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CHAP.
III.

were gone to church. It consisted only of a mess of pottage. Presently her husband, a boor, came in, attended by his daughters, with some small loaves of white bread not larger than a pigeon's egg: these the priest had consecrated, and they placed them with great care before the bogh'. Then the bowing and crossing commenced; and they began their dinner, all eating out of the same bowl. Dinner ended, they went regularly to bed, as if to pass the night there, crossing and bowing as before. Having slept about an hour, one of the young women, according to a custom constantly observed, called her father, and presented him with a pot of vinegar, or Quass, the Russian beverage. The man then rose; and a complete fit of crossing and bowing seemed to seize him, with interludes so inexpressibly characteristic and ludicrous, that it was very difficult to preserve gravity. The pauses of scratching and grunting—the apostrophes to his wife, to him

(1) This practice of placing an offering of bread from the Temple before the Household God, was an antient Heathen custom.

(2) It is made by mixing flour and water together, and leaving it till the acetous fermentation has taken place. The flavour is like that of vinegar and water. It looks turbid, and is very unpleasant to strangers ; but, by use, we became food of it; and in the houses of Nobles, where attention is paid to its brewing, this acidulous beverage is esteemed a delicacy, especially during summer.

III.

CHAP. self, and to his God—were such as drunken

Barnaby might have expressed in Latin, but
cannot be told in English.

Servile
State of the
Empire.

The picture of Russian manners varies little with reference to the Prince or the peasant. The first nobleman in the empire, when dismissed by his Sovereign from attendance upon his person, or withdrawing to his estate in consequence of dissipation and debt, betakes himself to a mode of life little superior to that of brutes. You will then find him, throughout the day, with his neck bare, his beard lengthened, his body wrapped in a sheep's skin, eating raw turnips, and drinking quass; sleeping one half of the day, and growling at his wife and family the other. The same feelings, the same wants, wishes, and gratifications, then characterize the nobleman and the peasant; and the same system of tyranny, extending from the throne downwards, through all the bearings and ramifications of society, even to the cottage of the lowest boor, has entirely extinguished every spark of liberality in the breasts of a people composed entirely of slaves. They are all, high and low, rich and poor, alike servile to superiors; haughty and cruel to their dependants; ignorant, superstitious, cunning, brutal, barbarous, dirty, mean. The Emperor canes

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III.

the first of his grandees '; princes and nobles CHAP. cane their slaves; and the slaves, their wives and daughters. Ere the sun dawns in Russia, flagellation begins; and throughout its vast empire, cudgels are going, in every department of its population, from morning until night.

Vyshney Voloshok is a place of considerable Vyshney

Voloshok. importance, remarkable for the extensive canals on which the great inland navigation of Russia is carried on. A junction has been formed between the Tvertza and the Msta, uniting, by a navigable channel of at least five thousand versts, the Caspian with the Baltic Sea. Perbaps there is not in the world an example of inland navigation so extensive, obtained by artificial means, and with so little labour; for the Volga is navigable almost to its source; and three versts, at the utmost, is all the distance

(1) An officer chastised by the Emperor Paul, upon the Parade at Petersburg, retired to his apartment and shot himself. By this it shuuld appear, that such ignominy from the hand of an Emperor is not common. PETER THE GREAT, however, used to take his Boyars by the beard : and all Petersburg knows that Potemkin boxed the ears of a Prince who presumed to applaud one of his jokes by clapping the hands : What," said he, “ miscreant ! do you take me for a stageplayer !

(2) See the Appendir, for a full account of all the Internal Navigation of Russia. This valuable document was communicated to the author, since the publication of the First Edition, by Robert Corner, Esq. a British Officer at Malta.

III.

CHAP. that has been cut through, in forming the

canal. The merchandize of Astracan, and of
other parts of the South of Russia, is brought to
this place. Above four thousand vessels pass
the canal annually. The town, or village, as it
is called, is full of buildings and shops. It is
spacious, and wears a stately thriving appear-
ance; forming a striking contrast with the
miserable villages along this road.

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At the different stations which occur in the route from Petersburg to Moscow, are buildings appropriated to the Emperor's use, when he passes. This rarely happens above once in a reign. As there is hardly any place of accommodation for travellers, no harm would happen to the buildings if they were used for this purpose; neither would the national character suffer by such hospitality. Of course we allude to changes that may take place in better times; for when we traversed the country, kindness to a stranger, and especially to an Englishman, was a crime of the first magnitude, and might prove the cause of a journey to Siberia. It is but justice to make this apology for the conduct of those under the immediate eye of Government.

Torshok.

From Vyshney Voloshok we come to Torshok, seventy-one versts distant, remarkable for a

III.

spring, superstitiously venerated, and attracting CHAP. pilgrims from all parts. This town has no less than twenty churches: some of which are built of stone. It is in a thriving condition.

At Tver, sixty-three versts farther, there is a Tver. decent inn. A shop is also annexed to it, as it sometimes happens in more northern parts of Europe. This shop is kept by Italians, natives of the Milanese territory, a vagrant tribe, whose Milanese

Vagrants. industry and enterprise carry them from the Lake of Como to the remotest regions of the earth. They are seen in all countries; even in Lapland. They generally carry a large basket, covered with an oil-skin, containing cheap coloured prints, mirrors, thermometers, and barometers; being, for the most part, men of ingenuity, of uncommon perseverance, industry, and honesty. Living with the most scrupulous economy, they collect, after many years of wandering, their hard earnings, and with these they return to settle in the land of their fathers, sending out an offspring as vagrant as themselves.

Volga.

At Tver we beheld the Volga, and not without considerable interest; for though bound in “ thick-ribbed ice," and covered with snow, the consciousness of its mighty waters, navigable almost to their source, rolling through a course

VOL. I.

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