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a groupe of lackeys, more tawdry, but not less ludicrous, than their drivers.
To give greater effect to all this, the traces of the harness are so long, that it requires considerable management to preserve the horses from being entangled, whenever they turn the corner of a street, or when they halt. Notwithstanding this, no stranger, however he may deride its absurdity, will venture to visit the nobles, if he wish for their notice, without four horses to his chariot, a ragged coachman and postillion, and a parade of equipage that must excite his laughter in proportion as it insures their countenance and approbation.
Wives of tradesmen, during the season Costume. of their festivals, are seen driving about in droskies, with riches
sufficient to purchase a peerage. Caps made of matted work of pearls, with Turkish and Persian shawls, and diamond ear-rings, are often exhibited; preserving, at the same time, the national costume, however costly the apparel. This costume is remarkably graceful when the shawl is worn, and as much otherwise when it is not. The shawl covers the head, and falls in thin folds over the shoulders, reaching almost to the feet. The celebrated Pallas gave to us a drawing representing the wife of a Russian
tradesman, with an old duenna, or nurse, who is found in almost every family. It was executed by his artist, Geisler. With that good humour which always characterized him, finding the women unwilling to have their figures delineated, he caused Mrs. Pallas to assume the dress of the young wife, and he put on his own person the habit of the duenna; thus affording a scenic representation, in which the persons of the drama, although strongly caricatured, are, the Professor and his Wife.
The amusements of the people are those of children; that is to say, of English children; for in Paris and Naples the author has witnessed similar amusements; grave senators and statesmen being sometimes seen mounted upon wooden horses, round-abouts, and ups-and-downs, with the lower order of inhabitants. It will be said, the English are a grave people; but a better reason may perhaps be assigned for the want of such infantine sports at our wakes and fairs. Certainly there is no part of our island where men of forty and fifty years of age would be seen riding on a wooden horse, or chuckling in a vaulting-chair. Three Russians, at the same time, will squeeze themselves into one of those chairs, and, as they are whirled round, scream for joy, like infants
tossed in the nurse's arms. Some years ago, the present King of the Two Sicilies was accustomed to join his principal courtiers in a similar amusement.
In the Gate of the Resurrection, at the eastern Chapel of extremity of the Tverschaia, one of the principal schaia. streets in Moscow, there is a small open sanctuary, before which, at all hours of the day, people are assembled, crossing and prostrating themselves. We had the curiosity to penetrate the host of devotees, and to enter this little temple. An old man with a long beard was there selling candles to the numerous visitants, who, immediately after buying the candles, placed them before a picture of the Virgin with the Bleeding Cheek. The place was filled with a variety of pictures of Saints and Martyrs: but there were two of the Virgin, larger than the rest, facing the street: one of them is said to have been brought hither by an angel; which causes the extraordinary devotion paid to this picture in particular; although there be many such paintings in other parts of Moscow, having the same reputation of a miraculous importation. The particular picture to which reference is now made, was framed in silver, set round with gems, true or false, of
CHAP. various magnitude. It has great celebrity,
from the numberless miracles it is supposed to have wrought, in healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and showering down favours of all kinds upon its worshippers. Now, supposing only four persons to present themselves every minute before this picture, (and sometimes fifty in the same instant may be observed opposite the shrine,) no less a number than ten thousand eight hundred and eighty persons will be found to visit it in the short space of twelve hours. It would be indeed a miracle, if, out of this number, one or two did not occasionally experience relief, either from sickness of body, or from sorrow, or in consequence
of wished-for change: and, whenever this happens, if only once in thirty days, (which would be to reckon one only out of eighty-six thousand four hundred persons, not counting the nightly visitants,) the noise of it is circulated far and wide; the story itself exaggerated; and the throng of votaries thereby increased.
Upon such ground an ideot might raise as vast a superstructure of ignorance and credulity as any even Russia itself has witnessed. The picture of a Saint found accidentally in the street; human bones dug up in a forest; a dream; some casual and rude representation of a cross; a lusus naturæ (as in the colours
of a pied horse, or the veins in a piece of flint CHAP. or marble); in short, whatsoever represents, or is supposed to resemble, any thing belonging to their prodigious catalogue of superstitious objects, might occasion a resort of devotees, give rise to a church, or to å marketplace for wax-chandlers, painters, and silversmiths, as profitable as the shrine of Diana at Ephesus.
A circumstance so likely has frequently Artifice of a happened. A merchant of Moscow, more renowned for speculation than for piety, caused a coffin to be dug up, some years ago, with the supposed body of a Saint, in the interior of the empire, eastward of the city. The throng to this coffin, from all parts, became immense; the blind were, as usual, healed; the lame left their crutches suspended as trophies of miraculous cures; and, in a short time, all the other churches were deserted, in consequence of the reputation of the newly-discovered Saint. It was moreover said, that his saintship was very passionate; that he was angry at being disturbed; and insisted upon having a church built over him, to ensure his future repose. A church was therefore erected; when news of the whole affair reaching the ears of the late Empress CATHERINE, she ordered the building to