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Holy Gate-Great Bell—Great Gun--Antient Palace
Christian Church-Festival of the Ascension. CHA!: The market on a Sunday in Moscow is a novel Sunday and entertaining spectacle. From five in the
morning till eight, the Place de Galitzin, a spacious area near the Kremlin, is filled with a concourse of peasants, and people of every description, coming to buy, or to sell, white peacocks, fan-tailed and other curious pigeons, dogs
of all sorts for the sofa or the chace, singing- CHAP. birds, poultry, guns, pistols, in short, whatsoever chance or custom may have rendered saleable. The sellers, excepting in the market of singing-birds, which is permanent and very large, have no shops; they remain with their wares exposed upon stalls, or they are seen hawking them about in their hands. Dogs and birds are the principal articles for sale. The pigeon-feeders are distinguished in the midst of the mob by long white wands, used for the purpose of directing the pigeons in their flight. The nobles of Moscow take great delight in pigeons: a favourite pair will sell from five to ten roubles in the market. We were surprised to see the feeders, by way of exhibiting their birds, let them fly, and then recover them again at pleasure. The principal recommendation of these birds consists in their rising to a great height in the air, by a spiral curve, all flying one waywand following each other. When a pigeon has been launched, if it do not continue in the same line of curvature which the others observe, the feeder whistles, waving at the same time his wand, and then its course is immediately changed. During these exhibitions, the nobles stake their money in wagers, betting upon the height to which the birds will ascend, and the number of curves they will make in so doing. Among
CHAP. the dogs for hunting, we observed a noble race,
which is common in Russia, with long fine hair, like the Newfoundland breed, but of amazing size and height; this kind of dog is used in Russia to pursue the wolves. German pug-dogs, highly appreciated in London, here bear a low price: we were offered a very fine one for a sum equivalent to an English shilling. We observed also English harriers and fox-hounds: but the breed most valued in Moscow is the English terrier; this is rare in Russia, and a dog of this kind will sell at so high a price as eighteen roubles, or even higher, according to the caprice of the buyer and seller. Persian cats were offered for sale, of a bluish-grey or slate colour, and much admired. Seeing several stalls apparently covered with wheat, we approached to examine its quality, and were amused in finding that what had the appearance of wheat consisted of large ants' eggs, heaped for sale. Near the same stalls were tubs full of pismires, creeping among the eggs, and upon the clothes of those who sold them. Both the eggs and the ants are brought to Moscow as food for nightingales, the favourite, although common, singing birds in Russian houses; their notes being in every respect as wild and pleasing, when confined in cages, as in their native woods. We often heard them in the bird-shops, warbling
with all the fulness and variety of tone which CHAP. distinguishes the nightingale in its natural state'. The price of a nightingale, in full song,
is about fifteen roubles. The Russians, by rattling beads on one of their tables of tangible arithmetic", can make these birds sing at pleasure during the day: but nightingales are heard throughout the night, making the streets of the city resound the melodies of the forest.
The promenades at this season of the year are among the many sights in Moscow which are ing Easter. interesting to a stranger. The principal promenade is on the first of May (Russian style), in a forest near the city.
It affords a very curious spectacle, because it is frequented by the bourgeoisie as well as by the nobles, and the national costume may then be observed in its greatest splendour. The procession of carriages and persons on horseback is immense. Beneath the trees, and upon the greensward, Russian peasants are seen seated in their gayest dresses, expressing their joy by shouting and by tumultuous songs.
The music of the balalaika,
(1) I have been since informed, that this method of keeping and feeding nightingales is becoming prevalent in our own country.
(2) This kind of Counting-Table, universally used in Russia, and which appears in the paintings of the Chinese, is the Abacus of the Antients,
CHAP. the shrill notes of rustic pipes, the clapping of
hands, and the wild dances of the gipsies, all mingle in one revelry. The wives of merchants, in droskies, and on foot, display head-dresses of matted pearls, and other most expensive attire. In costliness of apparel, there is no difference between a Moscow princess and the wife of a Moscow shopkeeper; except that the first copies the fashions of London and Paris, while the other preserves the habit of her ancestors. During Easter, promenades take place every evening, varying occasionally in the site of cavalcade. They are made in carriages and on horseback; the number of the former being greater than any public festival assembles in other cities in Europe. The intention of such meeting is of course the same everywhere; to see and to be seen. Equipages continue to pass in a constant order, forming two lines, which move parallel to each other. Beautiful women, attired in expensive but becoming dresses, fill the balconies and windows of the houses between which all this pageantry moves towards its destination. Hussars and policeofficers are meanwhile stationed in different parts, to preserve order. When arrived at the place particularly set apart for the display of the procession, the stranger with amazement beholds some objects which are singularly