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III.

CHAP. of four thousand versts in extent, bearing wealth

and plenty, is one of the most pleasing reflec-
tions. It seemed to connect us with the Cas-
pian, and the remòte tribes of those nations, so
little known, who dwell

upon

its shores.

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The situation of Tver, upon the lofty banks of the Volga, is very grand. It has a number of stone buildings; and its shops, as well as churches, merit particular regard. The junction of the Volga and the Tvertza is near the Street of Millions. Pallas speaks of the delicious sterlet taken from the Volga, with which travellers are regaled in this town, at all seasons of the year.

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The journey from Tver to Moscow in the winter, with a khabitka', is performed in fifteen hours. The road is broad, and more straight than in the former route from Petersburg. But in certain seasons, such as those of melting snow, it is almost impassable. In the second stage from Tver, between the sixth and seventh versts from the post-house, on the left hand,

appeared an entire group of those antient Tumuli. Tumuli before mentioned. They are so perfect

(1) The khabitka is the old Scythian waggon. In some parts of Tahtury, the top takes off, and at night becomes a tent. Hence the vame given by the Russians to the tents of the Calmucks and NaghaïTahtars; both of which they call khabitku.

in their forms, and so remarkably situate, that CHAP. they cannot escape notice. We endeavoured to learn of the peasants if they had any

tradition concerning them. All the information they gave us was, that they were constructed beyond all memory, and were believed to contain bodies of men slain in battle. A notion less reasonable, although common to countries widely distant from each other, is, that such mounds are the tombs of giants. Thus, on the Hills near Cambridge, two are shewn as the Tombs of Gog and Magog, whence the name given to the eminence where they are situate. The Tomb of Tityus, the most antient of all those mentioned in the History of Greece, is described by Homero, as a mound of earth raised over the spot on which that giant fell, warring against the Gods.

Klin.

Eighty-three versts from Tver we came to a small settlement between two hills : this is marked in the Russian Map as a town, and called Klin. It hardly merits such distinction. On the right, as we left it, appeared one of those houses constructed for the accommodation of the Empress CATHERINE, on her journey to the Crimea.

(2) Pausanias saw it in Phocis, at the base of Parnassus, twenty stadia from Charonea.

CHAP.

III.

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The rising towers and spires of Moscow greeted our eyes six versts before we reached the city. The country around it is flat and open; and the town, spreading over an immense district, equals, by its majestic appearance, that of Rome, when viewed at an equal distance. As

we approached the barrier of Moscow, we Palace of beheld, on the left, the large palace of Petrovsky, Petrovsky.

built of brick. It wears an appearance of great
magnificence, though the style of architecture
is cumbrous and heavy. It was erected for
the accommodation of the Russian Sovereigns,
during their visits to Moscow; the inhabitants
of which city pretend that none of them durst
take up a lodging within its walls, being kept
much more in awe of their subjects than they
are at Petersburg

It is said the Empress
CATHERINE used to call Moscow her little
haughty republic'. This palace is about four
versts from the city.

Arrival at Moscow.

Arriving at the barrier, we were some time detained during the examination of our passports. This entrance to the city, like most of the others, is a gate with two columns, one on

(1) « Ils ne m'aiment pas beaucoup, (dit elle ;)-je ne suis point à la mode à Moscou."

Lett. et Pens. du Prince de Ligne, tome i. p. 146.

III.

each side, surmounted by eagles?. On the left CHAP. is the guard-house. Within this gate a number of slaves were employed, removing the mud from the streets, which had been caused by the melting of the snow. Peasants with their khabitkas, in great numbers, were leaving the town. Into these vehicles the slaves amused themselves by heaping as much of the mud as they could collect, unperceived by the drivers, who sat in front. The officer appointed to superintend their labour chanced to arrive and detect them in their filthy work, and we hoped he would instantly have prohibited such an insult from being offered to the poor men. His conduct, however, only served to afford another trait of the national character. Instead of

preventing any further attack upon the khabitkas, he seemed highly entertained by the ingenuity of the contrivance; and, to encourage the sport, ordered every peasant to halt, and to hold hiš horse, while they filled his khabitha with the mud and ordure of the streets; covering with it the provisions of the poor peasants, and whatever else their khabitkas might contain, with which they were going peaceably to their wives and families. At last, to complete their scandalous oppression, they compelled each

(2) See the Vignette to Chap. V. of this Volume.

III.

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CHAP. peasant, as he passed, to sit down in his

khabitka, and then they covered him also with
the black and stinking mud, At this unex-
ampled instance of cruelty and insult, some
of the peasants, more spirited than the rest,
ventured to murmur. Instantly, blows, with a
heavy cudgel, on the head and shoulders,
silenced the poor wretches' complaints. Before
this began, the two sentinels at the gate had
stopped every khabitka, as it passed, with a
very different motive.

First, a loud and
menacing tone of voice seemed to indicate some
order of Government; but it was quickly
silenced, and became a whisper, in consequence
of a small piece of money being slipped into
their hands by the peasants; when they passed
on without further notice. If the practice con-
tinues, the post of sentinel at a Russian barrier
must be more profitable than that of a staff-
officer in the service. We were witness to
upwards of fifty extorted contributions of this
nature, in the course of half an hour, when the
plunder ended as has been described.

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A miserable whiskered figure on horseback, intended for a dragoon, was now appointed to conduct us to the Commandant's; and here our poderosnoy, together with our other passports, underwent a second examination. The snow

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