable. They considerably increase the picturesque aspect of the scene.
Russian ladies are met with everywhere now, so scarcely a passing remark on their manners and looks is needed. They are often graceful, and sometimes beautiful. Certainly thorough cultivation is less gen. eral than with us. Esprit, though, is not lacking. The full ample cloak in winter is universal, making all appear to have much the same figures. The fur inside this is frequently of great value.
On many days the cold is intense; the continuance and severity of it freezes the ground from two and one-half to three feet deep every winter, and the ice on the Neva varies from twenty-eight inches to three feet in thickness. One suffers less from the cold at 25° Réaumur or more, when there is no wind, than at 17° with wind. And what skies! - often surpass ingly beautiful. Perhaps a mass of dark, billowy-looking, indigo clouds have gath ered portentously in the heavens: one's first impression is that a violent storm is approaching. Suddenly they break, the gloomiest disperse, leaving a magnificent spectacle, pile upon pile of purple cloud blending into intense reds, and vivid golden tints the different shades so clear; whilst, perhaps, in the opposite horizon may be seen delicate, really blue clouds. In an intense, bright frost and dry atmosphere the skies are truly pictur
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 myrat 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 deficient in the old associations and Eastern aspect which lend so great a charm to Moscow, and gratify the sentiment of antiquity; still there is much that is grandiose and attractive in this capital. The great space and immense buildings excite the stranger's wonder. Then the magnificent river and massive granite quays, the golden dome of St. Isaac's Church, the Winter Palace, fine streets, and splendid edifices too numerous for description here! Every one has seen engravings of the equestrian statue in bronze of Peter 1. It is an extraordinary monument. The huge, rugged rock of granite which forms the pedestal of the statue, it required little short of miraculous ingenuity and labor to move to the spot. The statue itself is a masterpiece.
With the Easter festivities may be said to end the Russian winter. The preparations for Easter ceremonies in the Russian Greek Church, on Easter-eve, and grand doings on the festival itself, have been so often described, as to render it unnecessary for the writer to enter into any detail respecting them. They certainly leave impressions on the mind never to be obliterated. And with this joyous festival come new thoughts, new hopes. All begin to anticipate the breaking of the ice on the Neva; still, when the river with its clear current appears, winter is not yet gone. Soon after comes down the drift ice from the Ladoga; and as long as it floats on the surface, the atmosphere owns no warmth, and no discarding of fur cloaks, nor other sudden changes of garments, 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 objects. 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, trees and bushes in leaf, verdant lawns and gravel walks surrounding.
The writer cannot conclude this little sketch of winter in the Russian metropolis without paying 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 created the deepest feelings of horror and disgust in all right-minded people. He formed a grand conception when he came to the throne, with high moral courage following it out to its completion; and
delight is greeted the change from luxu rious, but close, shut-up rooms, to the almost universal balcony life.
C. R. C.
From The Daily Telegraph. MIGRATION OF FISH.
ONE of the problems of the sea that has hitherto baffled all attempts at solution is the migration of fish. Like the 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 without 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 more conspicuously than others. But none is so multitudinous in its arrival, so utterly unreasonable in its departure, as "the king of the fish," the herring. Fishermen have, of course, many superstitions on the subject, but scientific research has failed to find any satisfactory explanation for the whimsical direction taken by these fish in their pilgrimages, or for their rapid, and apparently causeless, disappearances. Vast shoals will block up a piece of water for a few hours or a few days, and then, with an unanimity which is amazing, when the number of the finny host is taken into consideration, they turn and are gone. Let the nets group never so close, there are no gleanings to be got. The vast congregations, millions upon millions, have all decamped together. Where they came from, no one knows; where they go to, who can tell? The sea has its solitudes, its immeasurably secret places, deep wildernesses of unfathomed water, and desert shores where men are never seen, and to these, when the whim takes them, or some prodigious instinct prompts them, the myriads betake themselves. One day they are crowding in dense hosts round a certain bank, swarming in a particular spot of water so thickly that nets shot there sink with their loads, and on the next there is not one. No whistling will call them back; for they are gone, and it may be for a year, or it may be for twenty years. Whither do they go? It is just as well perhaps for the fish that they keep their secret so closely. For a fishing-ground where herrings never failed would be worth more than a silver mine, and prodigious as the massacres already are, the destruction of this invaluable creature would then proceed with in finitely greater effect. Not that fishing is ever likely to reduce the numbers of her rings. Indeed it only seems to encourage them, for this year has been a splendid one for the fishermen. So that, up to date at any rate, no mischief has been done. But there are other enemies besides man, and these, if the herrings were to remain long stationary, would ruinously lessen their numbers. As it is the great masses are perpetually pursued by other
been met with in countless numbers, flee-