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When stung by these insects, they observe great CHAP.
. caution in not scratching the wound; but are careful to bathe it, as soon as possible, with alcohol. We found Goulard's lotion to be the best remedy; and, wanting that, salt mixed with an equal portion of vinegar. There is not a single spot in the whole town free from the annual inundation. We found one dry place, near the principal church; but this was traversed by wooden causeways, proving that the usual precaution had been also there required, although the spot were not actually then covered by water. The street where most of the shops are situate is floored with planks; and must necessarily be very unwholesome, as all the dirt, falling through, remains when the waters retire. They are often troubled with fevers; Diseases of
the People. although, when we inquired for a list of their diseases, they said they seldom had any. The greatest ravage is made by the small-pox. Inoculation for that disorder had not yet been introduced. The complaint they seem to dread more than
other is called THE DISORDER OF
Gmelin mentions this malady. Hair is said to be generated in wounds of the bodies of those whom it afflicts. We expressed our
(2) This is not the Plica Polonica, or Goschest, mentioned by Brown (p. 24. Lond. 1672). Gmelin says it is known in Russia and the Ukraine, under the name Volosez; and he attended a case of abscess in Paulovsk which afforded him proof of the existence of such a disorder. See Journal des Savans Voyageurs, p. 146.
CHAP. incredulity to the wife of Lieutenant-colonel
Papof; but she persisted in asserting that she had taken them from her own finger, in the presence of many witnesses. To cure this malady, they apply the leaves of a plant somewhat like plantain: this they say extracts the hairs. We saw those leaves dried, and suspended, as a remedy for this complaint; but, in their desiccated state, we could not exactly determine what they were. Biliary obstruction is a common disorder among the Cossacks. As a cure for the jaundice, they drink an infusion of the yellow flowers of a Gnaphalium, found in all the steppes. Situate as they are, either in mud yielding unwholesome exhalation, or in water full of frogs, filth, and substances putrefying as the flood retires, nothing could preserve them from pestilence, were it not for their great attention to cleanliness. The water of the Don is unwholesome, and it particularly disagrees with strangers; causing flatulency, with violent pain of the bowels, and dysentery. Many of the Russian rivers have the same quality; especially the Neva at Petersburg.
A Greek brought to us some coins of the Emperor Constantine, procured in Turkey. He kept them, he said, for the cure of diseases of all kinds; and, in proof of their miraculous power, swore, by all his Saints, that if any one
of them were placed in a sieve, not a drop of Cuar: water would pass through it. As we laughed at his folly, he was very desirous to make the experiment; but we thought it too ridiculous to merit so much attention. He seemed to be the very Prince of impostors, and probably sold his trash at high prices. He shewed to us a piece of the true Cross: this he said he had brought from Jerusalem ; and, having worn it upon his breast, had thereby saved his life in battle, as a bullet striking the pretended reliç had fallen harmless to the ground,
Having now satisfied our curiosity in the Departure survey of this extraordinary place, we took Tcherleave of its inhabitants, and again embarked, accompanied by the officer who had so politely attended us, and whose hospitality we had often experienced, during the visit we had paid to the Cossack capital. We left Tcherkask on Monday the twenty-third of June, in the afternoon, and sailed down the Don, to Åxay. About four miles' from Tcherkask is an island called Nunnery Isle, or The Island of the Convent, whence, as they relate, the Turks, in former times, derived women for the seraglio of the Grand Signior.
(1) Seven versts.
VOYAGE DOWN THE DON, TO AZOF AND
Embarkation for the Sea of Azof-General View of
Taganrog. chap. The morning after our return to åxay, we
received a message from General Vassily Petrovich Orlof, Commander-in-chief of the Cossack
Visit to the
army, stating, that he expected us to dine with CHAP. him at his country-seat upon the Don. We set out, accompanied by our friend Colonel Papof, Generaland by a Greek officer in the Cossack service, the Cossack
in-chief of whose name was Mamonof. The General had army. sent his carriage, with six fine Cossack horses, and several Cossacks, mounted, with lances, 'to escort us. We passed along the steppes; and occasionally through vineyards, planted with cucumbers, cabbages, Indian wheat, apple, pear, peach, plum trees, and melons, for about ten miles, till we arrived at his house, standing upon the European side of the river, opposite to the town of Tcherkask, and distant from it about five miles. Here we found some elegant and accomplished women amusing themselves with a piano-forte; and afterwards we all sat down to as magnificent a dinner as any English gentleman could have afforded; the whole being served upon plate. The company consisted of about twenty persons. The General presented 'us with mead thirty years old, tasting like Madeira wine. He wished very much for English beer, having often drunk it in Poland. A number of very expensive wines were brought round, many of them foreign; but the best wine of the Don seemed superior to any other. sat banquetting in this sumptuous manner, we called to mind the erroneous notions we had once