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in full vigor all those prejudices, superstitions, and usages of old Russia, that are handed down as heir-looms from generation to generation, and keep strong hold on all the rustic nobility. No people are more superstitious than the Russians: the sight of two crossed forks, or of a saltcellar upset, will make them turn ale and tremble with terror. There are unucky days on which nothing could induce them to set out on a journey or begin any business. , Monday especially is marked with a red cross in their calendar. and woe to the man who would dare to brave its malign influences. “Among the Russian customs most sedulously preserved is that of mutual salutations after meals. Nothing can be more amusing than to see all the persons round the table bowing right and left with a gravity that proves the importance they attach to a formality so singular in our eyes. The children set the example by respectfully kissing the hands of their parents. In all social meetings, etiquette peremptorily requires that the young ladies, instead of sitting in the drawing-room, shall remain by themselves in an adjoining apartment, and not allow any young man to approach them. If there is dancing, the gravest matron in the company goes and brings them almost by force into the ball-room. Once there, they may indulge their youthsul vivacity without restraint; but on no pretext are they to withdraw from beneath the eyes of their nothers or chaperons. It would be ruinous to a young lady's reputation to be caught in a 1éte-à tête with a young man within two steps of the ball-room. But all this prudery extends no further than outward forms, and it would be a grand mistake to suppose that there is more morality in Russia than elsewhere. Genuine virtue, such as is based on sound principles and an enlightened education, is not very common there. Young girls are jealously guarded, because the !. is in accordance with the general habits and feelings of the country, and little reliance is placed in their own sense of propriety. But once married they acquire the right of conducting themselves as they please, and the husband would find it a hard matter to control their actions. Though divorces are almost impossible to obtain, it does not follow that all wives remain with their husbands; on the contrary, nothing is more common than amicable ar. rangements between married people to wink at each other’s peccadilloes; such conventions excite no scandal, and do not exclude the wife from society One of these divorces I will mention, which is perhaps without a parallel in the annals of the civilized world. “A very pretty and sprightly young Polish lady was married to a man of Great wealth. but much older than herself, and a thorough Muscovite in coarseness of character and habits. Aster, two or three years spent in wrangling and plaguing each other, the illassorted pair resolved to travel, in the hopes

of escaping the intolerable sort of life they led

at home. A residence in Italy, the chosen

land of intrigues and illicit amours, soon set

tled the case. The young wife eloped with

an Italian nobleman, whose passion ere long

grew so intense that nothing would satisfy him. short of a legal sanction of their union. Di

vorces, as every one knows, are easily obtained

in the pope's dominions. Madame de K. had

therefore no difficulty in causing her marriage

to be annulled, especially with the help of her lord and master, who sor the first time since they

had come together, agreed with her, heart and

soul...Every thing was promptly arranged,

and Monsieur carried his complaisance so far as to be present as an official witness at Madame's wedding, doubtless for the purpose of thoroughly making sure of its validity. Three or four children were the fruit of this new union,

but the lady's happiness was of short duration.

Her domestic peace was destroyed by the intrigues of her second husband's family; perhaps, too, the Italian's love had cooled; be this as it may, after some months of miserable

struggles and humiliations, sentence of separation was finally pronounced against her, and she sound herself suddenly without fortune or protector, burdened with a young family, and weighed down with searful anticipations of the

future. Her first step was to leave a country

where such cruel calamities had befallen her,

and to return to Podolia, the land of her birth.

Hitherto her story is like hundreds of others,

and I should not have thought of narrating it

had it ended there; but what almost surpasses

belief, and gives it a stamp of originality alto

gether out of the conmon line, is the conduct

of her first husband when he heard of her re

turn. That brutal, inconstant man, who had

trampled on all social decencies in attending

at the marriage of his wife with another, did

all in his power to induce her to return to his

house. By dint of unwearied efforts and en

treaties he succeeded in overcoming her scru

ples, and bore her home in triumph along with

her children by the Italian, on whom he settled

part of his fortune. From that time forth the

most perfect harmony subsists between the

pair, and seems likely long to continue. I saw

a letter written by the lady two or three

months after her return beneath the conjugal

roof; it breathed the liveliest gratitude and

the sondest affection for him whom she called

her belored husband.”

Apropos to the chapter matrimonial here touched on, we find the following anecdote of General Khersanof, a man of great wealth, and son-in-law of the celebrated Hettman Platof:—

“On entering the first salon we met the general, who immediately presented us to his two wives. But, the reader will say, is bigamy allowed among the Cossacks? Not exactly so ; but if the laws and public opinion are against it, still a man of high station may easily evade both; and General Khersanof has .*.*. for many years in open, avowed big my without finding that his salons are the less frequented on account of such a trifle. In Russia. wealth covers every thing with its glittering veil, and sanctions every kind of eccentricily, however opposed to the usages o the land, provided it redeem them by plenty of balls and entertainments. Public opinion such as exists in France, is here altourether unknown. The majority leave scruples of conscience to timorous souls without even so much as acknowledging their merit. “A man the slave of his word. and a woman of her reputation, could not be understood in a country where caprice reigns as absolute sovereign. A Russian lady, to whom I made some remarks on this subject, answered nairely, that none but low people could be affected by scandal, inasmuch as censure can only proceed from superiors. She was persectly right. for, situ 'ted as the nobility are, who would dare to criticise and condemn their faults 2 In order that public opinion should exist, there must be an independent class, capable of uttering its judgments without fearing the vengeance of those it calls before its bar; there must be a free country in which the acts of every individual may be impartially appreciated; in short, the words justice, honor, honesty. and delicacy of seeling, must have a real meaning, instead of being the sport of an elegant and corrupt caste, that systematically makes a mock of all things not subservient to its caprices and its passions. * + * * “It is said that the two co-wives live on the best possible terms with each other. The general seems quite at his ease with respect to them, and goes from the one to the other with the same marks of attention and affection. His first wife is very old, and might be taken for the mother of the second. We were assured that being greatly distressed at having no children. she had herself advised her husband to make a new choice. The general fixed on a very pretty young peasant working on his own property. In order to diminish the great disparity of rank between them, he married her to one of his officers who, on coming out of church, received orders to depart instantly on a distant mission from which he never returned. Some time afterwards the young woman was installed in the general’s brilliant mansion, and resented to all his acquaintance as Madame hersanos.”

The account Madame Hommaire gives of her visit to a Kalmuck prince and princess will surprise those whose notions of that people are derived from such travellers as Dr. Clarke, by whom they are described as among the most forbidding in aspect and features, and the intost loathsome in habits of the whole human race.

“The little island belonging to Prince Tu

mene stands alone in the middle of the river. *rom a distance it looks like a nest of verdure rosting on the waves, and waiting only a oreath of wind to send it floating down the rapid course of the Volga. But, as you advance, the land unfolds before you, the trees form themselves into groups, and the prince's palace displays a portion of its white faç ide, and the open oralleries of its turrets. Every object assumes a more decided and more picturesque sorm, and stands out in clear relief, from the cupola of the mysterious pagoda which you see towering above the trees to the humble kibitka glittering in the magic tints of sunset. The landscape, as it presented itself successively to our eyes, with the unruffled mirror of the Volga for its framework, wore a calm, but strange and profoundly melancholy character. It was like nothing we had ever seen before ; it was a new world which fancy might people as it pleased ; one of those mysterious isles one dreams of at fifteen after reading the ‘Arabian Nights;’ a thing, in short, such as crosses the traveller's path but once in all his wanderings, and which we enjoyed with all the zest of unexpected pleasure.”

After describing her courteous reception, and the slight shock of disappointment she experienced at finding so much that reminded her of Europe in the habitation of a real Kalmuck prince, she continues:—

“After the first civilities were over, I was conducted to a very handsome chamber, with windows opening on a large verandah. I sound in it a toilette apparatus in silver, very elegant furniture, and many objects both rare and precious. My surprise augmented continually as I beheld this aristocratic sumptuousness. In vain I looked for any thing that could remind me of the Kalmucks; nothin around me had a tinge of couleur locale; a seemed rather to bespeak the abode of a rich Asiatic nawab ; and with a little effort of imagination, I might easily have fancied myself transported into the marvellous world of the fairies, as I beheld that magnificent palace encircled with water, its exterior fretted all over with balconies and fantastic ornaments, and its interior all filled with velvets, tapestries, and crystals, as though the touch of a wand had made all these wonders start from the hoso of the Volga! And what completed he illusion was the thought that the author of these prodigies was a Kalmuck prince, a chief of those half savage tribes that wander over the sandy plains of the Caspian Sea, a worshipper of the grand Lama, a believer in the metempsychosis; in short, one of those beings whose existence seems to us almost sabulous, such a host of mysterious legends do their names awaken in the mind. * * *

“Prince Tumene is the wealthiest and most influential of all the Kalmuck chiefs. In 1815 he raised a regiment at his own expense, and led it to Paris, for which meritorious service

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which he derives a considerable revenue. His race, which belongs to the tribe of the Koshots, is one of the most ancient and respected among the Kalmucks. Repeatedly tried by severe afflictions, his mind has taken an exclusively religious bent, and the superstitious practices to which he devotes himself give him a great reputation for sanctity among his countrymen. An isolated pavilion placed at

Nothing could be more agreeable to us than this proposal. At last I was about to see Kalmuck manners and customs without any foreign admixture. On the way I learned that the princess was renowned among her people for exextreme beauty and accomplishments besides many other details which contributed further to augment my curiosity. We formed a tolerably large party when we reached her tent, ani is she hod been informed of our intended visit. we o on entering, a spectacle that sar surpassed our anticipations. When the curtain at the doorway of the kibitka was raised, we found ourselves in a rather spacious room, lighted from above, and hung with red damask, the reflection from which shed a glowing tint on every object; the floor was covered with a rich Turkey carpet, and the air was loaded with persumes. In this balmy

some distance from the palace is his habitual atmosphere and crimson light we perceived the abode, where he passes his life in prayers and princess seated on a low platform at the furreligious conference with the most celebrated ther end of the tent, dressed in glistening

priests of the country. No one but these lat- robes, and as motionless as an idol. Some

ter is allowed admission into his mysterious twenty women in sull dress, sitting on their

sanctuary; even his brothers have never en- heels, formed a strange and particolored tered it. This is assuredly a singular mode of circle round her. It was like nothing I could

existence, especially if we compare it with that which he might lead amidst the splendor and conveniences with which he has embel

compare it to but an opera scene suddenly got up on the banks of the Volga. When the princess had allowed us time enough to ad

lished his palace, and which betoken a cast of mire her, she slowly descended the steps of

thought far superior to what we should expect to find in a Kalmuck. This voluntary sacri. fice of earthly delights, this ascetism caused § moral sufferings, strikingly reminds us of hristianity and the origin of our religious orders. Like the most servent Catholics, this votary of Lama seeks in solitude, prayer, austerity, and the hope of another life, consolations which all his fortune is powerless to asford him Is not this the history of many a Trappist or Carthusian 2 “The position of the palace is exquisitely chosen, and shows a sense of the heautiful as developed as that of the most civilized nations. It is built in the Chinese style. and is prettily seated on the gentle slope of a hill about a hundred feet from the Volga. Its numerous galleries afford views over every part of the isle, and the imposing surface of the river. From one of the angles the eye looks down on a mass of foliage, through which glitter the cupola and golden ball of the pagoda. Beautiful meadows, dotted over with clumps of trees, and fields in high cultivation.

the platform, approached us with dignity, took

me by the hand, embraced me affectionately, and led me to the place she had just left. She | did the same by Madame Zakarevitch and her daughter, and then graciously saluting the persons who accompanied us, she motioned them to be seated on a large divan opposite the platform. No mistress of a house in Paris could have done better. When every one had found a place, she sat down beside me, and through the medium of an Armenian, who spoke Russian and Kalmuck extremely well, she made me a thousand compliments, that gave me a very high opinion of her §§ With the Armenian's assistance we were able to put many questions to each other, and notwithstanding the awkwardness of being obliged to have recourse to an interpreter, the conversation was far from growing languid, so eager was the princess for information of every kind. The Armenian, who was a merry soul, constituted himself, of his own authority, grand master of the ceremonies, and commenced his functions by advising the princess to give or

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unfold their carpets of verdure on the left of ders for the opening of the ball. Immediately

the palace, and form different landscapes
which the eye can take in at once. The whole
is enlivened by the presence of Kalmuck
horsemen, camels wandering here and there
through the rich pastures, and officers convey-
ing the chief's orders from tent to tent. It is a
beautiful spectacle, various in its details, and
no less harmonious in its assemblage. * *
“At an early hour next day. Madame Za-
karevitch came to accompany us to the prince's
sister-in-law, who, during the fine season, re-
sides in her kibitka in preference to the palace.

unon a sign from the latter, one of the ladies of honour rose and performed a few steps, turning slowly upon hersels; whilst another, who ... .", drew forth from a balalaika (an Oriental guitar) some melancholy sounds by no means appropriate to the occasion. Nor were the attitudes and movements of her companions more accordant with our notions of dancing. They formed a pantomime, the meaning of which I could not ascertain, but which, by its languishing nonotony, expressed any thing but pleasure or

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gaiety. The young figurante frequently stretched out her arms and knelt down as if to invoke some invisible being. The performance lasted a considerable time, during which I had full opportunity to scrutinize the princess, and saw good reason to justify the high renown in

which her beauty was held among her own

people. Her figure is imposing and extremely well-proportioned, as far as her numerous garments allowed me to judge. Her mouth, finely arched and adorned with beautiful teeth, her countenance, expressive of great sweetness, her skin, somewhat brown but remarkably del: icate, would entitle her to be thought a very handsome woman, even in France, if the outline of her face and the arrangement of her features were only a trifle less Kalmuck. Nevertheless, in spite of the obliquity of her eyes and the prominence of her cheek bones, she would still find many an admirer, not in Kalmuckia alone, but all the world over. Her looks convey an expression of the utmost gen

tleness and good-nature, and like all the women

of her race, she has an air of caressing hu-
mility, which makes her appearance still more
winning.
“Now for her costume. Over a very rich
robe of Persian stuff, laced all over with sil-
ver, she wore a light silk tunic, reaching only
to the knee and open in front. The high cor-
sage was quite flat, and glittered with silver
embroidery and fine pearls that covered all
the seams. Round her neck she had a white
cambric habit shirt, the shape of which seemed
to me like that of a man's shirt collar. It was
fastened in front by a diamond button. Her
very thick, deep black hair fell over her bosom
in two magnificent tresses of remarkable
length. A yellow cap, edged with rich sur,
and resembling in shape the square cap of a
French judge, was set jauntily on the crown
of her head. But what surprised me most in
her costume was an embroidered cambric
handkerchief and a pair of black mittens.
Thus, it appears, the productions of our work-
shops find their way even to the toilette of a
great Kalmuck lady. Among the princess's
ornaments I must not forget to enumerate a
large gold chain, which, after being wound
round her beautiful tresses, fell over her bosom,
o on its way through her gold earrings.
er whole attire, such as I have described it,
looked much less barbarous than I had ex-
pected. The ladies of honor, though less
richly clad, wore robes and caps of the same
form; only they had not advanced so far as to
Wear mittens.
“The dancing lady, after figuring for half
an hour, went and touched the shoulder of one
of her companions, who took her place, and be-
gan the same figures over again. When she
had done, the Armenian urged the princess
that her daughter, who until then had kept
herself concealed behind a curtain, should also
give a specimen of her skill; but there was a
difficulty in the case. No lady of honor had a
right to touch her, and this formality was in-

dispensable according to established usage. Not to be baffled by this obstacle, the Armenian sprang gaily into the middle of the circle, and began to dance in so original a manner, that every one enthusiastically applauded. | Having thus satisfied the exigency of Kalmuck etiquette, he stepped up to the curtain and laid his finger lightly on the shoulder of the young lady, who could not refuse an invitation thus made in all due form. Her dancing appeared to us less wearisome than that of the ladies of honor, thanks to her pretty face and her timid and languishing attitudes. She in her turn touched her brother, a handsome lad of fifteen, dressed in the Cossack costume, who appeared exceedingly mortified at being obliged to put a Kalmuck cap on his head in order to exhibit the dance in all its nationality. Twice he dashed his cap on the ground with a most comical air of vexation; but his mother rigidly insisted on his putting it on again. “The dancing of the men is as imperious and animated as that of the women is tame and monotonous; the spirit of domination dis| plays itself in all their gestures, in the bold expression of their looks and their noble bearing. It would be impossible for me to describe all the evolutions the young prince went through with equal grace and rapidity. The elasticity of his limbs was as remarkable as the persect measure observed in his most complicated steps. “After the ball came the concert. The women played one after the other on the balalaika, and then sang in chorus. But there is as little variety in their music as in their dancing. At last we were presented with different kinds of koumis and sweetmeats on large silver trays. “When we came out from the kibitka the princess's brother-in-law took us to a herd of wild horses, where one of the most extraordinary scenes awaited us. The moment we were perceived, five or six mounted men, armed with long lassoes, rushed into the middle of the taboun (herd of horses), keeping their eyes constantly fixed on the young prince, who was to point out the animal they should seize. The signal being given, they instantly galloped forward and noosed a young horse with a long dishevelled mane, whose dilated eyes and smoking nostrils betokened inexpressible terror. A lightly-clad Kalmuck, who followed them on foot, immediately sprang upon the stallion, cut the thongs that were throttling him, and engaged with him in an incredible coutest of daring and agility. It would be impossible, I think, for any spectacle more vividly to affect the mind than that which now met our eyes. Sometimes the rider and his horse rolled together on the grass; sometimes they shot through the air with the speed of an arrow, and then stopped abruptly, as if a wall had all at once risen up before them. On a sudden the furious animal would crawl on its belly, or rear in a manner that made us shriek with terror, then plunging forward piercing, discordant, and savage, that we were again in his mad gallop he would dash through completely stupefied, and there was no possithe taboun, and endeavor in every possible bility of exchanging a word. way to shake off his novel burden. . “The perpetrators of this terrible uproar, in “But this exercise, violent and dangerous other words the musicians, were arranged in as it appeared to us, seemed but sport to the two parallel lines facing each other; at their Kalmuck, whose body followed all the move- head, in the direction of the altar, the highments of the animal with so much suppleness priest knelt quite motionless on a rich Persian that one would have sancied that the same carpet, and belind them towards the entrance thought possessed both bodies. The sweat, stood the ghepki, or master of the ceremonies. poured in foaming streams from the stallion's dressed in a scarlet robe and a deep-yellow flanks, and he trembled in every limb. As sor hood, and having in his hand a long staff, the the rider, his coolness would have put to shame emblem, no doubt, of his dignity. The other the most accomplished horsemen in Europe. priests, all kneeling as well as the musicians, In the most critical moments he still sound and looking like grotesque Chinese in their himself at liberty to wave his arms in token features and attitudes, wore dresses of glaring of triumph, and in spite of the indomitable hu- colors, loaded with gold and silver brocade, mor of his steed, he had sufficient command consisting of wide tunics, with open sleeves,

over it to keep it almost always within the
circle of our vision. At a signal from the
prince, two horsemen, who had kept as close
as possible to the daring centaur, seized him
with amazing quickness and galloped away
with him before we had time to comprehend
this new manoeuvre. The horse, for a moment
stupified, soon made off at full speed, and was
lost in the midst of the herd. These perform-
ances were repeated several times without a
single rider suffering himself to be thrown.
“But what was our amazement when we
saw a boy of ten years come forward to under-
take the same exploit! They selected for him
a young white stallion of great size, whose
fiery bounds and desperate efforts to break his
bonds, indicated a most violent temper.
“I will not attempt to depict our intense
emotions during this new conflict. This child,
who like the other riders, had only the horse's
mane to cling to, afforded an example of the
ower of reasoning over instinct and brute
orce. For some minutes he maintained his
difficult position with heroic intrepidity. At
last, to our great relief, a horseman rode up
to him, caught him up in his outstretched arm,
and threw him on the croup behind him.”
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and a sort of mitre with several broad points.
Their head-dress somewhat resembled that of
the ancient Peruvians, except that instead of
feathers they had plates covered with religious
paintings, besides which there rose from the
centre a long straight tust of black silk, tied up
so as to form a series of little balls, diminish-
ing from the base to the summit. Below, this
tus spread out into several tresses which sell
down on the shoulders. But what surprised
us most of all was the musical instruments.
Besides enormous timbrels and the Chinese
tamtam, there were large sea-shells used as
horns, and two huge tubes, three or four yards
long, and each supported on two props. My
husband ineffectually of to sound
these trumpets; none but the stentorian lungs
of the vigorous Mandschis could give them
breath. . If there is neither tune. nor harmony,
nor method in the religious music of the Kal-
mucks, by way of amends for this every one
makes as much noise as he can in his own
way and according to the strength of his lungs.
The concert began by a jingling of little bells
then the timbrels and tantams struck up, an
lastly, after the shrill squeakings of the shells,
the two great trumpets began to bellow, and
made all the windows of the temple shake. It
would be impossible for me to depict all the
oddity of this ceremony. Now indeed we felt
that we were thousands of leagues away from
Europe, in the heart of Asia, in a pagoda of
the Grand Dalai Lama, os Thibit.
“The temple, lighted by a row of large win-
dows, is adorned with slender columns of stuc-
coed brickwork, the lightness of which reminds
one of the graceful Moorish architecture. A
gallery runs all round the dome, which is also
remarkable for the extreme delicacy of its
workmanship. Tapestries, representing a mul-
titude of good and evil genii, monstrous idols
and fabulous animals, cover all parts of the
pagoda, and give it an aspect much more gro-
esque than religious. The veneration of the
worshippers of Lama for their images is so
freat, that we could not approach these mis-
hapen gods without covering our mouths with
a andkerchief, lest we should profane them
w.th an unhallowed breath.

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