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of them with a barouche. Nothing could be CHAP. more ludicrous than was their appearance. Out of respect to the sovereign, they had maintained a painful struggle to preserve a sitting posture in the carriage, but cross-legged, like Turks. The snow having melted, they had been jolted in this posture over the trunks of trees, which form a timber causeway between Petersburg and Moscow; so that, when taken from their fine new carriages, they could hardly move, and made the most pitiable grimaces imaginable. A few days after their arrival at Moscow, they ordered all their carriages to be sold, for whatever sum any person would offer.

It is now time to take leave of our Oria ental friends and fellow-lodgers, that we may give an account of the ceremonies of Easter. The people of Moscow celebrate the Paque with a degree of pomp and festivity unknown to the rest of Europe. The most splendid pageants of Rome do not equal the costliness and splendour of the Russian Church. Neither could Venice, in the midst of her Carnival, ever rival, in debauchery and superstition, in licentiousness and parade, what passes during this season in Moscow.

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VOL. I.

CHAP.

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Ceremonies observed at Easter.

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It should first be mentioned, there are no w people who observe Lent with more scrupulous

and excessive rigour than the Russians. Travelling the road from Petersburg to Moscow, if at any time, in poor cottages, where the peasants appeared starving, we offered them a part of our dinner, they would shudder at the sight of it, and cast it to the dogs; dashing out of their children's hands, as an abomination, any food given to them; and removing every particle that might be left, entirely from their sight. In drinking tea with a Cossack, he not only refused to have milk in his cup, but would not use a spoon that had been in the tea offered him with milk, although wiped carefully in a napkin, until it had passed through scalding water. The same privation takes place among the higher ranks; but, in proportion as this rigour has been observed, so much the more excessive is the degree of gluttony and relaxation, when the important intelligence that Christ is risen" has issued from the mouth of the archbishop. During Easter they run into every kind of excess, rolling about drunk the whole week; as if rioting, debauchery, extravagance, gambling, drinking, and fornication, were as much a religious observance as starving had been before; and that the

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same superstition which kept them fasting CHAP. during Lent, had afterwards instigated them to the most beastly excesses.

Even their religious customs are perfectly adapted to their climate and manners. Nothing can be contrived with more ingenious policy to suit the habits of the Russians. When Lent fasting begins, their stock of frozen provisions is either exhausted, or unfit for use; and the interval that takes place allows sufficient time for procuring, killing, and storing, the fresh provisions of the Spring. The night before the famous ceremony of the Resurrection, all the markets and shops of Moscow are seen filled with flesh, butter, eggs, poultry, pigs, and every kind of food. The crowd of

purchasers is immense. You hardly meet a footpassenger who has not his hands, nay his arms, filled with provisions; or a single droshy that is not ready to break down beneath their weight.

The first ceremony which took place, pre- Palm Sun

day. vious to all this feasting, was that of the Paque fleuries, or Palm Sunday. On the eve of this day the inhabitants of Moscow resort, in carriages, on horseback, or on foot, to the Kremlin, for the purchase of palm-branches, to place

CHAP. before their Boghs, and to decorate the sacred

pictures in the streets, or elsewhere. It is one of the gayest promenades of the year. The Governor, attended by the Maitre de Police, the Commandant, and a train of nobility, go in procession, mounted on fine horses. The streets are lined with spectators; and cavalry are stationed on each side, to preserve order. Arriving in the Kremlin, a vast assembly, bearing artificial bouquets and boughs, are seen moving here and there, forming the novel and striking spectacle of a gay and moving forest. The boughs consist of artificial flowers, with fruit. Beautiful representations of oranges and lemons in wax are sold for a few copeeks each, and offer a proof of the surprising ingenuity of this people in the arts of imitation. Upon this occasion, every person who visits the Kremlin, and would be thought a true Christian, purchases one or more of the boughs called Palm-branches; and, in returning, the streets are crowded with droskies, and all kinds of vehicles, filled with devotees, holding in their hands one or more palm-branches, according to the degree of their piety, or the number of Boghs in their houses.

The description often given of the splendour of the equipages in Moscow but ill agrees

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with their appearance during Lent. A stranger, CHAP. who arrives with his head full of notions of Asiatic pomp and Eastern magnificence, would be surprised to find narrow streets, execrably paved, covered with mud or dust; wretchedlooking houses on each side; carriages drawn, it is true, by six horses, but such cattle! blind, lame, old, out of condition, of all sizes and all colours, connected by rotten ropes and old cords, full of knots and splices; on the leaders, and on the box, figures that seem to have escaped the galleys; behind, a lousy, ragged lackey, or perhaps two, with countenances exciting more pity than derision; and the carriage itself like the worst of the night-coaches in London. But this external wretchedness, as far as it concerns the equipages of the nobles, admíts of some explanation. The fact is, that a dirty tattered livery, a rotten harness, bad horses, and a shabby vehicle, constitute one part of the privation of the season. On Easter Monday the most gaudy but fantastic splendour fills every street in the city.

The second grand ceremony of this season Maunday

Thursday. takes place on Thursday before Easter, at noon, when the archbishop is said to wash the feet of the Apostles. This we also witnessed. The priests appeared in their most gorgeous apparel.

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