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Title: The Boy Travellers in The Russian Empire
 - Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey in European and Asiatic Russia, with Accounts of a Tour across Siberia, Voyages on the Amoor, Volga, and Other Rivers, a Visit to Central Asia, Travels among the Exiles, and a Historical Sketch of the Empire from Its Foundation to the Present Time
Author: Knox, Thomas Wallace
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boy Travellers in The Russian Empire
 - Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey in European and Asiatic Russia, with Accounts of a Tour across Siberia, Voyages on the Amoor, Volga, and Other Rivers, a Visit to Central Asia, Travels among the Exiles, and a Historical Sketch of the Empire from Its Foundation to the Present Time" ***

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[Illustration: Book Cover]


















       *       *       *       *       *

THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST. Five Volumes. Copiously Illustrated.
8vo, Cloth, $3.00 each. The volumes sold separately. Each volume
complete in itself.

          Descriptions or Cochin-China, Cambodia, Sumatra, and the Malay
          Descriptions of Borneo, the Philippine Islands, and Burmah.

THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN SOUTH AMERICA. Adventures of Two Youths in a
Journey through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentine
Republic, and Chili; with Descriptions of Patagonia and Tierra del
Fuego, and Voyages upon the Amazon and La Plata Rivers. Copiously
Illustrated. 8vo, Cloth, $3.00.

Journey in European and Asiatic Russia, with Accounts of a Tour across
Siberia, Voyages on the Amoor, Volga, and other Rivers, a Visit to
Central Asia, Travels Among the Exiles, and a Historical Sketch of the
Empire from its Foundation to the Present Time. Copiously Illustrated.
8vo, Cloth, $3.00.

Two Youths in the Open Polar Sea. Copiously Illustrated. 8vo, Cloth,

HUNTING ADVENTURES ON LAND AND SEA. Two Volumes. Copiously Illustrated.
8vo, Cloth, $2.50 each. The volumes sold separately. Each volume
complete in itself.


       *       *       *       *       *


_Any of the above volumes sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of
the United States or Canada, on receipt of the price._

       *       *       *       *       *

Copyright, 1886, by HARPER & BROTHERS.--_All rights reserved._


In preparing this volume for the press, the author has followed very
closely the plan adopted for "The Boy Travellers in the Far East," and
also for his more recent work, "The Boy Travellers in South America."
Accompanied by their versatile and accomplished mentor, Dr. Bronson, our
young friends, Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson, journeyed from Vienna to
Warsaw and St. Petersburg, and after an interesting sojourn in the
latter city, proceeded to Moscow, the ancient capital of the Czars. From
Moscow they went to Nijni Novgorod, to attend the great fair for which
that city is famous, and thence descended the Volga to the Caspian Sea.
On their way down the great river they visited the principal towns and
cities along its banks, saw many strange people, and listened to
numerous tales and legends concerning the races which make up the
population of the great Muscovite Empire.

They visited the recently developed petroleum fields of the Caspian,
and, after crossing that inland sea, made a journey in Central Asia to
study certain phases of the "Eastern Question," and learn something
about the difficulties that have arisen between England and Russia.
Afterwards they travelled in the Caucasus, visited the Crimea, and bade
farewell to the Empire as they steamed away from Odessa. Concerning the
parts of Russia that they were unable to visit they gathered much
information, and altogether their notes, letters, and memoranda would
make a portly volume.

The author has been three times in the Russian Empire, and much of the
country described by "The Boy Travellers" was seen and traversed by him.
In his first journey he entered the Czar's dominions at Petropavlovsk in
Kamtchatka, ascended the Amoor River through its entire navigable
length, traversed Siberia from the Pacific Ocean to the Ural Mountains,
and continuing thence to Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw, left
the protection of the Russian flag eleven thousand miles from where he
first went beneath it. His second visit included the Crimea and other
regions bordering the Black Sea, and his third was confined to Finland
and other Baltic provinces.

In addition to his personal observations in Russia, the author has drawn
upon the works of others. Many books of Russian travel and history have
been examined; some of them have been mentioned in the text of the
narrative, but it has not been practicable to refer to all. Indebtedness
is hereby acknowledged to the following books: "Free Russia," by
Hepworth Dixon; "Turkestan" and "Life of Peter the Great," by Hon.
Eugene Schuyler; "A Ride to Khiva," by Col. Fred Burnaby; "Campaigning
on the Oxus, and the Fall of Khiva," by J. A. Macgahan; "Life of Peter
the Great" and "Life of Genghis Khan," by Jacob Abbott; "The Siberian
Overland Route," by Alexander Michie; "Tent-life in Siberia," by George
Kennan; "Reindeer, Dogs, and Snow-shoes," by Richard J. Bush; "The
Invasion of the Crimea," by A. W. Kinglake; "Fred Markham in Russia," by
W. H. G. Kingston; "The Knout and the Russians," by G. De Lagny; "The
Russians at the Gates of Herat" and "The Region of the Eternal Fire," by
Charles Marvin; "Travels in the Regions of the Upper and Lower Amoor"
and "Oriental and Western Siberia," by Thomas W. Atkinson; and "The
Russians at Home," by Sutherland Edwards. The author has also drawn upon
several articles in _Harper's Magazine_, including his own series
describing his journey through Siberia.

The publishers have kindly permitted the use of illustrations from their
previous publications on the Russian Empire, in addition to those
specially prepared for this book. As a result of their courtesy, the
author has been able to present a "copiously illustrated" book, which is
always a delight to the youthful eye.



  CHAPTER I.                                                        PAGE

  UNDERGROUND.--VOYAGE ON A SUBTERRANEAN LAKE.                        15


  WARSAW TO ST. PETERSBURG.                                           40


  SAILORS AND THE STATUE.                                             58


  PEOPLE.--RUSSIAN POLICE AND THEIR WAYS.                             76


  MONUMENT AND AN ANECDOTE.                                           93


  RUSSIAN COMEDY.                                                    110




  OFFICIALS.                                                         150




  NOSE.--HOW MEN ARE FROZEN TO DEATH.                                193




  LIFE.--THE CHURCH OF ST. BASIL.                                    230


  SIMONOFF MONASTERY.                                                252


  WHAT WAS SEEN THERE.--THE ROUTE TO SIBERIA.                        271


  NERTCHINSK.--GOLD-MINING IN SIBERIA.                               289


   THE EXILES.--PRISONERS IN CHAINS.                                 313


  POLICE.--TRADE   BETWEEN RUSSIA AND CHINA.                         334


  GROUND.--A SNOWLESS REGION.--KRASNOYARSK.                          354


  NOVGOROD.--END OF THE SLEIGH-RIDE.                                 377




  ASIA.                                                              428




  AT CONSTANTINOPLE.--FRANK'S DREAM.--THE END.                       480


  Winter Scene in Russia                                 _Frontispiece._
  Fred's Reminder                                                     15
  St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna                                     16
  View of the Palace of Cracow                                        17
  Kosciusko, 1777                                                     18
  Kosciusko, 1817                                                     19
  Church of St Mary, Cracow                                           20
  Polish Jew of high Rank                                             21
  Polish Jews of the Middle Class                                     22
  Our Guide in Costume                                                23
  The Inspector-general                                               24
  The Shaft                                                           26
  Descending the Shaft                                                27
  Lamp-bearers                                                        28
  A Foot-path                                                         29
  An Underground Chapel                                               31
  Men Cutting Salt in the Mine                                        32
  Finishing the Columns                                               33
  Subterranean Stables                                                34
  A Mining Singer                                                     35
  "Glück-auf!"                                                        36
  Fête in the Grand Saloon of Entertainment                           37
  A Retired Director                                                  38
  Outer Wall of Cracow                                                40
  Custom-house Formalities                                            41
  Passport not Correct                                                42
  In the Passport Bureau                                              43
  Way Station on the Railway                                          45
  Before Examination                                                  46
  After Examination                                                   47
  Scene on the Railway                                                48
  Shutes for loading Coal on the Railway                              49
  Polish National Costumes                                            50
  Peasant's Farm-house                                                51
  Royal Palace at Warsaw                                              52
  Shrine at a Gate-way                                                53
  Lake in the Park                                                    54
  A Business Man of Warsaw                                            55
  In St. Petersburg                                                   56
  Isvoshchiks in Winter                                               59
  Drosky Drivers                                                      60
  Sledge of a high Official                                           63
  Russian Workmen on their way Home                                   65
  Russian Officer with Decorations                                    66
  A Russian Priest                                                    68
  Convent of Solovetsk in the Frozen Sea                              71
  The Inundation of 1824                                              72
  Statue of Peter the Great                                           73
  Improvising a Statue                                                75
  Tea-sellers in the Streets                                          77
  Russian Restaurant at the Paris Exposition                          78
  An Out-door Tea-party                                               79
  Russian Mujiks drinking Tea                                         81
  Plant from which Yellow Tea is made                                 82
  Column in Memory of Alexander I.                                    83
  Peter the Great                                                     85
  Assassination of Peter III.                                         87
  Paul I.                                                             88
  Russian and Finn                                                    89
  Dvornik and Postman                                                 90
  Lodgings at the Frontier                                            91
  Ordered to leave Russia                                             92
  Finland Peasants in Holiday Costume                                 94
  Inhabitants of Southern Russia                                      95
  St. Isaac's Church and Admiralty Square                             96
  Priest of the Church of St. Isaac                                   98
  Catherine II. of Russia                                             99
  Reception of John Paul Jones by the Empress Catherine              101
  Russian Attack on the Turkish Galley                               103
  The Orloff Diamond                                                 104
  Nicholas I.                                                        105
  Peter III.                                                         106
  Circassian Arms as Trophies of Battle                              107
  Statue of Nicholas I.                                              108
  Politeness in the Market-place                                     111
  Importuning a Visitor                                              113
  Frozen Animals in the Market                                       114
  Market for old Clothes                                             116
  Pigeons in a Russian City                                          118
  Persian Horses presented by the Shah                               119
  Russian Peasant Girl                                               120
  Russian Nurse-maid and Children                                    121
  Some of Kriloff's Friends                                          122
  Kriloff's Characters in Convention                                 123
  The Fox as a Law-giver                                             126
  One of Kriloff's Characters                                        127
  Closing Scene in a Russian Play                                    128
  Kriloff's Statue in the Summer Garden, St. Petersburg              129
  Press-room of a Daily Newspaper                                    131
  Interviewing an Editor                                             132
  Prince Gortchakoff                                                 133
  Cabinet and Chair in the Palace                                    135
  Illumination in a Russian Park                                     136
  Tapestry and Fire Utensils at Peterhof                             137
  Door-way of Peter's House at Zaandam, Holland                      138
  A Student of Navigation                                            139
  Steam Frigate near Cronstadt                                       140
  Frigate under Sail and Steam                                       141
  The _Dreadnought_--type of the _Peter the Great_                   142
  The Russian Army--Regular Troops                                   143
  Cossack Lancers and Russian Guard-house                            144
  The Russian Army--Irregular Troops                                 146
  Grand-duke Michael                                                 148
  Iron-clad Steamer of the Baltic Fleet                              149
  Little Folks at School                                             151
  Learning to Weave                                                  152
  Mineral Cabinet in the University                                  153
  Parlor in a High-school for Women                                  155
  Private Room of a wealthy Student                                  156
  Lower Recitation-room                                              157
  One of the Professors                                              158
  Descending a Shaft                                                 159
  Galleries in a Mine                                                160
  In the Library                                                     161
  A College Dormitory                                                162
  Jewish Burial-ground                                               163
  Clothes-dealer of Moscow                                           164
  A Russian Troika                                                   165
  A Villa on the Island                                              166
  A Russian Family                                                   167
  Culprit Street-sweepers                                            169
  A Business Transaction                                             170
  Peter the Great dressed for Battle                                 171
  An Imperial Nosegay                                                173
  Mujiks playing Cards                                               174
  Peasant's House in Southern Russia                                 176
  Peasants' Huts                                                     178
  Esthonian Peasants                                                 179
  Alexander II., the Liberator of the Serfs                          181
  Alexander III., Emperor of Russia                                  182
  Battle between Russians and Circassians                            184
  Schamyl's Village in the Caucasus                                  185
  The Empress Marie Féodorovna, Wife of Alexander III.               186
  Russian Peasants at their Recreation                               187
  "Who is the Spy?"                                                  189
  Officers sitting in Judgment                                       191
  Russian Grand-duke and Grand-duchess                               192
  Fur-bearing Seals                                                  194
  Sea-otter                                                          195
  The Beaver                                                         195
  The Ermine                                                         196
  The Raccoon                                                        196
  Russian Ice-hills                                                  198
  Soldiers off Duty--Butter-week                                     199
  The Easter Kiss--agreeable                                         200
  The Easter Kiss--in the Family                                     200
  The Easter Kiss--difficult                                         201
  The Easter Kiss--disagreeable                                      201
  The Emperor's Easter Kiss                                          203
  Peasant Girl in Winter Dress                                       204
  A Bath in the East                                                 206
  Russian Street Scene in Winter                                     208
  Lost in a Snow-storm                                               210
  Workmen of Novgorod--Glazier, Painter, and Carpenters              212
  An Old Norse Chief                                                 213
  View on the Steppe                                                 216
  Ivan the Terrible                                                  217
  Alexis Michailovitch, Father of Peter the Great                    219
  Michael Feodorovitch, First Czar of the Romanoff Family            220
  Too near to be pleasant                                            221
  Wolf attacking its Hunters                                         222
  Old Picture in the Church                                          224
  A Bishop of the Greek Church                                       225
  Millennial Monument at Novgorod                                    227
  Russian Boats                                                      228
  Portrait of Catherine II. in the Kremlin Collection                229
  Street Scene in Moscow                                             231
  Bivouacking in the Snow                                            232
  Battle between French and Russians                                 233
  Napoleon Retreating from Moscow                                    235
  Alexander I.                                                       236
  View in the Kremlin                                                237
  A Prisoner ordered to Execution                                    238
  The Kremlin of Moscow                                              239
  The Great Bell underground                                         240
  Visiting the Great Bell                                            241
  Empress Anne                                                       242
  The Empress Elizabeth                                              243
  Coronation of Alexander III.                                       245
  Peter II.                                                          246
  Bishop in his Robes                                                247
  Great Gun at Moscow                                                249
  The Cathedral at Moscow                                            250
  Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow                                     251
  Dress of Peasants--Scene from a Russian Opera                      253
  A Dressing-room of the Opera-house                                 254
  Working the Ship in "L'Africaine"                                  255
  Minin-Pojarsky Monument                                            257
  Peter's Escape from Assassination                                  258
  Peter the Great as Executioner                                     260
  Catherine I.                                                       261
  Catherine II.                                                      263
  Grand-duke Nicholas Alexandrovitch                                 264
  Skinned and Stuffed Man                                            266
  Russian Beggars                                                    267
  Tartar Coffee-house in Southern Russia                             269
  Gallery in the Palace                                              270
  Copy of Picture in the Monastery                                   272
  Window in Church of the Trinity                                    273
  Pity the Poor                                                      274
  Curious Agate at Troitska                                          275
  Paper-knife from Troitska--St. Sergius and the Bear                276
  Specimens of Ecclesiastical Painting on Glass                      277
  Russian Cooper's Shop and Dwelling                                 278
  Nijni Novgorod during the Fair                                     280
  Nijni Novgorod after the Fair                                      281
  Tartar Merchant                                                    282
  Returning from the Fair                                            283
  Launching a Russian Barge                                          285
  Tartar Village near the Volga                                      286
  Tartar Baker's Shop                                                287
  A Siberian Village                                                 289
  Petropavlovsk, Kamtchatka.--Mount Avatcha in Background            290
  A Herd of Reindeer                                                 291
  Dog teams and Reindeer                                             293
  Light-house at Ghijigha                                            294
  Ermine-trap                                                        295
  Interior of a Native House                                         295
  The Reindeer                                                       296
  Fish-market at Nicolayevsk                                         297
  Scenery on the Amoor                                               298
  Gilyak Woman                                                       299
  Gilyak Man                                                         299
  Native Boat--Amoor River                                           300
  Goldee Children                                                    300
  A Goldee Man and Woman                                             301
  Inauguration of Genghis Khan                                       302
  Junction of the Argoon and Shilka to form the Amoor                303
  Scene in a Posting Station                                         304
  A Tarantasse                                                       306
  Changing Horses at a Siberian Station                              307
  The Right of Way in Russia                                         309
  Getting out of Difficulty                                          310
  Valley of the Amoor above Ouk-se-me                                312
  Interior of an Exile's Hut                                         314
  Exiles passing through a Village                                   315
  A Town built by Exiles                                             317
  Banished for Five Years                                            318
  Banished for Three Years                                           318
  Colonist's Village in Winter                                       319
  Exiles leaving Moscow                                              321
  Tagilsk, centre of Iron-mines of Siberia                           322
  A Siberian Valley                                                  323
  Two Exiled Friends Meeting                                         325
  Escaping Exiles crossing a Stream                                  326
  Ivanoff's Cave                                                     327
  Exiles among the Mountains                                         329
  Siberian Peasants                                                  331
  Siberian Milk-women                                                332
  Siberia in Summer                                                  333
  An Exile Peasant and his Friends                                   335
  A Siberian Landscape                                               336
  Girls Playing at Skakiet                                           337
  A Village Festival                                                 338
  Russian Peasant Women                                              340
  Making Calls after a Wedding                                       342
  Ceremony after a Peasant's Wedding                                 343
  The Mountains near Chetah                                          345
  A Bouriat Village                                                  346
  A Wandering Priest                                                 347
  Crossing the Selenga                                               349
  Finding Lodgings at Kiachta                                        351
  Chinese Cash from Mai-mai-chin                                     352
  Articles of Russian Manufacture                                    353
  Scene in a Chinese Temple                                          354
  Theatre at Mai-mai-chin                                            355
  The Tiger                                                          356
  A Natural Arch on Lake Baikal                                      357
  Caverns on Lake Baikal                                             358
  Part of Irkutsk                                                    359
  View of the Principal Square in Irkutsk                            360
  Dressed for the Road                                               362
  A Vashok                                                           363
  My Kibitka                                                         364
  Farewell to Irkutsk                                                365
  Work of the Frost-king                                             367
  Interior of a Russian Inn                                          369
  Mail-driver and Guard                                              370
  Distant View of a Siberian Village                                 371
  Soldiers in Siberian Ferry-boats                                   373
  View of Krasnoyarsk from the opposite Bank of the Yenisei          374
  A Dangerous Ride                                                   376
  Beggar at a Siberian Station                                       378
  Policeman at Krasnoyarsk                                           380
  Hills near a Siberian River                                        381
  Jumping an "Oukhaba"                                               382
  Wolves Attacking a Buffalo                                         384
  A Siberian Wolf                                                    385
  Summer and Winter in Russia                                        386
  Village on a Russian Estate                                        388
  A Slight Mishap                                                    389
  Summer View near Barnaool                                          391
  Attacked by a Tiger                                                393
  Bearcoots and Wolves                                               394
  The Steppe in Summer                                               395
  Specimen of Rock-crystal                                           397
  Monument at the Boundary                                           397
  Western Slope of the Ural Mountains                                398
  Descending a Hill-side Road                                        400
  Baptizing through the Ice                                          401
  End of the Sleigh-ride                                             402
  Offering of the Villagers                                          404
  Shoeing an Ox                                                      406
  Knife-whip                                                         407
  Armenian Bishop of Astrachan                                       408
  A Tartar Khan                                                      409
  Tartar Postilions                                                  410
  Tartar Palaces in Southern Russia                                  411
  Gypsy Family at Astrachan                                          412
  An Oil-steamer on the Caspian Sea                                  413
  Tanks at a Storage Depot                                           413
  View in an Oil Region                                              414
  Bits for Drilling Wells                                            415
  A Spouting Well                                                    416
  Derrick and Tanks in the American Oil Region                       417
  An Oil Refinery with Tank Cars                                     419
  Tartar Camel-cart at Baku                                          420
  Ancient Mound near the Caspian Sea                                 421
  Curious Rock Formations                                            422
  Modern Fire-worshippers--Parsee Lady and Daughter                  423
  A Burning Tank                                                     425
  A Fall in Oil                                                      426
  A Rise in Oil                                                      426
  Camp Scene near the Altai Mountains                                429
  A Kalmuck Priest                                                   430
  Scene on the Edge of the Kirghese Steppe                           431
  Kirghese Group                                                     432
  Kirghese Chief and Family                                          433
  Caravan in Russian Territory                                       434
  Kirghese Raid on a Hostile Tribe                                   436
  Lasgird--A Fortified Village in Northern Persia                    438
  Tower of Refuge                                                    439
  Framework of Turcoman Tent                                         440
  The Tent Covered                                                   440
  Interior of Tent                                                   441
  Vámbéry's Reception by Turcoman Chief on the Caspian Shore         442
  Receiving Payment for Human Heads--Khiva                           443
  Turcoman Trophy--A Russian Head                                    445
  Kökbüri--A Race for a Bride                                        447
  View of the Citadel of Khiva                                       448
  An Ozbek Head                                                      449
  Map showing the Relations of Russia and England in the East        451
  Sand-storm in the Desert                                           452
  Turcoman Court of Justice                                          453
  Kirghese Tomb                                                      454
  Charge of Russian Cavalry against Turcomans                        455
  Russian Army on the Turcoman Steppes                               457
  Winter Camp in Turcomania                                          459
  Turcoman Irrigating Wheel                                          460
  Scene at a Ferry on the Oxus                                       461
  Map of the Russo-Afghan Region                                     462
  Turcoman Woman Spinning                                            464
  Village of Turcoman Tents                                          465
  The New Russo-Afghan Frontier                                      466
  Old Sarakhs                                                        468
  Sarik Turcoman Woman                                               469
  Pul-i-Khisti and Ak Tapa                                           470
  Penjdeh                                                            471
  Colonel Alikhanoff                                                 472
  The Great Highway of Central Asia                                  473
  Turcoman Farm-yard                                                 475
  Map of Turkestan, showing Route of Trans-Caspian Railway           476
  Crossing a River in Central Asia                                   478
  A Native Traveller                                                 479
  Looking down on the Steppe                                         481
  View of Tiflis                                                     483
  The Pass of Dariel, Caucasus                                       485
  Governor-general of the Caucasus                                   486
  Ruined Fortress in the Caucasus                                    487
  Ruined Church near Batoum                                          488
  Quarantine Harbor, Trebizond                                       489
  View of Erzeroom                                                   490
  Turkish Authority                                                  492
  View of Sebastopol                                                 495
  Ruins of the Malakoff, Sebastopol                                  496
  Russian Carpenters at Work                                         498
  Cossacks and Chasseurs                                             499
  British Soldiers in Camp                                           501
  Alfred Tennyson                                                    502
  A Broken Tarantasse                                                503
  The Bosporus                                                       504
  Map to accompany the Boy Travellers in the
    Russian Empire                                        _Front Cover._
  Map showing the Russian Empire Routes as
    Described by the Boy Travellers                        _Back Cover._






"Here are the passports at last."

"Are you sure they are quite in order for our journey?"

"Yes, entirely so," was the reply; "the Secretary of Legation examined
them carefully, and said we should have no trouble at the frontier."

"Well, then," a cheery voice responded, "we have nothing more to do
until the departure of the train. Five minutes will complete the packing
of our baggage, and the hotel bill is all settled. I am going for a walk
through the Graben, and will be back in an hour."

So saying, our old acquaintance, Doctor Bronson, left his room in the
Grand Hotel in Vienna and disappeared down the stairway. He was
followed, a few minutes later, by his nephew, Fred Bronson, who had just
returned from a promenade, during which he had visited the American
Legation to obtain the passports which were the subject of the dialogue
just recorded.

At the door of the hotel he was joined by his cousin, Frank Bassett. The
latter proposed a farewell visit to the Church of St. Stephen, and also
a short stroll in the Graben, where he wished to make a trifling
purchase. Fred assented, and they started at once.

[Illustration: FRED'S REMINDER.]

They had not gone far before Fred perceived at a window the face of a
girl busily engaged in writing. He paused a moment, and then suggested
to Frank that he wished to return to the hotel in time to write a letter
to his sister before the closing of the mail. "I really believe," said
he, "that I should have neglected Mary this week if I had not been
reminded by that girl in the window and her occupation."

Frank laughed as he rejoined that he had never yet known his cousin to
forget his duty, and it would have been pretty sure to occur to him
that he owed his sister a letter before it was too late for writing it.


They made a hasty visit to the church, which is by far the finest
religious edifice in Vienna, and may be said to stand in the very heart
of the city. Fred had previously made a note of the fact that the church
is more than seven hundred years old, and has been rebuilt, altered, and
enlarged so many times that not much of the original structure remains.
On the first day of their stay in Vienna the youths had climbed to the
top of the building and ascended the spire, from which they had a
magnificent view of the city and the country which surrounds it. The
windings of the Danube are visible for many miles, and there are guides
ready at hand to point out the battle-fields of Wagram, Lobau, and
Essling. Our young friends had a good-natured discussion about the
height of the spire of St. Stephen's; Frank claimed that his guide-book
gave the distance from the ground to the top of the cross four hundred
and fifty-three feet, while Fred contended, on the authority of another
guide-book, that it was four hundred and sixty-five feet. Authorities
differ considerably as to the exact height of this famous spire, which
does not appear to have received a careful measurement for a good many

From the church the youths went to the Graben, the famous street where
idlers love to congregate on pleasant afternoons, and then they returned
to the hotel. Fred devoted himself to the promised letter to his sister.
With his permission we will look over his shoulder as he writes, and
from the closing paragraph learn the present destination of our old
friends with whom we have travelled in other lands.[1]

[1] "The Boy Travellers in the Far East" (five volumes) and "The Boy
Travellers in South America" (one volume). Adventures of Two Youths in a
Journey to and through Japan, China, Siam, Java, Ceylon, India, Egypt,
Palestine, Central Africa, Peru, Bolivia, Chili, Brazil, and the
Argentine Republic. New York. Harper & Brothers.

"We have been here a week, and like Vienna very much, but are quite
willing to leave the city for the interesting tour we have planned. We
start this evening by the Northern Railway for a journey to and through
Russia; our first stopping-place will be at the nearest point on the
railway for reaching the famous salt-mines of Wieliczka. You must
pronounce it We-_litch_-ka, with the accent on the second syllable. I'll
write you from there; or, if I don't have time to do so at the mines,
will send you a letter from the first city where we stop for more than a
single day. We have just had our passports indorsed by the Russian
minister for Austria--a very necessary proceeding, as it is impossible
to get into Russia without these documents. Until I next write you,

The travellers arrived at the great Northern Railway station of Vienna
in ample season to take their tickets and attend to the registration of
their baggage. The train carried them swiftly to Cracow--a city which
has had a prominent place in Polish annals. It was the scene of several
battles, and was for a long time the capital of the ancient kingdom of
Poland. Frank made the following memoranda in his note-book:


"Cracow is a city of about fifty thousand inhabitants, of whom nearly
one-third are Israelites. It stands on the left bank of the Vistula, on
a beautiful plain surrounded by hills which rise in the form of an
amphitheatre. In the old part of the city the streets are narrow and
dark, and cannot be praised for their cleanliness; but the new part,
which lies outside the ancient defences, is quite attractive. The palace
is on the bank of the river, and was once very pretty. The Austrians
have converted it into a military barrack, after stripping it of all its
ornaments, so that it is now hardly worth seeing. There are many fine
churches in Cracow, but we have only had time to visit one of them--the

"In the cathedral we saw the tombs of many of the men whose names are
famous in Polish history. Polish kings and queens almost by the dozen
are buried here, and there is a fine monument to the memory of St.
Stanislaus. His remains are preserved in a silver coffin, and are the
object of reverence on the part of those who still dream of the ultimate
liberation of Poland, and its restoration to its old place among the
kingdoms of the world.

[Illustration: KOSCIUSKO, 1777.]

"We drove around the principal streets of Cracow, and then out to the
tumulus erected to the memory of the Polish patriot, Kosciusko. You
remember the lines in our school reader,

  "'Hope for a season bade the world farewell,
    And freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell.'

"We were particularly desirous to see this mound. It was made of earth
brought from all the patriotic battle-fields of Poland at an enormous
expense, which was largely borne by the people of Cracow. The monument
is altogether one hundred and fifty feet high, and is just inside the
line of fortifications which have been erected around the city. The
Austrians say these fortifications are intended to keep out the
Russians; but it is just as likely that they are intended to keep the
Poles from making one of the insurrections for which they have shown so
great an inclination during the past two or three centuries.

[Illustration: KOSCIUSKO, 1817.]

"As we contemplated the monument to the famous soldier of Poland, we
remembered his services during our Revolutionary war. Kosciusko entered
the American army in 1776 as an officer of engineers, and remained with
General Washington until the close of the war. He planned the fortified
camp near Saratoga, and also the works at West Point. When our
independence was achieved he returned to Poland, and after fighting for
several years in the cause of his country, he made a brief visit to
America, where he received much distinction. Then he returned again to
Europe, lived for a time in France, and afterwards in Switzerland, where
he died in 1817. The monument we have just visited does not cover his
grave, as he was buried with much ceremony in the Cathedral of Cracow."

"Why don't you say something about the Jewish quarter of Cracow," said
Fred, when Frank read what he had written, and which we have given

"I'll leave that for you," was the reply. "You may write the description
while I make some sketches."

"I'm agreed," responded Fred. "Let's go over the ground together and
pick out what is the most interesting."

Away they went, leaving Doctor Bronson with a gentleman with whom he had
formed an acquaintance during their ride from the railway to the hotel.
The Doctor was not partial to a walk in the Jews' quarter, and said he
was willing to take his knowledge of it at second-hand.

[Illustration: CHURCH OF ST. MARY, CRACOW.]

On their way thither the youths stopped a few minutes to look at the
Church of St. Mary, which was built in 1276, and is regarded as a fine
specimen of Gothic architecture. It is at one side of the market-place,
and presents a picturesque appearance as the beholder stands in front of

The Jews' quarter is on the opposite side of the river from the
principal part of the city, and is reached by a bridge over the Vistula.
At every step the youths were beset by beggars. They had taken a guide
from the hotel, under the stipulation that he should not permit the
beggars to annoy them, but they soon found it would be impossible to
secure immunity from attack without a cordon of at least a dozen guides.
Frank pronounced the beggars of Cracow the most forlorn he had ever
seen, and Fred thought they were more numerous in proportion to the
population than in any other city, with the possible exception of
Naples. Their ragged and starved condition indicated that their distress
was real, and more than once our young friends regretted having brought
themselves face to face with so much misery that they were powerless to

[Illustration: POLISH JEW OF HIGH RANK.]

Frank remarked that there was a similarity of dress among the Jews of
Cracow, as they all wore long caftans, or robes, reaching nearly to the
heels. The wealthy Jews wear robes of silk, with fur caps or turbans,
while the poorer ones must content themselves with cheaper material,
according to their ability. The guide told the youths that the men of
rank would not surround their waists with girdles as did the humbler
Jews, and that sometimes the robes of the rich were lined with sable, at
a cost of many hundreds of dollars.


Fred carefully noted the information obtained while Frank made the
sketches he had promised to produce. They are by no means unlike the
sketches that were made by another American traveller (Mr. J. Ross
Browne), who visited Cracow several years before the journey of our

"But there's one thing we can't sketch, and can't describe in writing,"
said Fred, "and that's the dirt in the streets of this Jews' quarter of
Cracow. If Doctor Bronson knew of it I don't wonder he declined to come
with us. No attempt is made to keep the place clean, and it seems a pity
that the authorities do not force the people into better ways. It's as
bad as any part of Canton or Peking, and that's saying a great deal. I
wonder they don't die of cholera, and leave the place without

In spite of all sorts of oppression, the Jews of Cracow preserve their
distinctiveness, and there are no more devout religionists in the world
than this people. The greater part of the commerce of the city is in
their hands, and they are said to have a vast amount of wealth in their
possession. That they have a large share of business was noticed by
Fred, who said that from the moment they alighted from the train at the
railway-station they were pestered by peddlers, guides, money-changers,
runners for shops, beggars, and all sorts of importunate people from the
quarter of the city over the Vistula. An hour in the Jews' quarter
gratified their curiosity, and they returned to the hotel.

There is a line of railway to the salt-mines, but our friends preferred
to go in a carriage, as it would afford a better view of the country,
and enable them to arrange the time to suit themselves. The distance is
about nine miles, and the road is well kept, so that they reached the
mines in little more than an hour from the time of leaving the hotel.
The road is through an undulating country, which is prettily dotted with
farms, together with the summer residences of some of the wealthier
inhabitants of Cracow.

[Illustration: OUR GUIDE IN COSTUME.]

On reaching the mines they went immediately to the offices, where it was
necessary to obtain permission to descend into the earth. These offices
are in an old castle formerly belonging to one of the native princes,
but long ago turned into its present practical uses. Our friends were
accompanied by a commissioner from the hotel where they were lodged in
Cracow; he was a dignified individual, who claimed descent from one of
the noble families of Poland, and the solemnity of his visage was
increased by a huge pair of spectacles that spanned his nose. Frank
remarked that spectacles were in fashion at Wieliczka, as at least half
the officials connected with the management of the salt-mines were
ornamented with these aids to vision.


A spectacled clerk entered the names of the visitors in a register kept
for the purpose, and issued the tickets permitting them to enter the
mines. Armed with their tickets, they were conducted to a building close
to the entrance of one of the mines, and ushered into the presence of
the inspector-general of the works. He was also a wearer of spectacles,
and the rotundity of his figure indicated that the air and food of the
place had not injured him.

"The inspector-general received us politely--in fact everybody about the
place was polite enough for the most fastidious taste," said Frank in
his note-book--"and after a short conversation he called our attention
to the robes which had been worn by imperial and royal visitors to the
mines. The robes are richly embroidered, and every one bears a label
telling when and by whom it was worn. The inspector-general treated the
garments with almost as much reverence as he would have shown to the
personages named on the labels. We realized that it was proper to regard
them with respect, if we wished to have the good-will of this important
official, and therefore we appeared to be dumb with amazement as he went
through the list. When the examination was ended we were provided with
garments for the descent. Evidently we were not regarded with the same
awe as were the kings and emperors that had preceded us, as our robes
were of a very common sort. They were like dressing-gowns, and reached
nearly to our heels, and our heads were covered with small woollen caps.
I do not believe they were labelled with our names and kept in glass
cases after our departure.

"I made a sketch of our guide after he was arrayed in his underground
costume and ready to start. Fred sketched the inspector-general while
the latter was talking to the Doctor. The portrait isn't a bad one, but
I think he has exaggerated somewhat the rotund figure of the affable

"From the office we went to the entrance of one of the shafts. It is in
a large building, which contains the hoisting apparatus, and is also
used as a storehouse. Sacks and barrels of salt were piled there
awaiting transportation to market, and in front of the building there
were half a dozen wagons receiving the loads which they were to take to
the railway-station. The hoisting apparatus is an enormous wheel turned
by horse-power; the horses walk around in a circle, as in the
old-fashioned cider-mill of the Northern States, or the primitive
cotton-gin of the South. Our guide said there were more than twenty of
these shafts, and there was also a stairway, cut in the solid earth and
salt, extending to the bottom of the mine. We had proposed to descend by
the stairway, but the commissioner strenuously advised against our doing
so. He said the way was dark and the steps were slippery, as they were
wet in many places from the water trickling through the earth. His
arguments appeared reasonable, and so we went by the shaft.

"The rope winds around a drum on the shaft supporting the wheel, and
then passes through a pulley directly over the place where we were to
descend. The rope is fully two inches in diameter, and was said to be
capable of bearing ten times the weight that can ever be placed upon it
in ordinary use. It is examined every morning, and at least once a week
it is tested with a load of at least four times that which it ordinarily
carries. When it shows any sign of wear it is renewed; and judging from
all we could see, the managers take every precaution against accidents.

"Smaller ropes attached to the main one have seats at the ends. There
are two clusters of these ropes, about twenty feet apart, the lower one
being intended for the guides and lamp-bearers, and the upper for
visitors and officials. Six of us were seated in the upper group. It
included our party of four and two subordinate officials, who
accompanied us on our journey and received fees on our return; but I
suppose they would scorn to be called guides.

"There is a heavy trap-door over the mouth of the shaft, and the rope
plays freely through it. The guides and lamp-bearers took their places
at the end of the rope; then the door was opened and they were lowered
down, and the door closed above them. This brought the upper cluster of
ropes in position for us to take our places, which we did under the
direction of the officials who accompanied us. When all was ready the
signal was given, the trap-door was opened once more, and we began our
downward journey into the earth.

[Illustration: THE SHAFT.]

"As the trap-door closed above us, I confess to a rather uncanny
feeling. Below us gleamed the lights in the hands of the lamp-bearers,
but above there was a darkness that seemed as though it might be felt,
or sliced off with a knife. Nobody spoke, and the attention of all
seemed to be directed to hanging on to the rope. Of course the uppermost
question in everybody's mind was, 'What if the rope should break?' It
doesn't take long to answer it; the individuals hanging in that cluster
below the gloomy trap-door would be of very little consequence in a
terrestrial way after the snapping of the rope.


"We compared notes afterwards, and found that our sensations were pretty
much alike. The general feeling was one of uncertainty, and each one
asked himself several times whether he was asleep or awake. Fred said a
part of the journey was like a nightmare, and the Doctor said he had the
same idea, especially after the noise of the machinery was lost in the
distance and everything was in utter silence. For the first few moments
we could hear the whirring of the wheel and the jar of the machinery;
but very soon these sounds disappeared, and we glided gently downward,
without the least sensation of being in motion. It seemed to me not that
we were descending, but that the walls of the shaft were rising around
us, while our position was stationary.

"Contrary to expectation, we found the air quite agreeable. The official
who accompanied us said it was peculiarly conducive to health; and many
of the employés of the mines had been at work there forty or fifty
years, and had never lost a day from illness. We had supposed it would
be damp and cold, but, on the contrary, found it dry and of an agreeable
temperature, which remains nearly the same all through the year. No
doubt the salt has much to do with this healthy condition. Occasionally
hydrogen gas collects in some of the shafts which are not properly
ventilated, and there have been explosions of fire-damp which destroyed
a good many lives. These accidents were the result of carelessness
either of the miners or their superintendents, and since their
occurrence a more rigid system of inspection has been established.

[Illustration: LAMP-BEARERS.]

"We stopped at the bottom of the shaft, which is about three hundred
feet deep; there we were released from our fastenings and allowed to use
our feet again. Then we were guided through a perfect labyrinth of
passages, up and down ladders, along narrow paths, into halls spacious
enough for the reception of an emperor, and again into little nooks
where men were occupied in excavating the salt. For several hours we
wandered there, losing all knowledge of the points of compass, and if we
had been left to ourselves our chances of emerging again into daylight
would have been utterly hopeless.

[Illustration: A FOOT-PATH.]

"And here let me give you a few figures about the salt-mines of
Wieliczka. I cannot promise that they are entirely accurate, but they
are drawn from the best sources within our reach. Some were obtained
from the under-officials of the mines who accompanied us, and others are
taken from the work of previous writers on this subject.

"The salt-mine may be fairly regarded as a city under the surface of the
earth, as it shelters about a thousand workmen, and contains chapels,
churches, railways, stables, and other appurtenances of a place where
men dwell. In fact it is a series of cities, one above the other, as
there are four tiers of excavations, the first being about two hundred
feet below the surface, and the lowest nearly two thousand. The
subterranean passages and halls are named after various kings and
emperors who have visited them, or who were famous at the time the
passages were opened, and altogether they cover an area of several
square miles. In a general way the salt-mines of Wieliczka may be said
to be nearly two miles square; but the ends of some of the passages are
more than two miles from the entrance of the nearest shaft. The entire
town of Wieliczka lies above the mines which give occupation to its


"There is probably more timber beneath the surface at Wieliczka than
above it, as the roofs of the numerous passages are supported by heavy
beams; and the same is the case with the smaller halls. In the larger
halls such support would be insufficient, and immense columns of salt
are left in position. In several instances these pillars of salt have
been replaced by columns of brick or stone, as they would be liable to
be melted away during any accidental flooding of the mine, and allow the
entire upper strata to tumble in. This has actually happened on one
occasion, when a part of the mine was flooded and serious damage

"Our guide said the length of the passages, galleries, and halls was
nearly four hundred English miles, and the greatest depth reached was
two thousand four hundred feet. If we should visit all the galleries and
passages, and examine every object of interest in the mines, we should
be detained there at least three weeks. Not a single one of all the
workmen had been in every part of all the galleries of the mine, and he
doubted if there was any officer attached to the concern who would not
be liable to be lost if left to himself.

"Nobody knows when these mines were discovered; they were worked in the
eleventh century, when they belonged to the kingdom of Poland, and an
important revenue was derived from them. In the fourteenth century
Casimir the Great established elaborate regulations for working the
mines, and his regulations are the basis of those which are still in
force, in spite of numerous changes. In 1656 they were pledged to
Austria, but were redeemed by John Sobieski in 1683. When the first
partition of Poland took place, in 1772, they were handed over to
Austria, which has had possession of them ever since, with the exception
of the short period from 1809 to 1815.

"While the mines belonged to Poland the kings of that country obtained a
large revenue from them. For two or three centuries this revenue was
sufficiently large to serve for the endowment of convents and the
dowries of the members of the royal family. The Austrian Government has
obtained a considerable revenue from these mines, but owing to the
modern competition with salt from other sources, it does not equal the
profit of the Polish kings.

"Except when reduced by accidents or other causes, the annual production
of salt in these mines is about two hundred millions of pounds, or one
hundred thousand tons. The deposit is known to extend a long distance,
and the Government might, if it wished, increase the production to any
desired amount. But it does not consider it judicious to do so, and is
content to keep the figures about where they have been since the
beginning of the century. The salt supplies a considerable area of
country; a large amount, usually of the lower grades, is sent into
Russia, and the finer qualities are shipped to various parts of the
Austrian Empire.

"We asked if the workmen lived in the mines, as was currently reported,
and were told they did not. 'They would not be allowed to do so, even
if they wished it,' said our guide. 'By the rules of the direction the
men are divided into gangs, working eight hours each, and all are
required to go to the surface when not on duty. In ancient times it was
doubtless the case that men lived here with their families. At one time
the mines were worked by prisoners, who did not see daylight for months
together, but nothing of the kind has occurred for more than a century
at least.'


"Several times in our walk we came upon little groups of men working in
the galleries; and certainly they were not to be envied. Sometimes they
were cutting with picks against perpendicular walls, and at others they
were lying flat on their backs, digging away at the roof not more than
a foot or two above their heads. The shaggy lamp-bearers--generally old
men unable to perform heavy work--stood close at hand, and the glare of
the light falling upon the flashing crystals of salt that flew in the
air, and covered the half-naked bodies of the perspiring workmen, made a
picture which I cannot adequately describe. I do not know that I ever
looked upon a spectacle more weird than this.


"We had expected to see the men in large gangs, but found that they were
nearly always divided into little groups. One would think they would
prefer any other kind of occupation than this, but our guide told us
that the laborers were perfectly free to leave at any time, just as
though they were in the employ of a private establishment. There were
plenty of men who would gladly fill their places, and frequently they
had applications for years in advance. As prices go in Austria, the pay
is very good, the men averaging from twenty to fifty cents a day. As far
as possible they are paid by the piece, and not by time--the same as in
the great majority of mines all over the world.


"But the horses which draw the cars on the subterranean railways are
not regarded with the same care as the men. They never return to the
light of day after once being lowered into the mine. In a few weeks
after arriving there a cataract covers their eyes and the sight
disappears. By some this result is attributed to the perpetual darkness,
and by others to the effect of the salt. It is probably due to the
former, as the workmen do not appear to suffer in the same way. Whether
they would become blind if continually kept there is not known, and it
is to be hoped that no cruel overseer will endeavor to ascertain by a
practical trial.

"Every time we came upon a group of workmen they paused in their labors
and begged for money. We had provided ourselves with an abundance of
copper coins before descending into the mine, and it was well we did so,
as they generally became clamorous until obtaining what they wanted.
Fortunately they were satisfied with a small coin, and did not annoy us
after once being paid.

"I cannot begin to give the names of all the halls, galleries, and
passages we went through, and if I did, it would be tedious. We wandered
up and down, down and up, forward and backward, until it seemed as if
there was no end to the journey. And to think we might have been there
three weeks without once repeating our steps! I will mention at random
some of the most interesting of the things we saw. To tell the whole
story and give a full description of this most wonderful salt-mine in
the world would require a volume.

"The chamber of Michelwic was the first of the large halls that we
entered, and was reached after a long journey through winding passages
and along foot-paths that sometimes overhung places where it was
impossible for the eye, aided only by the light of the lamps, to
ascertain the depth of the openings below. In some of the dangerous
places there was a rail to prevent one from falling over; but this was
not always the case, and you may be sure we kept on the safe side and
close to the wall.

[Illustration: A MINING SINGER.]

"In the hall we were treated to a song by one of the mining over-seers,
an old soldier who had lost an arm in some way that was not explained to
us. He had an excellent voice that ought to have secured him a good
place in the chorus of an opera troupe. He sang a mining song in quite a
melodramatic style; and as he did so the notes echoed and re-echoed
through the hall till it seemed they would never cease. In the centre of
the hall is a chandelier cut from the solid salt, and on grand occasions
this chandelier is lighted and a band of music is stationed at one end
of the vast space. Its effect is said to be something beyond
description, and, judging from the effect of the overseer's voice, I can
well believe it.

"From this hall we went through a series of chambers and galleries named
after the royal and imperial families of Poland and Austria, passing
chapels, shrines, altars, and other things indicating the religious
character of the people employed in the mines or controlling them,
together with many niches containing statues of kings, saints, and
martyrs, all hewn from the solid salt. Some of the statues are rudely
made, but the most of them are well designed and executed. In some of
the chapels worshippers were kneeling before the altars, and it was
difficult to realize that we were hundreds of feet below the surface of
the earth.

"By-and-by our guide said we were coming to the Infernal Lake. The
lamp-bearers held their lights high in the air, and we could see the
reflection from a sheet of water, but how great might be its extent was
impossible to guess. As we approached the edge of the water a boat
emerged from the gloom and came towards us. It was a sort of rope ferry,
and we immediately thought of the ferry-boat which the ancients believed
was employed to carry departed spirits across the river Styx. Certainly
the darkness all around was Stygian, and the men on the boat might have
been Charon's attendants.

"We passed down a few steps, entered the boat, and were pulled away from
shore. In less than a minute nothing but the little circle of water
around us was visible; the sides of the cavern echoed our voices and
every other sound that came from our boat. In the middle of the lake we
paused to observe the effect of the sound caused by the waves created by
the rocking of the boat. It reverberated through the cavern and away
into the galleries, and seemed as though it would last forever. When
this sensation was exhausted we moved on again. Doctor Bronson asked the
guide how far it was to the other end of the lake, but before the answer
was spoken we had a fresh surprise.

[Illustration: "GLÜCK-AUF!"]

"There was a flash of light from a point high above us, and almost at
the same instant another, a little distance ahead. The latter assumed
the form of an arch in red fire, displaying the greeting 'GLÜCK-AUF!' or
'GOOD-LUCK!' though this is not the literal translation. We passed under
this arch of red fire, and as we did so the words 'Glück-auf!
Glück-auf!' were shouted from all around, and at the same time flashes
of fire burst from a dozen places above the lake. We shouted
'Glück-auf!' in reply, and then the voices from the mysterious recesses
seemed to be quadrupled in number and volume. The air was filled with
flashes of light, and was everywhere resonant with the words of the
miners' welcome.

"At the other end of the lake there was a considerable party waiting to
receive us, and of course there was a liberal distribution of coin to
everybody. I ought to have said at the outset that we arranged to pay
for the illumination of the lake and also of certain specified halls,
in addition to the compensation of the guides. The illuminations are
entirely proportioned to the amount that the visitors are willing to
give for them. It is a good plan to unite with other visitors, and then
the individual cost will not be heavy. Twenty dollars will pay for a
very good illumination, and fifty dollars will secure something worthy
of a prince, though not a first-class one.


"They showed us next through more winding passages, and came at length
to the Grand Saloon of Entertainment; which is of immense extent, and
has no less than six large chandeliers hanging from the roof. It is
lighted on the occasion of the visit of a king or emperor (of course he
has to pay the bill), and the effect is said to be wonderful. There is
an alcove at one end, with a throne of green and ruby-colored salt,
whereon the emperor is seated. A blaze of light all through the hall is
reflected from the myriad crystals of salt which form the roof and
sides; the floor is strewn with sparkling salt; the columns are
decorated with evergreens; festoons of flags abound through the place;
and a band of music plays the airs appropriate to the hall and the

[Illustration: A RETIRED DIRECTOR.]

"The workmen and their families assemble in their holiday dress, and
when the music begins the whole party indulges in the Polish national
dance. It is a strange spectacle, this scene of revelry five hundred
feet below the surface of the earth, and probably among the sights that
do not come often before the Imperial eyes. These spectacles must be
arranged to order, and for weeks before an Imperial or Royal visit a
great many hands are engaged in making the necessary preparations. From
all I heard of these festivals, I would willingly travel many hundred
miles to see one of them.

"By means of the illuminating materials that we brought with us, we were
able to get an approximate idea of the character of one of these gala
spectacles. After our last Bengal-light had been burned, we continued
our journey, descending to the third story by many devious ways, and
finally halting in a chamber whose roof was not less than a hundred feet
above us.

"'Do you know where you are?' said our guide.

"Of course we answered that we did not.

"'Well,' said he, 'you are directly beneath the lake which we sailed
over in a boat a little while ago. If it should break through we should
all be drowned, dead.'

"We shuddered to think what might be our fate if the lake should spring
a leak. It did break out at one time and flooded many of the galleries,
and for a long while work in all the lower part of the mine was
suspended. There have been several fires, some of them causing the loss
of many lives; but, on the whole, considering the long time the mine has
been opened and the extent of the works, the accidents have been few.

"The deepest excavation in the mine is nearly seven hundred feet below
the level of the sea. We did not go there, in fact we did not go below
the third story, as we had seen quite enough for our purposes, and
besides we had only a limited time to stay in the mine. As we came up
again to daylight, hoisted in the same sort of chairs as those by which
we descended, we made a final inspection of the salt which comes from
the mine.

"'There are three kinds of salt,' said the guide. 'One that is called
green salt contains five or six per cent. of clay, and has no
transparency; it is cut into blocks and sent to Russia exactly as it
comes from the mine. The second quality is called _spiza_, and is
crystalline and mixed with sand; and the third is in large masses,
perfectly transparent, having no earthy matter mingled with it. The salt
is found in compact tertiary clays that contain a good many fossils; the
finest salt is at the lowest levels, and the poorest at the higher

"Well, here we are at the top of the shaft, tired and hungry, and
excited with the wonderful things we have seen. The visit to the
salt-mines of Wieliczka is something to be long remembered."

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the visit herein described, the manner of working the salt-mines
of Wieliczka has undergone a decided change. Owing to the influx of a
stream the lower levels of the mines were flooded, and for some time
remained full of water. In order to free them it was necessary to
introduce powerful pumping machinery of the latest designs, and also to
replace the old hoisting apparatus with new. Horse-power was abandoned
in favor of steam, both for hoisting and pumping; new precautions were
taken against fire; all improved systems of mine-working were tested,
and those which proved useful were adopted; and to-day the mines of
Wieliczka may be considered, in every respect, the foremost salt-mines
in the world.



[Illustration: OUTER WALL OF CRACOW.]

The sun was setting as our friends reached Cracow, on their return from
Wieliczka. The walls of the city were gilded by the rays of light that
streamed over the hills which formed the western horizon. In all its
features the scene was well calculated to impress the youthful
travellers. Frank wished to make a sketch of the gate-way through which
they passed on their entrance within the walls, but the hour was late
and delay inadvisable. The commissioner said he would bring them a
photograph of the spot, and with this consolation the young man
dismissed from his mind the idea of the sketch.

All retired early, as they intended taking the morning train for the
Russian frontier, and thence to Warsaw. They were up in good season, and
at the appointed time the train carried them out of the ancient capital
of Poland.


At Granitsa, the frontier station, they had a halt of nearly two hours.
Their passports were carefully examined by the Russian officials, while
their trunks underwent a vigorous overhauling. The passports proved to
be entirely in order, and there was no trouble with them. The officials
were particularly polite to the American trio, and said they were always
pleased to welcome Americans to the Empire. They were less courteous to
an Englishman who arrived by the same train, and the Doctor said it was
evident that the Crimean war had not been entirely forgotten. Several
passengers had neglected the precautions which our friends observed at
Vienna, in securing the proper indorsement to their passports, and were
told that they could not pass the frontier. They were compelled to wait
until the passports could be sent to Cracow for approval by the Russian
consul at that point, or else to Vienna. A commissioner attached to the
railway-station offered to attend to the matter for all who required his
aid; formerly it was necessary for the careless traveller to return in
person to the point designated, but of late years this has not been

"This passport business is an outrageous humbug," said the Englishman
with whom our friends had fallen into conversation while they were
waiting in the anteroom of the passport office. "Its object is to keep
improper persons out of Russia; but it does nothing of the kind. Any
Nihilist, Revolutionist, or other objectionable individual can always
obtain a passport under a fictitious name, and secure the necessary
approval of consuls or ambassadors. Ivan Carlovitch, for whom the police
are on the watch, comes here with a passport in the name of Joseph
Cassini, a native of Malta, and subject of Great Britain. His English
passport is obtained easily enough by a little false swearing; it is
approved by the Russian minister at Vienna, and the fellow enters Russia
with perfect ease. The honest traveller who has neglected the formality
through ignorance is detained, while the Revolutionist goes on his way
contented. The Revolutionist always knows the technicalities of the law,
and is careful to observe them; and it is safe to say that the passport
system never prevented any political offender from getting into Russia
when he wanted to go there.


"I have been in Russia before," he continued, "and know what I am
saying. The first time I went there was from Berlin, and on reaching the
frontier I was stopped because my passport was not properly indorsed. I
supposed I would have to go back to Berlin, but the station-master said
I need not take that trouble; I could stop at the hotel, and he would
arrange the whole matter, so that I might proceed exactly twenty-four
hours later. I did as he told me, and it was all right."

"How was it accomplished?"

"Why, he took my passport and a dozen others whose owners were in the
same fix as myself, and sent them by the conductor of the train to
Koenigsburg, where there is a Russian consul. For a fee of two English
shillings (fifty cents of your money) the consul approved each passport;
another fee of fifty cents paid the conductor for his trouble, and he
brought back the passports on his return run to the frontier. Then the
station-master wanted four shillings (one dollar) for his share of the
work, and we were all _en regle_ to enter the Russian Empire. We got our
baggage ready, and were at the station when the train arrived; the
station-master delivered our passports, and collected his fee along with
the fees of the conductor and consul, and that ended the whole business.
The consul knew nothing about any of the persons named in the passports,
and we might have been conspirators or anything else that was
objectionable, and nobody would have been the wiser. Russia is the only
country in Europe that keeps up the passport system with any severity,
and it only results in putting honest people to trouble and expense, and
never stops those whom it is intended to reach. There, they've opened
the door, and we can now go before the representatives of the autocrat
of all the Russias."


One by one they approached the desk, with the result already stated. At
the examination of the baggage in the custom-house the clothing and
personal effects of our friends were passed without question, but there
was some difficulty over a few books which the boys had bought before
leaving Vienna. One volume, pronounced objectionable, was seized as
contraband, but the others were not taken. Every book written by a
foreigner about Russia is carefully examined by the official censor as
soon as it is published, and upon his decision depends the question of
its circulation being allowed in the Empire. Anything calculated to
throw disrespect upon the Imperial family, or upon the Government in
general, is prohibited, as well as everything which can be considered to
have a revolutionary tendency.

"They are not so rigid as they used to be," growled the Englishman, as
he closed and locked his trunk after the examination was completed. "In
the time of the Emperor Nicholas they would not allow anything that
indicated there was any other government in the world which amounted to
anything, and they were particularly severe upon all kinds of
school-books. Now they rarely object to school-books, unless they
contain too many teachings of liberty; and they are getting over their
squeamishness about criticisms, even if they are abusive and untruthful.
The worst case I ever heard of was of an inspector at one of the
frontier stations, who seized a book on astronomy because it contained a
chapter on 'The Revolutions of the Earth.' He said nothing revolutionary
could be allowed to enter the Empire, and confiscated the volume in
spite of its owner's explanations.

"Under Nicholas," continued the Englishman, "Macaulay's 'History of
England' was prohibited, though it could be bought without much trouble.
After Alexander II. ascended the throne the rigors of the censorship
were greatly reduced, and papers and books were freely admitted into
Russia which were prohibited in France under Louis Napoleon. All the
Tauchnitz editions of English works were permitted, even including
Carlyle's 'French Revolution.' It is possible that the last-named book
had escaped notice, as you would hardly expect it to be allowed free
circulation in Russia. Books and newspapers addressed to the professors
of the universities, to officers above the rank of colonel, and to the
legations of foreign countries are not subjected to the censorship, or
at least they were not so examined a few years ago. Since the rise of
Nihilism the authorities have become more rigid again, and books and
papers are stopped which would not have been suppressed at all before
the death of Alexander II.

"If you want to know the exact functions of the censor," said the
gentleman, turning to Frank and Fred, "here is an extract from his

With these words he gave to one of the youths a printed slip which
stated that it was the censor's duty to prohibit and suppress "all works
written in a spirit hostile to the orthodox Greek Church, or containing
anything that is contrary to the truths of the Christian religion, or
subversive of good manners or morality; all publications tending to
assail the inviolability of autocratical monarchical power and the
fundamental laws of the Empire, or to diminish the respect due to the
Imperial family; all productions containing attacks on the honor or
reputation of any one, by improper expressions, by the publication of
circumstances relating to domestic life, or by calumny of any kind

The boys thanked the gentleman for the information he had given them on
a subject about which they were curious; and as the examination of the
custom-house was completed, they proceeded to the restaurant, which was
in a large hall at the end of the station.


Near the door of the restaurant was the office of a money-changer, its
character being indicated by signs in at least half a dozen languages.
Passengers were exchanging their Austrian money for Russian, and the
office seemed to be doing an active business.

"That fellow has about as good a trade as one could wish," said the
Englishman, as he nodded in the direction of the man at the little
window. "Two trains arrive here daily each way; for people going north
he changes Austrian into Russian money, and for those going south he
changes Russian into Austrian. He receives one per cent. commission on
each transaction, which amounts to four per cent. daily, as he handles
the money four times. I have often envied these frontier bankers, who
run no risk whatever, provided they are not swindled with counterfeits,
and can make twelve hundred per cent. annually on their capital. But
perhaps they have to pay so dearly for the privilege that they are
unable to get rich by their business. By-the-way," said he, changing the
subject abruptly, "did you observe the stout lady that stood near us in
the anteroom of the passport office?"


"Yes," answered the Doctor, "and she seemed quite uneasy, as though she
feared trouble."

"Doubtless she did," was the reply, "but it was not on account of her
passport. She was probably laden with goods which she intended smuggling
into Russia, and feared detection. I noticed that she was called aside
by the custom-house officials, and ushered into the room devoted to
suspected persons. She isn't here yet, and perhaps they'll keep her till
the train has gone. Ah! here she comes."

[Illustration: AFTER EXAMINATION.]

Frank and Fred looked in the direction indicated, but could not see any
stout lady; neither could the Doctor, but he thought he recognized a
face he had seen before. It belonged to a woman who was comparatively
slight in figure, and who took her seat very demurely at one of the
tables near the door.

"That is the stout lady of the anteroom," said the Englishman, "and her
form has been reduced more rapidly than any advocate of the Banting or
any other anti-fat system ever dreamed of. She was probably detected by
her uneasy manner, and consequently was subjected to an examination at
the hands of the female searchers. They've removed dry goods enough from
her to set up a small shop, and she won't undertake smuggling again in a
hurry. Import duties are high in Russia, and the temptation to smuggle
is great. She was an inexperienced smuggler, or she would not have been
caught so easily. Probably she is of some other nationality than
Russian, or they would not have liberated her after confiscating her
contraband goods."

The incident led to a conversation upon the Russian tariff system, which
is based upon the most emphatic ideas in favor of protection to home
industries. As it is no part of our intention to discuss the tariff in
this volume, we will omit what was said upon the subject, particularly
as no notes were taken by either Frank or Fred.

In due time the train on the Russian side of the station was ready to
receive the travellers, and they took their places in one of the
carriages. It needed only a glance to show they had crossed the
frontier. The Austrian uniform disappeared, and the Russian took its
place; the Russian language was spoken instead of German; the carriages
were lettered in Russian; posts painted in alternate stripes of white
and black (the invention of the Emperor Paul about the beginning of the
present century), denoted the sovereignty of the Czar; and the dress of
many of the passengers indicated a change of nationality.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE RAILWAY.]

The train rolled away from Granitsa in the direction of Warsaw, which
was the next point of destination of our friends. The country through
which they travelled was not particularly interesting; it was fairly
though not thickly settled, and contained no important towns on the line
of the railway, or any other object of especial interest. Their English
acquaintance said there were mines of coal, iron, and zinc in the
neighborhood of Zombkowitse, where the railway from Austria unites with
that from eastern Germany. It is about one hundred and eighty miles from
Warsaw; about forty miles farther on there was a town with an
unpronounceable name, with about ten thousand inhabitants, and a
convent, which is an object of pilgrimage to many pious Catholics of
Poland and Silesia. A hundred miles from Warsaw they passed Petrikau,
which was the seat of the ancient tribunals of Poland; and then, if the
truth must be told, they slept for the greater part of the way till the
train stopped at the station in the Praga suburb of Warsaw, on the
opposite bank of the Vistula.


As they neared the station they had a good view of Warsaw, on the
heights above the river, and commanded by a fortress which occupies the
centre of the city itself. Alighting from the train, they surrendered
their passports to an official, who said the documents would be returned
to them at the Hôtel de l'Europe, where they proposed to stop during
their sojourn within the gates of Warsaw. Tickets permitting them to go
into the city were given in exchange for the passports, and then they
entered a rickety omnibus and were driven to the hotel.

It was late in the afternoon when they climbed the sloping road leading
into Warsaw, and looked down upon the Vistula and the stretch of low
land on the Praga side. Fred repeated the lines of the old verse from
which we have already quoted, and observed how well the scene is
described in a single couplet:

  "Warsaw's last champion from her heights surveyed,
  Wide o'er the fields a waste of ruin laid."

Laid desolate by many wars and subjected to despotic rule, the country
around Warsaw bears little evidence of prosperity. Many houses are
without tenants, and many farms are either half tilled or wholly without
cultivation. The spirit of revolution springs eternal in the Polish
breast, and the spirit of suppression must be equally enduring in the
breast of the Russian. It is only by the severest measures that the
Russians can maintain their control of Poland. A Polish writer has well
described the situation when he says, "Under a cruel government, it is
Poland's duty to rebel against oppression; under a liberal government,
it is her duty to rebel because she has the opportunity."

After dinner at the hotel our friends started for a walk through the
principal streets; but they did not go very far. The streets were poorly
lighted, few people were about, and altogether the stroll was not
particularly interesting. They returned to the hotel, and devoted an
hour or so to a chat about Poland and her sad history.

"Walls are said to have ears," the Doctor remarked, "but we have little
cause to be disturbed about them, as we are only discussing among
ourselves the known facts of history. Poland and Russia were at war for
centuries, and at one time Poland had the best of the fight. How many of
those who sympathize so deeply with the wrongs of Poland are aware of
the fact that in 1610 the Poles held Moscow as the Russians now hold
Warsaw, and that the Russian Czar was taken prisoner, and died the next
year in a Polish prison? Moscow was burned by the Poles in 1611, and
thousands of its inhabitants were slaughtered; in 1612 the Poles were
driven out, and from that time to the present their wars with Russia
have not been successful."

"I didn't know that," said Frank, "until I read it to-day in one of our

"Nor did I," echoed Fred; "and probably not one person in a hundred is
aware of it."


"Understand," said the Doctor, with emphasis--"understand that I do not
say this to justify in any way the wrongs that Russia may have visited
on Poland, but simply to show that all the wrong has not been on one
side. Russia and Poland have been hostile to each other for centuries;
they are antagonistic in everything--language, religion, customs, and
national ambitions--and there could be no permanent peace between them
until one had completely absorbed the other. Twice in this century (in
1830 and 1863) the Poles have rebelled against Russia, because they had
the opportunity in consequence of the leniency of the Government. From
present appearances they are not likely to have the opportunity again
for a long time, if ever."

One of the youths asked how the revolution of 1830 was brought about.

[Illustration: PEASANT'S FARM-HOUSE.]

"Poland had been, as you know, divided at three different times, by
Russia, Austria, and Prussia," said the Doctor, "the third partition
taking place in 1795. At the great settlement among the Powers of
Europe, in 1815, after the end of the Napoleonic wars, the Emperor of
Russia proposed to form ancient Poland into a constitutional monarchy
under the Russian crown. His plan was adopted, with some modifications,
and from 1815 to 1830 the country had its national Diet or Parliament,
its national administration, and its national army of thirty thousand
men. The Russian Emperor was the King of Poland, and this the Poles
resented; they rebelled, and were defeated. After the defeat the
constitution was withdrawn and the national army abolished; the Polish
universities were closed, the Polish language was proscribed in the
public offices, and every attempt was made to Russianize the country. It
was harshly punished for its rebellion until Alexander II. ascended the

"Alexander tried to conciliate the people by granting concessions. The
schools and universities were reopened; the language was restored; Poles
were appointed to nearly all official positions; elective district and
municipal councils were formed, and also a Polish Council of State. But
nothing short of independence would satisfy the inhabitants, and then
came the revolution of 1863. It was suppressed, like its predecessor,
and from that time the Russians have maintained such an iron rule in
Poland that a revolt of any importance is next to impossible. All the
oppression of which Russia is capable cannot destroy the spirit of
independence among the Poles. They are as patriotic as the Irish, and
will continue to hope for liberty as long as their blood flows in human

A knock on the door brought the Doctor's discourse to an abrupt end. It
was made by the commissioner, who came to arrange for their excursion on
the following day.

We will see in due course where they went and what they saw. It is now
their bedtime, and they are retiring for the night.


The next morning they secured a carriage, and drove through the
principal streets and squares, visiting the Royal Palace and other
buildings of importance, and also the parks and gardens outside the city
limits. Concerning their excursion in Warsaw the youths made the
following notes:

"We went first to the Royal Castle, which we were not permitted to
enter, as it is occupied by the Viceroy of Poland, or 'the Emperor's
Lieutenant,' as he is more commonly called. It is a very old building,
which has been several times altered and restored. There were many
pictures and other objects of art in the castle until 1831, when they
were removed to St. Petersburg. In the square in front of the castle is
a statue of one of the kings of Poland, and we were told that the square
was the scene of some of the uprisings of the Poles against their
Russian masters.

[Illustration: SHRINE AT A GATEWAY.]

"From the castle we went to the cathedral, which was built in the
thirteenth century, and contains monuments to the memory of several of
the kings and other great men of the country. It is proper to say here
that the Catholic is the prevailing religion of Poland, and no doubt
much of the hatred of Russians and Poles for each other is in
consequence of their religious differences. By the latest figures of the
population that we have at hand, Russian Poland contains about 3,800,000
Catholics, 300,000 Protestants, 700,000 Jews, and 250,000 members of the
Greek Church and adherents of other religions, or a little more than
5,000,000 of inhabitants in all. Like all people who have been
oppressed, the Catholics and Jews are exceedingly devout, and adhere
unflinchingly to their religious faith. Churches and synagogues are
numerous in Warsaw, as in the other Polish cities. In our ride through
Warsaw we passed many shrines, and at nearly all of them the faithful
were kneeling to repeat the prayers prescribed by their religious

"From the cathedral we went to the citadel, which is on a hill in the
centre of the city, and was built after the revolution of 1830. The
expense of its construction was placed upon the people as a punishment
for the revolution, and for the purpose of bombarding the city in case
of another rebellion. From the walls of the citadel there is a fine view
of considerable extent; but there is nothing in the place of special
interest. The fort is constantly occupied by a garrison of Russian
soldiers. It contains a prison for political offenders and a military
court-house, where they are tried for their alleged offences.

[Illustration: LAKE IN THE PARK.]

"There are ten or twelve squares, or open places, in Warsaw, of which
the finest is said to be the Saxon Square. It contains a handsome
monument to the Poles who adhered to the Russian cause in the revolution
of 1830. Some writers say it was all a mistake, and that the Poles whose
memory is here preserved were really on their way to join the regiments
which had declared in favor of the insurrection.

"There are several handsome streets and avenues; and as for the public
palaces and fine residences which once belonged to noble families of
Poland, but are now mostly in Government hands, the list alone would be
long and tedious. One of the finest palaces is in the Lazienki Park, and
was built by King Stanislaus Poniatowski. It is the residence of the
Emperor of Russia when he comes to Warsaw; but as his visits are rare,
it is almost always accessible to travellers. We stopped a few minutes
in front of the statue of King John Sobieski. There is an anecdote about
this statue which the students of Russian and Polish history will
appreciate. During a visit in 1850 the Emperor Nicholas paused in front
of the statue, and remarked to those around him, 'The two kings of
Poland who committed the greatest errors were John Sobieski and myself,
for we both saved the Austrian monarchy.'

"Inside the palace there are many fine paintings and other works of art.
There are portraits of Polish kings and queens, and other rare pictures,
but not as many as in the Castle of Villanov, which we afterwards
visited. In the latter, which was the residence of John Sobieski, and
now belongs to Count Potocki, there are paintings by Rubens and other
celebrated masters, and there is a fine collection of armor, including
the suit which was presented to Sobieski by the Pope, after the former
had driven the Turks away from Vienna. It is beautifully inlaid with
ivory and mother-of-pearl, and covered with arabesques of astonishing
delicacy. We could have spent hours in studying it, and you may be sure
we left it with great reluctance.


"Warsaw has a population of nearly three hundred thousand, and there are
a good many factories for the manufacture of carriages, pianos, cloth,
carpets, and machines of various kinds. The city is the centre of a
large trade in grain, cattle, horses, and wool, and altogether it may be
considered prosperous. Much of the business is in the hands of the Jews,
who have managed to have and hold a great deal of wealth in spite of the
oppression they have undergone by both Poles and Russians.

"The women of Warsaw are famous for their beauty, and we are all agreed
that we have seen more pretty faces here than in any other city of
Europe in the same time. The Jews of Warsaw are nearly all blonds; the
men have red beards, and the hair of the women is of the shade that used
to be the fashion among American and English actresses, and is not yet
entirely forgotten. We bought some photographs in one of the shops, and
are sure they will be excellent adornments for our albums at home.

"In the evening we went to the opera in the hope of seeing the national
costumes of the Poles, but in this we were disappointed. The operas are
sung in Italian; the principal singers are French, Italian, English, or
any other nationality, like those of opera companies elsewhere, and only
the members of the chorus and ballet are Poles. Russian uniforms are in
the boxes and elsewhere in the house, and every officer is required to
wear his sword, and be ready at any moment to be summoned to fight. The
men not in uniform are in evening dress, and the ladies are like those
of an audience in Vienna or Naples, so far as their dress is concerned.
The opera closed at half-past eleven; our guide met us outside the door,
and when we proposed a stroll he said we must be at the hotel by
midnight, under penalty of being arrested. Any one out-of-doors between
midnight and daylight will be taken in by the police and locked up,
unless he has a pass from the authorities. In troubled times the city is
declared in a state of siege, and then everybody on the streets after
dusk must carry a lantern.

"As we had no fancy for passing the night in a Russian station-house, we
returned straight to the hotel. Probably we would have been there by
midnight in any event, as we were tired enough to make a long walk

The next day our friends visited some of the battle-fields near Warsaw,
and on the third took the train for St. Petersburg, six hundred and
twenty-five miles away. There was little of interest along the line of
railway, as the country is almost entirely a plain, and one mile is so
much like another that the difference is scarcely perceptible. The
principal towns or cities through which they passed were Bialystok and
Grodno, the latter famous for having been the residence of several
Polish kings, and containing the royal castle where they lived. At
Wilna, four hundred and forty-one miles from St. Petersburg, the railway
unites with that from Berlin. The change of train and transfer of
baggage detained the party half an hour or more, but not long enough to
allow them to inspect this ancient capital of the independent duchy of
Lithuania. At Pskof they had another halt, but only sufficient for
patronizing the restaurant. The town is two miles from the station, and
contains an old castle and several other buildings of note; it has a
prominent place in Poland's war history, but is not often visited by

[Illustration: IN ST. PETERSBURG.]

At Gatchina, famous for its trout and containing an Imperial palace, an
official collected the passports of the travellers, which were
afterwards returned to them on arriving at the St. Petersburg station.
As they approached the Imperial city the first object to catch the eye
was a great ball of gold outlined against the sky. Frank said it must be
the dome of St. Isaac's Church, and the Doctor nodded assent to the
suggestion. The dome of St. Isaac's is to the capital of Russia what the
dome of St. Peter's is to Rome--the first object on which the gaze of
the approaching traveller is fixed.



A commissioner from the Hôtel de l'Europe was at the station. Doctor
Bronson gave him the receipts for their trunks, and after securing their
passports, which had been examined on the train during the ride from
Gatchina, the party entered a carriage and rode to the hotel. Frank and
Fred were impatient to try a drosky, and wondered why the Doctor had not
secured one of the vehicles characteristic of the country.

"You'll have abundant opportunities for drosky-riding," said Doctor
Bronson, in reply to Fred's query on the subject. "For the present the
vehicle is not suited to our purposes, as we have our hand-baggage and
other trifles; besides, we are three individuals, while the drosky is
only large enough for two."

The youths confirmed with their eyes the correctness of the Doctor's
assertion as the little vehicles were whizzing around them in every
direction. The drosky is a stout carriage on low wheels, somewhat
resembling the victoria of Western Europe, and is drawn by a single
horse. The isvoshchik, or driver, is seated on a high box in front, and
somehow he manages to get an astonishing speed out of the shaggy animal
that forms his team. Frank afterwards wrote as follows concerning
droskies and isvoshchiks:

"It is astonishing to contemplate the swarm of droskies with which St.
Petersburg and every other Russian city abounds. They are to be found
everywhere and at all hours. No matter where you may be, or at what hour
of the day or night, you have only to call out 'Isvoshchik!' or
'Drosky!' and one of the little carriages appears as if by magic. Not
only one, but half a dozen will be pretty sure to come forward. The
drivers contend, and not always very politely, for the honor of your
patronage; but as soon as you have made your selection the rejected
ones drop away and leave you undisturbed.


"There is something interesting in the manner of the isvoshchik,
especially in the marked contrast before and after he has made a bargain
with you. Until the transaction is closed, he is as independent as the
hackman of New York or the cabby of London. The moment the bargain is
settled and he has accepted your offer, he is your willing slave. Offer
him forty copecks an hour, and he refuses, while demanding fifty or
sixty; you walk on, and he pretends to go away, and if your offer is
unreasonably low he will not trouble you again. Suddenly he reins up his
horse close to the sidewalk, springs from his seat, and with the word
'_Poshowltz_' ('If you please') he motions you to enter the carriage. He
is now at your service, and will drive just as you desire; your
slightest wish will be his law.

[Illustration: DROSKY DRIVERS.]

"Doctor Bronson told us we must learn how to count in Russian, and also
acquire a few phrases in common use; the more of them we could learn the
better. While on the train from Warsaw to St. Petersburg we learned to
count. I think we did it in about two hours, as it was really very
simple after we had gone through the numerals up to ten and fixed them
in mind. Perhaps you would like to know how it is done; well, here it

"The numerals from one to twelve are o-_deen_, dva, tree, che-_tee_-ri,
pyat, shayst, sem, vocem, _de_-vee-at, _de_-ci-at, odeen-nat-zat,
dva-nat-zat. For thirteen, fourteen, and so on, you add 'nat-zat' to the
single numerals till you get to twenty, which is 'dva-deciat,' or two
tens. Twenty-one is 'dva-deciat-odeen,' or two tens and one, and so on.
You go up to thirty, which is 'tree-deciat,' or three tens, but
generally shortened in pronunciation to 'treetsat' or 'tritsat.' All the
other tens up to ninety are formed in the same way, with the exception
of forty, which is 'sorok.' Ninety is 'deviat-na-sto' ('ten taken from
hundred'), and one hundred is 'sto;' two hundred is 'dva-sto.' The
other hundreds are formed in the same way to five hundred, which is
'pyat sot;' six hundred is 'shayst sot,' and the other hundreds go on
the same way; one thousand is 'tis-syat-_sha_.' You can now go ahead
with tens and hundreds of thousands up to a million, which is
'meel-yon'--very much like our own word for the same number.

"It helps us greatly in getting around among the people without a guide.
We can bargain with the drivers, make purchases in the shops, and do
lots and lots of things which we could not if we didn't know how to
count. Any boy or man who comes to Russia should learn to count while he
is riding from the frontier to St. Petersburg, and if he takes our
advice he will do so. He can find it all in Murray's or any other good
guide-book, and he will also find there the most useful phrases for
travelling purposes.

"In driving with the isvoshchiks, we have found them very obliging, and
both Fred and I have been many times surprised at their intelligence
when we remembered that very few of them were able to read or write
their own language. When they find we are foreigners, and do not speak
Russian, they do not jabber away like French or German drivers, or
London cabbies, but confine themselves to a very few words. Take one we
had to-day, for example: as he drove along he called our attention to
the churches and other public buildings that we passed by, pronouncing
the name of the building and nothing more. In this way we understood
him; but if he had involved the name with a dozen or twenty other words
we should have been in a perfect fog about it.


"In winter the drosky makes way for the sledge, which is the tiniest
vehicle of the kind you can imagine. Two persons can crowd into a
sledge, though there is really room for only one. Whether you are one or
two, you sit with your face within ten or twelve inches of the driver's
back, which forms almost the entire feature of your landscape. The
sledges in winter are even more numerous than are the droskies in
summer, as many persons ride then who do not do so when the weather is

"Everybody rides in a Russian city in winter--at least everybody who
claims to have much respect for himself; and in fact riding is so cheap
that it must be a very shallow purse that cannot afford it. For a drive
of a mile or less you pay eight or ten copecks (ten copecks equal eight
cents), and you can ride a couple of miles for fifteen copecks, and
sometimes for ten. By the hour you pay forty or fifty copecks; and if
you make a bargain you can have the vehicle all to yourself a whole day
for a dollar and a half, and sometimes less. They go very fast; and if
your time is limited, and you want to see a good deal in a little
while, it is the best kind of economy to hire an isvoshchik to take you

We left our friends on the way to the hotel when we wandered off to hear
what Frank had to say about the droskies and their drivers. The ride
along the streets was full of interest to the youths, to whom it was all
new; but it was less so to Doctor Bronson, who had been in St.
Petersburg before. They drove up the Vosnesenski Prospect, a broad
avenue which carried them past the Church of the Holy Trinity, one of
the interesting churches out of the many in the city, and then by a
cross street passed into the Nevski Prospect, which may be called the
Broadway of the Russian capital. We shall hear more of the Nevski
Prospect later on.

At the hotel they surrendered their passports to the clerk as soon as
they had selected their rooms; the Doctor told the youths they would not
again see those important documents until they had settled their bill
and prepared to leave. Frank and Fred were surprised at this
announcement, and the Doctor explained:

"The passports must go at once to the Central Bureau of the Police, and
we shall be registered as stopping in this hotel. When the register has
been made the passports will be returned to the hotel and locked up in
the manager's safe, according to the custom of the country."

"Why doesn't he give them back to us instead of locking them in the
safe?" one of the youths inquired.

"It has long been the custom for the house-owner to keep the passport of
any one lodging with him, as he is in a certain sense responsible for
his conduct. Besides, it enables him to be sure that nobody leaves
without paying his bill, for the simple reason that he can't get away.
When we are ready to go we must give a few hours' notice; the passports
will be sent to the police-office again, with a statement as to our
destination; after we have paid our bills and are ready to go, the
passports will be handed to us along with the receipt for our money."

"That makes hotel-keeping a great deal more certain than it is in
American cities, does it not?" said Fred.

"And you never hear in Russia of a man running away from a hotel where
he has contracted a large bill, and leaving nothing but a trunk filled
with straw and stove-wood as security, do you?" Frank inquired.

"Such a thing is unknown," the Doctor answered. "I once told some
Russian acquaintances about the way hotel-keepers were defrauded in
America by unprincipled persons. One of them exclaimed, 'What a happy
country! and how cheaply a man could live there, with no police officers
to stop his enterprise!'"

"When you go from one city to another," said the Doctor, "the formality
to be observed is slight, and the hotel people will attend to it for you
without charge. When you are going to leave Russia, a few days' notice
must be given at the police-office; and if any creditors have filed
their claims against you with the police, you must settle them before
you can have your passport. If any one owes you money, and you have
reason to believe he intends leaving the country, you can stop him or
get your money by leaving your account with the police for collection.
Absconding debtors are nearly as rare in Russia as absconding
hotel-patrons, for the simple reason that the law restricts their
movements. In spite of what our English friend said of the passport
system, there are some excellent features about it. Another thing is--"

They were interrupted by a servant, who came to ask if there were any
friends in St. Petersburg whom they wished to find. The commissioner was
going to the Police Bureau with the passports, and would make any
inquiries they desired.

The Doctor answered in the negative, and the servant went away.

"That is what I was about to mention," said Doctor Bronson, as soon as
the door was closed. "The first time I came to St. Petersburg I was
riding along the Nevski Prospect, and saw an old acquaintance going in
the other direction. He did not see me, and before I could turn to
follow him he was lost in the crowd of vehicles. But in two hours I
found him, and we had a delightful afternoon together. How do you
suppose I did it?

"Why, I sent to the Police Bureau, paid two cents, and obtained a
memorandum of his address. For a fee of two cents you can get the
address of any one you name, and for two cents each any number of
addresses. In numerous instances I found it a great convenience, and so
have other travellers. If you wanted to find a friend in New York or
London, and didn't know his address, you would have a nice time about
it; but in Moscow or St. Petersburg there would be no trouble whatever."

As soon as they had removed the dust of the journey our friends went out
for a stroll before dinner. The Hôtel de l'Europe is on the corner of
the Nevski Prospect and one of the smaller streets, and only a short
distance from the _Kazanski Sobor_, or Church of Kazan. But before they
enter this celebrated edifice we will look with them at the grand
avenue, the Nevski Prospect.

"It is straight as a sunbeam for three miles," said Fred in his
note-book, "with the Admiralty Buildings at one end, and the Church of
St. Alexander Nevski at the other, though the latter is a little way
from the line. It is perfectly level from end to end, like a street of
New Orleans or Sacramento. St. Petersburg is built on a marsh, and
through its whole extent there isn't a hill other than an artificial
one. It is a broad avenue (one hundred and thirty feet in width),
reminding us of the boulevards of Paris, and the crowd of vehicles
coming and going at all hours of the day and far into the night makes
the scene a picturesque one.


"All classes and kinds of Russians are to be seen here, from the mujik,
with his rough coat of sheepskin, up to the officer of the army, whose
breast is covered with decorations by the dozen or even more. The
vehicles are of many kinds, the drosky being the most frequent, and
there is hardly one of them without the _duga_, or yoke, over the horse
between the shafts. The horses are driven furiously, but they are
completely under the control of their drivers, and accidents are said
to be very rare. Perhaps this is owing to the fact that a driver is
liable to severe punishment if he causes any injury to a pedestrian.


"Somebody has remarked that the Nevski Prospect ought to be called
Toleration Avenue, for the reason that it contains churches of so many
different faiths. There are of course the Russo-Greek churches,
representing the religion of the country, and there are Catholic,
Lutheran, Dutch, and Armenian churches, standing peacefully in the same
line. It is a pity that the adherents of these diverse religions do not
always agree as well as do the inanimate edifices that represent them.

"The buildings are very substantial in appearance, and many of them are
literally palaces. The military headquarters are on the Nevski, and so
is the palace of one of the grand-dukes; then there are several palaces
belonging to noble families. There is the Institution of St. Catherine,
and the Gostinna Dvor, or Great Market-place, with ten thousand
merchants, more or less, transacting business there. We'll go there to
make some purchases and tell you about it; at present we will cross the
Nevski to the Church of Kazan.

"It reminds us of the Church of St. Peter at Rome, as it has a colonnade
in imitation of the one which attracts the eye of every visitor to the
Eternal City, and takes its name from "Our Lady of Kazan," to whom it is
dedicated. Kazan was once a Tartar city, and the capital of the Tartar
kingdom of the same name. It was fortified, and stoutly defended, and
gave the Russians a great deal of trouble. In the sixteenth century John
the Terrible conquered the kingdom and annexed it to Russia. The last
act in the war was the capture of the city of Kazan. The Russians were
several times repulsed, but finally the Kremlin was carried, and the
Tartar power came to an end. A picture of the Virgin was carried in
front of the attacking column, and this picture, all devout Russians
believe, gave the victory over the Moslem. The church was built in
memory of the event, and the sacred picture from Kazan is preserved and
worshipped here.

"It is a beautiful church, in the form of a cross, two hundred and
thirty-eight feet long and one hundred and eighty-two feet wide. From
the ground to the top of the cross above the cupola is more than two
hundred and thirty feet, and the cupola is so large that it is visible
from a long distance. As we entered the church we were struck by the
absence of seats. We were told by the Doctor that Russian churches
contain no seats, and all worshippers must stand or kneel while at their
devotions. To this there are no exceptions; the same requirement being
made of the Emperor as of the most obscure peasant.

"There is no instrumental music in the Greek Church, and church choirs
composed of male and female voices are unknown here. All the singers in
the churches are men; the prayers are mostly intoned, and all the
congregation joins in the responses. There are no pews, or reserved
places of any kind, except a standing-place for the Emperor, all
worshippers being considered equal; neither are there any fees to be
paid by those who come to worship.

"The picture of Our Lady of Kazan, which has such a miraculous legend
connected with it, is richly covered with precious stones, said to be
worth nearly a hundred thousand dollars. There are other costly pictures
in the church, but none to equal this one. There are a good many flags,
and other trophies of war, along the walls and around the pillars; and,
to tell the truth, it has almost as much the appearance of a military
museum as of a cathedral. There are the keys of Hamburg, Leipsic, and
other cities which at various times have been captured by Russia, and
the church contains the tombs of several Russian generals who were
killed in the war with France in 1812.

[Illustration: A RUSSIAN PRIEST.]

"We observed a curious effect in the pictures in this church which we
found afterwards in a great many holy pictures in Russia. The hands and
face, and any other flesh, are painted on a flat surface, but the dress
and ornaments are often raised in gold, silver, or other metal, and
studded with precious stones, according to the will or financial ability
of the owner. The Church rejects all massive images of the Saviour or
saints as idolatrous, and says they violate the commandment "Thou shalt
not make unto thyself any graven image." It does not exclude mosaics,
and anything produced in low relief, but the rule that flesh shall be
represented by a flat surface is imperative.

"We afterwards attended service in the Kazan church, and were impressed
with its solemnity and simplicity. The vocal music had an admirable
effect as it resounded through the vast building, and we have never
anywhere seen a congregation more devout than this. Nearly every one
held a candle, and carefully guarded the flame from the draughts that
occasionally swept over the congregation. Illuminations have a very
important place in all church ceremonies, and there are no weddings,
betrothals, funerals, or any other sacred services, without candles or

"Lights are kept burning in front of the principal pictures in the
churches. Throughout the Empire there is an _Eikon_, or sacred picture,
in the principal room of every house whose owner is an adherent of the
Church of the country, and often in every room of consequence. On
entering a room where there is such a picture, every devout Russian
crosses himself; and so great is the respect shown to it, that when
Russian thieves enter a room for the purpose of stealing, they spread a
handkerchief over the picture so that the saint who is represented upon
it cannot see them.

"Religion has a more important part in the practical life of the
Russians than in that of any other people of Europe. The blessing of the
Church is invoked upon every undertaking. Steamboats, ships, and all
other craft are blessed by the priest at their launching or before being
put into service; the locomotives and carriages of a railway are
similarly treated; and the same may be said of every vehicle, machine,
or other thing of consequence. So with cattle, horses, sheep, and other
live-stock; and so, also, with the furniture and adornments of the

"In the theatres the Government does not allow the representation of any
kind of religious ceremonial as part of a performance, lest it might
bring religion into ridicule, and under no circumstances can an actor be
dressed to personate a priest. The Czar, or Emperor, is the recognized
head of the Church, and among the common people he is regarded as only a
little less than a divinity.

"Those who have lived long among the Russians, and ought to know them,
say the venerative feeling among the common people is very great, and
more so among the higher classes than in the Latin countries of Europe.
They are devout church-goers, and the feasts and fasts of the Church are
carefully observed. They form a serious drawback to business matters, as
there are certain days when no man or woman can be induced to work at
any price. The owners of establishments which require to be kept
constantly in operation manage to get around this custom by keeping
their employés constantly in debt, as the Russian law and custom compel
a man to work steadily to discharge such indebtedness.

"Pilgrimages to monasteries and shrines are more common among the
Russians than any other Christian people, and the poorer classes often
go on long and painful journeys through their religious zeal. A large
number of Russian pilgrims can be found in Jerusalem every year at
Easter, as well as at other times. So important is this pilgrimage that
the Russian Government maintains a convent at Jerusalem for lodging its
subjects; and the Crimean war practically grew out of a quarrel which
was brought about with reference to the holy places of the famous city.


"Great numbers of pilgrims go every year from all parts of Russia to the
Convent of Solovetsk in the Frozen Sea, seven or eight hundred miles to
the north-east of the capital.

"We may have more to say on religious matters before leaving Russia, but
for the present we will drop the subject and continue our walk on the

As they strolled in the direction of the Neva, the river that gives its
name to the long avenue, Fred asked how it happened that St. Petersburg
was built on a marsh instead of upon elevated ground.

"It was because Peter the Great wanted a capital city that could be a
seaport, and this was the best site that could be found. Moscow was
inland (it is four hundred miles from here to that city), and Peter
realized that no country could be great and important without
communication over the sea to other lands. So he came here and founded
the city which bears his name. It was a forbidding place, but his will
was law, and the city grew and lived though a hundred thousand men
perished in the first year of its construction. The first house was
built in 1703. In 1712 Peter declared it his capital, and the Imperial
court was moved here from Moscow. For a long time the place was very
unhealthy, and even down to the present day it is not by any means the
best location in the world for a city. The drainage is defective, the
drinking-water is not good, especially in the summer season, and the
city has several times suffered from inundations.

"For many years every vessel coming to the port, and every cart entering
the city, was required to bring a certain number of stones for filling
the marsh and paving the streets. Where the large buildings stand,
fabulous amounts have been expended in making foundations, and many of
them have cost more than the buildings that stand upon them. The
foundations of the Church of St. Isaac are said to have cost four
millions of dollars, and twenty-five years were spent in their

Frank asked about the inundations mentioned by the Doctor.

"There have been some eight or ten of them," the Doctor answered. "The
most serious inundation of this century was in 1824, when the water of
the Neva rose thirteen feet and four inches above its ordinary level.
Observe that line," said he, as he pointed to a mark upon a building:
"that is the point to which the waters rose in the inundation of 1824."

[Illustration: THE INUNDATION OF 1824.]

The mark was nearly four feet above the level of the sidewalk where they
stood. Frank and Fred regarded it with astonishment, while the Doctor

"In a single night (November 17th) property to the value of twenty
millions of dollars was destroyed, and it was estimated that not less
than eight thousand people lost their lives. The flood was caused by a
strong westerly wind which combined with the tide and forced the waters
in from the Gulf of Finland, which is here formed like a funnel. Now
suppose the flood had occurred in April, at the time when Lake Ladoga
breaks up and pours its accumulated ice and water through the Neva, what
would have been the result?"

"Would the city have been destroyed?" queried one of the youths.

"So it is said, by many who have studied its position. They aver that
when a high tide, a westerly wind, and the breaking up of the ice in
Lake Ladoga shall all come together, the streets of St. Petersburg will
be not less than twenty feet under water, and Russia will be obliged to
select another site for her capital. But as it is not likely that all
these things will happen during our visit, we won't borrow any trouble
about the matter."

"I have read," said Fred, "that in that inundation the prisoners in the
fort were drowned in their cells. The lower part of the fort was
flooded, was it not?"

"Yes," the Doctor answered; "but so many romances have been written on
the subject that it is difficult to get at the exact truth. It is very
likely that the prisoners in the lower cells of the fort were drowned,
and I believe the authorities admit that such was the case. In the Paris
Exhibition of 1867 there was a startling picture representing the death
of a Russian princess who was imprisoned there at the time. She is
represented standing on her little bed surrounded by rats that have been
driven from their holes by the flood. The water is nearly up to the
level of the bed, and is pouring in at the grated window. The picture
haunted me for years after I saw it, and even now it occasionally comes
up in my dreams. I haven't thought of it for some time, but this
question of yours has revived it."


They continued their walk towards the Neva, with an occasional glance at
the needle-like spire that rises above the Admiralty buildings. They
came out into Admiralty Square, a large open space, which gave them a
view of the Admiralty buildings, the Church of St. Isaac, the equestrian
statue of Peter the Great, and the Winter Palace, together with one of
the bridges spanning the Neva to the islands opposite.

"Which shall we see first?" queried the Doctor of his young companions.

"Whichever you think best," answered Frank, to which Fred nodded

"Our time just now is limited," said the Doctor, "and perhaps we will
satisfy ourselves with the statue of Peter the Great. But as we walk
about we must not fail to take in the general view, which is of unusual

The statue is well known through its frequent representation in
engravings, and is one of the most remarkable monuments of the Imperial
city. It was ordered by the Empress Catherine, and was cast by Falconet,
a Frenchman. The inscription upon it reads--


(_To Peter I.--By Catherine II._, MDCCLXXXII.)

Evidently Catherine had a sufficient idea of her consequence, as the
letters which make her name are considerably larger than those of her
illustrious sire's.

"The horse," said Fred, in his note-book, "is on the brink of a
precipice, where he is being reined in by his rider. Peter's face is
towards the Neva, while his right hand is directed to the city which he
built. Under the horse's feet is a serpent, which typifies the
difficulties the Czar has overcome. The horse is balanced on his hind
legs and tail, his forefeet being clear from the rock. It is said that
the weight of the statue is about ten thousand pounds.

"The statue stands on a block of granite that originally weighed fifteen
hundred tons, and was brought from Finland. The block is fourteen feet
high, twenty feet broad, and forty-three feet long. It consists of two
pieces that have been carefully joined together, and the operation of
moving it was a triumph of engineering skill.

"I have read a good story apropos of this monument--about two boys who
belonged to an English ship that was lying at the quay beyond the
statue. They had wandered off into the city and lost their way, and in
order to get back they engaged a carriage. But after engaging it they
were in trouble, as they could not tell the driver where to go.

"Two sailors from the same ship happened along, and to them the boys
told the story of their perplexity. The sailors were in the same
predicament, as they wanted to get back to the ship, and didn't know
which way to go.


"'If we only knew what the Russian is for that statue,' said one of the
boys, 'we could make him understand.'

"They tried all the words they knew, but to no purpose. Suddenly an idea
occurred to one of the sailors. He asked the other to get down on
all-fours, which he did, wondering what was the matter with his comrade.
Jack mounted his friend's back as though he were a steed, and took the
attitude of Peter the Great as nearly as he could remember it. The other
sailor caught at the idea, and reared slightly on his feet in the
position of Peter's horse. The isvoshchiks comprehended what was wanted,
and roared with delight; the two sailors jumped into a drosky, which
followed the carriage containing the boys, and in due time the party
arrived safely at its destination."



Instead of returning to the hotel for dinner, our friends went to a
_traktir_, or Russian restaurant, in a little street running out of
Admiralty Square. The youths were anxious to try the national dishes of
the country, and consequently they accepted with pleasure Doctor
Bronson's suggestion relative to their dining-place.

"The finest and most characteristic restaurants of Russia are in Moscow
rather than in St. Petersburg," said the Doctor, as he led the way to
the establishment they had decided to patronize. "St. Petersburg has a
great many French and German features that you do not find in Moscow,
and when we get to the latter city we must not fail to go to the
'Moskovski Traktir,' which is one of the most celebrated feeding-places
of the old capital. There the waiters are clad in silk shirts, or
frocks, extending nearly to the knee, over loose trousers of the same
material. At the establishment where we are now going the dress is that
of the ordinary French restaurant, and we shall have no difficulty in
finding some one who speaks either French or German."

They found the lower room of the restaurant filled with men solacing
themselves with tea, which they drank from glasses filled and refilled
from pots standing before them. On each table was a steaming _samovar_
to supply boiling water to the teapots as fast as they were emptied. The
boys had seen the _samovar_ at railway-stations and other places since
their entrance into the Empire, but had not thus far enjoyed the
opportunity of examining it.


"We will have a _samovar_ to ourselves," said the Doctor, as they
mounted the stairs to an upper room, "and then you can study it as
closely as you like."

The Russian bill of fare was too much for the reading abilities of any
one of the trio. The Doctor could spell out some of the words, but
found they would get along better by appealing to one of the waiters.
Under his guidance they succeeded very well, as we learn from Frank's
account of the dinner.

"Doctor Bronson told us that cabbage soup was the national dish of the
country, and so we ordered it, under the mysterious name of _tschee e
karsha_. The cabbage is chopped, and then boiled till it falls into
shreds; a piece of meat is cooked with it; the soup is seasoned with
pepper and salt; and altogether the _tschee_ (soup) is decidedly
palatable. _Karsha_, is barley thoroughly boiled, and then dried over
the fire until the grains fall apart. A saucerful of this cooked barley
is supplied to you along with the soup, and you eat them together. You
may mingle the _karsha_ with the _tschee_ as you would mix rice with
milk, but the orthodox way of eating is to take a small quantity of the
_karsha_ into your spoon each time before dipping it into the soup. A
substantial meal can be made of these articles alone, and there are
millions of the subjects of his Imperial Majesty the Czar who dine
to-day and many other days in the year on nothing else. The Emperor eats
_tschee_, and so does the peasant--probably the Emperor has it less
often in the year than does his poor subject; but the soup is of the
same kind, except that very often the peasant cannot afford the
important addition of meat."


"Don't forget," Fred interposed, when the foregoing description was read
to him--"don't forget to say that they served us a little cup or mug of
sour cream along with the _tschee_."

"Yes, that's so," responded Frank; "but I didn't like it particularly,
and therefore came near forgetting it. We remember best the things that
please us."

"Then perhaps you didn't like the _zakushka_, or appetizer, before
dinner," said the Doctor, "as I see you haven't mentioned it."

"I hadn't forgotten it," said the youth, "but was going to say something
about it at the end. You know the preface of a book is always written
after the rest of the volume has been completed, but as you've called
attention to it, I'll dispose of it now. Here it is:

"There was a side-table, on which were several plates containing
relishes of different kinds, such as caviare, raw herring, dried beef,
smoked salmon cut in little strips or squares, radishes, cheese,
butter, and tiny sandwiches about the size of a half-dollar. A glass of
cordial, of which several kinds were offered, goes with the _zakushka_
for those who like it; the cordial and a few morsels of the solid things
are supposed to sharpen the appetite and prepare it for the dinner which
is to be eaten at the table.

[Illustration: AN OUT-DOOR TEA-PARTY.]

"The _zakushka_ is inseparable from a dinner in Russia, and belongs to
it just as much as do any of the dishes that are served after the seats
are taken. While we were standing around the side-table where it was
served at our first dinner in St. Petersburg, Doctor Bronson told us a
story that is too good to be lost. I'll try to give it in his words:

"There was once a Russian soldier who had a phenomenal appetite; he
could eat an incredible quantity of food at a sitting, and the officers
of his regiment used to make wagers with strangers about his feeding
abilities. They generally won; and as the soldier always received a
present when he had gained a bet, he exerted himself to the best of his

"One day the colonel made a wager for a large amount that his man could
eat an entire sheep at a sitting. The sheep was selected, slaughtered,
and sent to a restaurant, and at the appointed time the colonel appeared
with the soldier. In order to help the man along, the keeper of the
restaurant had cooked the different parts of the sheep in various ways;
there were broiled and fried cutlets, roasted and boiled quarters, and
some stews and hashes made from the rest. Dish after dish disappeared.
When almost the entire sheep had been devoured, the soldier turned to
the colonel and said,

"'If you give me so much _zakushka_ I'm afraid I sha'n't be able to eat
all of the sheep when they bring it.'"

"But to return to soups. In addition to _tschee_, the Russians have
_ukha_, or fish soup, made of any kind of fish that is in season. The
most expensive is made from sterlet, a fish that is found only in the
Volga, and sometimes sells for its weight in silver. We tried it one
day, and liked it very much, but it costs too much for frequent eating
except by the wealthy. A very good fish soup is made from trout, and
another from perch.

"After the soup we had a _pirog_, or pie made of the spinal cord of the
sturgeon cut into little pieces about half as large as a pea. It
resembles isinglass in appearance and is very toothsome. The pie is
baked in a deep dish, with two crusts, an upper and an under one. Doctor
Bronson says the Russians make all kinds of fish into pies and patties,
very much as we make meat pies at home. They sometimes put raisins in
these pies--a practice which seems very incongruous to Americans and
English. They also make _solianka_, a dish composed of fish and cabbage,
and not at all bad when one is hungry; red or black pepper liberally
applied is an improvement.

"What do you think of _okroshka_--a soup made of cold beer, with pieces
of meat, cucumber, and red herrings floating in it along with bits of
ice to keep it cool? Don't want any. Neither do we; but the Russians of
the lower classes like it, and I have heard Russian gentlemen praise it.
Many of them are fond of _batvenia_, which is a cold soup made in much
the same way as _okroshka_, and about as unpalatable to us. We ordered a
portion of _okroshka_ just to see how it looked and tasted. One
teaspoonful was enough for each of us, and _batvenia_ we didn't try.

"After the _pirog_ we had cutlets of chicken, and then roast mutton
stuffed with buckwheat, both of them very good. They offered us some
boiled pig served cold, with horseradish sauce, but we didn't try it;
and then they brought roast grouse, with salted cucumbers for salad. We
wound up with Nesselrode pudding, made of plum-pudding and ices, and not
unknown in other countries. Then we had the _samovar_, which had been
made ready for us, and drank some delicious tea which we prepared
ourselves. Now for the _samovar_.


"Its name comes from two words which mean 'self-boiling;' and the
_samovar_ is nothing but an urn of brass or copper, with a cylinder in
the centre, where a fire is made with charcoal. The water surrounds the
cylinder, and is thus kept at the boiling-point, which the Russians
claim is indispensable to the making of good tea. The beverage is drank
not from cups, but from glasses, and the number of glasses it will
contain is the measure of a _samovar_. The Russians rarely put milk with
their tea; the common people never do so, and the upper classes only
when they have acquired the habit while abroad. They rarely dissolve
sugar in their tea, but nibble from a lump after taking a swallow of the
liquid. A peasant will make a single lump serve for four or five glasses
of tea, and it is said to be an odd sensation for a stranger to hear the
nibbling and grating of lumps of sugar when a party of Russians is
engaged in tea-drinking.

"We sat late over the _samovar_, and then paid our bill and returned to
the Square. Doctor Bronson told us that an enormous quantity of tea is
consumed in Russia, but very little coffee. Formerly all the tea used in
the Empire was brought overland from China by way of Siberia, and the
business enabled the importers of tea to accumulate great fortunes. Down
to 1860 only one cargo of tea annually was brought into Russia by sea,
all the rest of the importation being through the town of Kiachta, on
the frontier of Mongolia. Since 1860 the ports of the Empire have been
opened to tea brought from China by water, and the trade of Kiachta has
greatly diminished. But it is still very large, and long trains of
sledges come every winter through Siberia laden with the tea which has
been brought to Kiachta on the backs of camels from the districts where
it is grown.


"There is one kind of the Chinese herb, called _joltai chai_ (yellow
tea), which is worth at retail about fifteen dollars a pound. It is said
to be made from the blossom of the tea-plant, and is very difficult to
find out of Russia, as all that is produced comes here for a market. We
each had a cup of this tea to finish our dinner with, and nothing more
delicious was ever served from a teapot. The infusion is a pale yellow,
or straw-color, and to look at appears weak enough, but it is unsafe to
take more than one cup if you do not wish to be kept awake all night.
Its aroma fills the room when it is poured out. All the pens in the
world cannot describe the song of the birds or the perfume of the
flowers, and so my pen is unable to tell you about the aroma and taste
of _joltai chai_. We'll get a small box of the best and send it home for
you to try."

It was so late in the day when our friends had finished their dinner and
returned to the Square, that there was not much time left for
sight-seeing. They were in front of the Winter Palace and St. Isaac's
Church, but decided to leave them until another day. Fred's attention
was drawn to a tall column between the Winter Palace and a crescent of
lofty buildings called the _État-major_, or staff headquarters, and he
asked the Doctor what it was.


"That is the Alexander Column," was the reply to the question. "It is
one of the largest monoliths or single shafts of modern times, and was
erected in 1832 in memory of Alexander I."

"What a splendid column!" said Frank. "I wonder how high it is."

Thereupon the youths fell to guessing at the height of the column. After
they had made their estimates--neither of them near the mark but
considerably below it--Doctor Bronson gave them its dimensions.

"The shaft, without pedestal or capital, is fourteen feet in diameter
and eighty-four feet high; it was originally one hundred and two feet
high, but was reduced through fear that its length was out of proportion
to its diameter. The base and pedestal are one single block of red
granite about twenty-five feet high, and the capital is sixteen feet
high. The angel above the capital is fourteen feet tall, and the cross
in the hands of the angel is seven feet above it. With the platform on
which it rests, the whole structure rises one hundred and fifty-four
feet from the level of the ground."

"They must have had a hard time to make the foundations in this marshy
ground," one of the boys remarked.

"They drove six rows of piling there, one after the other, before
getting a foundation to suit them," said the Doctor. "The shaft alone,
which was put up in the rough and finished afterwards, is thought to
weigh about four hundred tons, and the pedestal and base nearly as much
more. Unfortunately the shaft has suffered from the effects of the
severe climate, and may be destroyed at no distant day. Several cracks
have been made by the frost, and though they have been carefully
cemented, they continue to increase in size. Pieces have fallen from the
surface of the stone in the same way that they have fallen from the
Egyptian obelisk in New York, and it is very evident that the climate of
St. Petersburg is unfriendly to monuments of granite."

The bronze on the pedestal and capital is from Turkish cannon which were
melted down for the purpose. The only inscription is in the few words,


Frank made a sketch of the monument together with the buildings of the
_État-major_ and a company of soldiers that marched past the foot of the
column. Doctor Bronson said the soldiers belonged to the guard of the
palace, where they had been on duty through the day, and had just been

From the column and the buildings surrounding it the trio of strangers
walked to the bank of the river and watched the boats on the water,
where the setting sun slanted in long rays and filled the air with the
mellow light peculiar to high latitudes near the close of day. It was
early in September, and already the evening air had a touch of coolness
about it. St. Petersburg is in latitude 60° North, and consequently is
quite near the Arctic Circle. Doctor Bronson told the youths that if
they had come there in July they would have found very little night, the
sun setting not far from ten o'clock and rising about two. In the four
hours of night there is almost continuous twilight; and by mounting to
the top of a high building at midnight one can see the position of the
sun below the northern horizon. Any one who goes to bed after sunset and
rises before sunrise would have very little sleep in St. Petersburg in

"On the other hand," said the Doctor, "the nights of winter are very
long. Winter is the gay season here, as the city is deserted by
fashionable people in summer, and one is not expected to make visits.
The Imperial court goes away; the Emperor has a palace at Yalta in the
Crimea, and there he passes the autumn months, unless kept in St.
Petersburg or Moscow by the affairs of the nation. They have some public
festivities here in summer, but not generally, most of the matters of
this kind being reserved for the winter."

[Illustration: PETER THE GREAT.]

Boats were moving in all directions on the placid waters of the river,
darting beneath the magnificent bridge that stretches across the stream,
and carrying little parties, who sought recreation or were on errands of
business. On the opposite side of the Neva, and beyond the Winter
Palace, was the grim fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul, with whose history
many tales of horror are connected, and where numerous prisoners of
greater or less note have been confined. "It was there," said Doctor
Bronson, "that Peter the Great caused his son Alexis to be put to

"Caused his son to be put to death!" exclaimed the youths together.

"Yes, it is generally believed that such was the case," the Doctor
answered, "though the fact is not actually known. Alexis, the son of
Peter the Great, was opposed to his father's reforms, and devotedly
attached to the old superstitions and customs of Russia. Peter decided
to exclude him from the throne; the son consented, and announced his
desire to enter a monastery, from which he managed to escape to Austria,
where he sought the protection of the Emperor of that country. Peter
sent one of his generals in pursuit of Alexis; by a combination of
threats and promises he was induced to return to St. Petersburg, where
he was thrown into prison, and afterwards tried for high-treason and
condemned to death. Peter pardoned but did not release him. On the 7th
of July, 1718, he died suddenly, and it was and is now generally
believed that he was poisoned or beheaded by his father's order."

"And was he really guilty of high-treason?" Fred asked.

"According to Russian law and custom, and particularly according to the
law and custom of Peter the Great, he certainly was," Doctor Bronson
replied. "Remember, the Emperor is autocratic in his power, at least in
theory, and in Peter's time he was so actually. The will of the founder
of the Russian Empire was law; Alexis was opposed to that will, and
consequently opposed to the Imperial law. The progress of Russia was
more in the eyes of Peter than the life of any human being, not even
excepting his own son, and the legitimate heir to the throne. The
proceedings of the trial were published by Peter as a justification of
his act.


"Peter II., the son of Alexis and grandson of the great Peter, died
suddenly, at the age of fifteen; Peter III., grandchild of Peter the
Great through his daughter Anna, was the husband of the Empress
Catherine II.; but his reign was very short. His life with Catherine was
not the happiest in the world, and in less than eight months after he
became Emperor she usurped the throne, deposed her husband, and caused
him to be strangled. Catherine was a German princess, but declared
herself thoroughly Russian when she came to reside in the Empire. If
history is correct, she made a better ruler than the man she put aside,
but this can be no justification of her means of attaining power.

[Illustration: PAUL I.]

"Her son, Paul I., followed the fate of his father in being
assassinated, but it was not by her orders. She brought him up in
complete ignorance of public affairs, and compelled him to live away
from the Imperial court. Until her death, in 1796, she kept him in
retirement, although she had his sons taken to court and educated under
her immediate supervision. Treatment like this was calculated to make
him whimsical and revengeful, and when he became emperor he tried to
undo every act of his mother and those about her. He disbanded her
armies, made peace with the countries with which she was at war,
reversed her policy in everything, and became a most bitter tyrant
towards his own people. He issued absurd orders, and at length his acts
bordered on insanity.

"A conspiracy was formed among some of the noblemen, who represented to
his son Alexander that it was necessary to secure the abdication of his
father on the ground of incapacity. Late at night, March 23d, 1801, they
went to his bedroom and presented a paper for him to sign. He refused,
and was then strangled by the conspirators. Alexander I. was proclaimed
emperor, and the announcement of Paul's death was hailed with delight by
his oppressed subjects. Among the foolish edicts he issued was one which
forbade the wearing of round hats. Within an hour after his death became
known, great numbers of round hats were to be seen on the streets.

"You've had enough of the history of the Imperial family of Russia for
the present," said the Doctor, after a pause, "and now we'll look at the
people on the streets. It is getting late, and we'll go to the hotel,
making our observations on the way.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN AND FINN.]

"Here are distinct types of the inhabitants of the Empire," the Doctor
remarked, as they passed two men who seemed to be in animated
conversation. "The man with the round cap and long coat is a Russian
peasant, while the one with the hood over his head and falling down to
his shoulders is a Finn, or native of Finland."

"How far is it from here to Finland?" Frank asked.

"Only over the river," the Doctor replied. "You cross the Neva to its
opposite bank, and you are in what was once the independent duchy of
Finland, but has long been incorporated with Russia. When Peter the
Great came here he did not like to be so near a foreign country, and so
made up his mind to convert Finland into Russian territory. The
independence of the duchy was maintained for some time, but in the early
part of the present century Russia defeated the armies of Finland, and
the country was permanently occupied. Finland has its constitution,
which is based on that of Sweden, and when it was united with Russia the
constitutional rights of the people were guaranteed. The country is
ruled by a governor-general, who is appointed by Russia; it has a
parliament for presenting the grievances and wishes of the people, but
all acts must receive the approval of the Imperial Government before
they can become the law of the land."

[Illustration: DVORNIK AND POSTMAN.]

"What are those men standing in front of a building?" said Fred, as he
pointed to a fellow with a broom talking with another in uniform.

"The one in uniform is a postman," was the reply, "and the other is a
_dvornik_, or house guardian. The _dvornik_ sweeps the sidewalk in front
of a house and looks after the entrance; he corresponds to the porter,
or _portier_, of other countries, and is supposed to know the names of
all the tenants of the building. The postman is reading an address on a
letter, and the _dvornik_ is probably pointing in the direction of the
room occupied by the person to whom the missive belongs."

"I have read that letters in Russia are examined by the police before
they are delivered," said one of the boys. "Is that really the case?"

"Formerly it was, or at least they were liable to examination, and it
probably happens often enough at the present time. If a man is suspected
of treasonable practices his correspondence is liable to be seized;
unless there is a serious charge against him, it is not detained after
examination, provided it contains nothing objectionable. The
Post-office, like everything else in Russia, is a part of the military
system, and if the Government wishes to do anything with the letters of
its subjects it generally does it. The correspondence of foreigners is
rarely meddled with. Writers for the foreign newspapers sometimes
complain that their letters are lost in the mails, or show signs of
having been opened, but I fancy that these cases are rare. For one, I
haven't the least fear that our letters will be troubled, as we have no
designs upon Russia other than to see it. If we were plotting treason,
or had communications with Russian and Polish revolutionists in France
or Switzerland, it is probable that the Government would not be long in
finding it out."

"What would happen to us, supposing that to be the case?" Frank

"Supposing it to be so for the sake of argument," the Doctor answered,
"our treatment would depend much upon the circumstances. If we were
Russians, we should probably be arrested and imprisoned; but as we are
foreigners, we should be asked to leave the country. Unless the matter
is very serious, the authorities do not like to meddle with foreigners
in any way that will lead to a dispute with another government, and
their quickest way out of the difficulty is to expel the obnoxious

"How would they go to work to expel us?"


"An officer would call at our lodgings and tell us our passports were
ready for our departure. He would probably say that the train for the
frontier leaves at 11 A.M. to-morrow, and he would expect us to go by
that train. If the case was urgent, he would probably tell us we must go
by that train, and he would be at the hotel at ten o'clock to escort us
to it. He would take us to the train and accompany us to the frontier,
where he would gracefully say good-by, and wish us a pleasant journey to
our homes. If matters were less serious, he would allow us two or three
days, perhaps a week, to close our affairs; all would depend upon his
orders, and whatever they were they would be carried out.


"Before the days of the railways objectionable parties were taken to the
frontier in carriages or sleighs, the Government paying the expense of
the posting; and no matter what the hour of arrival at the boundary,
they were set down and left to take care of themselves. An Englishman
who had got himself into trouble with the Government in the time of the
Emperor Nicholas, tells how he was dropped just over the boundary in
Prussia in the middle of a dark and rainy night, and left standing in
the road with his baggage, fully a mile from any house. The officer who
accompanied him was ordered to escort him over the frontier, and did it
exactly. Probably his passenger was a trifle obstinate, or he would not
have been left in such a plight. A little politeness, and possibly a few
shillings in money, would have induced the officer to bring him to the
boundary in the daytime, and in the neighborhood of a habitation.

"Expelled foreigners have rarely any cause to complain of the incivility
of their escorts. I know a Frenchman who was thus taken to the frontier
after a notice of two days, and he told me that he could not have
received greater civility if he had been the guest of the Emperor, and
going to St. Petersburg instead of from it. He added that he tried to
outdo his guardians in politeness, and further admitted that he richly
deserved expulsion, as he had gone to the Empire on a revolutionary
mission. On the whole, he considered himself fortunate to have escaped
so easily."

The conversation led to anecdotes about the police system of Russia, and
at their termination our friends found themselves at the door of the
hotel. Naturally, they shifted to other topics as soon as they were in
the presence of others. It was an invariable rule of our friends not to
discuss in the hearing of any one else the politics of the countries
they were visiting.



When the subject of the police was dropped by our friends, Frank asked a
question about the Russian people and their origin. The Doctor answered
that the topic was a broad one, as the Empire contained more than a
hundred different nations and tribes of people, and that they spoke
forty distinct languages. Many of the smaller tribes were assimilating
with the Russians and losing their distinctiveness, even though they
preserved their language; but this was by no means the case throughout
the Empire.

"Not in Poland, I think," said Frank, "judging by what we saw and heard,
and probably not in Finland."

"Quite right," added Doctor Bronson; "and the same is the case with the
German population in the Baltic provinces. Though they have long been an
integral part of the Empire, there are thousands of the inhabitants who
cannot speak Russian, and refuse to teach it to their children. They are
less revolutionary in their ways than the Poles, but none the less
desirous of preserving their national characteristics.

"The population of Russia is about one hundred millions," he continued,
"and it is spread over an area of nearly if not quite seven million
square miles of land. Russia occupies about one-eighth of the land
surface of the globe, but is very thinly inhabited. European Russia,
including Poland, Finland, and other provinces, covers two millions of
square miles, while Siberia, or European Asia, extends over at least
five millions. This does not include the disputed territory of the last
few years in Central Asia. It is pretty certain to come under the rule
of the Emperor, and will add another half-million, if not more, to his


"The inhabitants are very unevenly distributed, as they average one
hundred and twenty-seven to the square mile in Poland, and less than two
to the mile in Asiatic Russia. About sixty millions belong to the Slavic
race, which includes the Russians and Poles, and also a few colonies of
Servians and Bulgarians, which amount in all to less than one hundred
thousand. The identity of the Servians and Bulgarians with the Slavic
race has been the excuse, if not the reason, for the repeated attempts
of Russia to unite Servia, Bulgaria, and the other Danubian
principalities with the grand Empire. The union of the Slavic people
under one government has been the dream of the emperors of Russia for a
long time, and what could be a better union, they argue, than their
absorption into our own nation?"

Fred asked who the Slavs were, and whence they came.


"According to those who have studied the subject," Doctor Bronson
answered, "they were anciently known as Scythians or Sarmatians. Their
early history is much obscured, but they seem to have had their centre
around the Carpathian Mountains, whence they spread to the four points
of the compass. On the north they reached to the Baltic; westward, they
went to the banks of the Elbe; southward, beyond the Danube; and
eastward, their progress was impeded by the Tartar hordes of Asia, and
they did not penetrate far into Siberia until comparatively recent
times. With their extension they split up into numerous tribes and
independent organizations; thus their unity was lost, and they took the
form in which we find them to-day. Poles and Russians are both of the
same race, and their languages have a common origin; but nowhere in the
world can be found two people who hate each other more heartily. However
much the Russians have favored a Pan-Slavist union, you may be sure the
Poles look on it with disfavor.

"The ancient Slavonic language has given way to the modern forms in the
same way that Latin has made way for French, Italian, Spanish, and other
tongues and dialects with a Latin origin. In fact those languages hold
the same relation to Latin that Polish, Russian, Servian, and Bulgarian
hold towards ancient Slavonic. The Romish Church uses Latin in its
service, and the Russo-Greek Church uses the old Slavonic; the Poles,
Bohemians, and others have adopted the Roman alphabet, but the Russians
use the Slavonic characters in a modified form. The Russian alphabet has
thirty-six letters, some being Roman, others Greek, and others Slavonic.
After you have learned the alphabet and can spell out the signs on the
shops and street corners, I'll tell you more about the language."

It was getting late, and the party broke up a few minutes after the
foregoing conversation. Before they separated, Doctor Bronson suggested
to the youths that he should expect them to read up the history of
Russia, and not forget the Romanoff family. "The Romanoffs," said he,
"are the reigning family of Russia, just as the Guelphs are of England
and the Hapsburgs of Austria."

It was speedily arranged that Frank would devote special attention to
the first-named subject, while Fred would assume the responsibilities of
the latter. "And while you are on the subject," the Doctor added,
turning to Fred, "see if you can find about the origin of the Orloff
family, which is one of the most interesting traditions that has been
handed down."

Fred promised, and the party separated for the night.

They were all up in good season the next morning, and after a
substantial breakfast, in which the _samovar_ had a prominent place,
they set out for a round of sight-seeing in the modern capital of


Returning to Admiralty Square, they visited the Church of St. Isaac,
accompanied by the guide they had engaged at the hotel. The man was of
Russian birth, and spoke English with considerable fluency. Evidently he
understood his business, as he told the history of the sacred edifice
with a careful adherence to dates.

"Peter the Great built a wooden church on this very spot," said the
guide, "in 1710, but it was destroyed by fire. Afterwards the great
Catherine erected another, which was finished in 1801; but it only
remained eighteen years. The present building was begun in 1819, and its
completion took nearly forty years. It was consecrated in 1858, and is
considered the finest church in the Empire."

"The last statement might be disputed by some of the citizens of
Moscow," said the Doctor to the youths, "but there is no question about
the church being the finest in St. Petersburg. Observe its admirable
proportions," he continued. "It is in the form of a Greek cross, with
its four sides of equal length, and the architect who planned it
certainly had a correct eye for his work."

"You observe," said the guide, "that each of the four entrances is
approached by three flights of stone steps, leading up from the level of
the square. Each of these flights of steps is cut from a single block of
Finland granite."

The youths made note of this fact as they wondered how the huge masses
of stone were brought from their quarries; and they also noted that the
four entrances of the church were between pillars of granite sixty feet
high and seven feet in diameter, polished to the smoothness of a mirror.
An immense dome forms the centre of the edifice. It is of iron, covered
on the outside with copper, and this copper is heavily plated with pure
gold. It is the dome which first caught the eyes of the travellers as
they approached the city, and forms an important landmark from every
direction. The cupola rests on thirty granite pillars, which look small
enough when seen from below, but are really of great size.


In the inside of the church are paintings by Russian artists, and there
are two columns of malachite fifty feet high, and of proportionate
diameter--the largest columns of this costly mineral anywhere in the
world. Immense quantities of malachite, lapis-lazuli, and other valuable
stones are used in the decoration of the church, and our friends thought
that if there was anything to criticise it was the great amount of
ornamentation and gilding in the interior. "But I have no doubt," wrote
Fred in his note-book, "that this display has its effect upon the
worshippers in the church, and particularly among the poor peasants and
all others of the humbler classes. In all the countries we have visited,
whether of the Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, or other faith, we have
found the religious edifices adorned in the most costly manner, and
there is no reason why Russia should form an exception to the general
rule. Many of the paintings, columns, and other decorations of this
church were the gift of wealthy Russians, while others were paid for by
the contributions of the people, or from the funds in Government hands."

From the Church of St. Isaac our friends went to the Hermitage and the
Winter Palace, the latter being named in contradistinction to the Summer
Palace, which is at Tsarskoe-Selo, a few miles from the capital. We will
see what the youths had to say of their visit to these edifices. Fred
will tell the story.

[Illustration: CATHERINE II. OF RUSSIA.]

"To describe all we saw there would take a fair-sized volume," said
Fred, "and we will only tell what impressed us most. The palace was
built in a great hurry, to take the place of the one that was burned in
1837. It was ready for occupation in 1839; and when you know that it is
four hundred and fifty feet long by three hundred and fifty wide, and
rises to a height of eighty feet, you will agree with us that the
Russians are to be praised for their energy. Our guide had procured the
necessary ticket for admittance, and we passed in through an enormous
gate-way opposite the Column of Alexander. Two servants in livery showed
us through the halls and galleries, and for hours we wandered among
pictures which represent the victories of Russia over its enemies, and
amid costly furniture and adornments, till our feet and eyes were weary.
The Throne-room of Peter the Great is one of the finest of the
apartments, and the Hall of St. George is the largest. It measures one
hundred and forty feet by sixty, and is the scene of the grand balls and
receptions which the Emperor gives on state occasions. There is a
beautiful apartment, known as the drawing-room of the Empress. Its walls
and ceiling are gilded, and the whole work about it seems to have been
done without regard to expense.

"One of the halls contains portraits of the rulers of Russia from Peter
the Great down to the present time; another, the portraits of the
generals who fought against the French in 1812; another, the portraits
of all the field-marshals of the armies by which Napoleon was conquered;
and others, the battle-scenes before mentioned. I observed that Russia
was not unlike France, Germany, and other countries in representing very
prominently the battles where she triumphed, and ignoring those where
she was defeated. The guide told us that at the state balls in the
palace sit-down suppers are provided for all the guests, even if there
are two or three thousand of them. Sometimes the supper-hall is
converted into a garden by means of trees brought from greenhouses. The
guests sit at table beneath the foliage, and can easily forget that they
are in the middle of a Russian winter.

"Doctor Bronson says the Russians are very fond of plants in their
dwellings, the wealthy expending large sums on greenhouses and
conservatories, and the poorer people indulging in flower-pots, which
they place in all available spots. The wealthy frequently pay enormous
prices for rare exotics. We have seen a good many flower-stores along
the Nevski Prospect and in other streets, and are ready to believe that
the Russians are great admirers of floral products. Their long, cold,
and cheerless winters lead them to prize anything that can remind them
of the summer season.

"At the entrance of one of the halls there is a tablet on which are the
rules which Catherine II. established for the informal parties she used
to have at the Hermitage. Catherine had literary aspirations, and her
parties were in imitation of the _salons_ of Paris, which have a wide
celebrity. Here is a translation of the rules, which I take from
Murray's 'Hand-book:'

     "'1. Leave your rank outside, as well as your hat, and especially
     your sword.

     "'2. Leave your right of precedence, your pride, and any similar
     feeling, outside the door.

     "'3. Be gay, but do not spoil anything; do not break or gnaw

     "'4. Sit, stand, walk as you will, without reference to anybody.

     "'5. Talk moderately and not very loud, so as not to make the ears
     and heads of others ache.

     "'6. Argue without anger and without excitement.

     "'7. Neither sigh nor yawn, nor make anybody dull or heavy.

     "'8. In all innocent games, whatever one proposes, let all join.

     "'9. Eat whatever is sweet and savory, but drink with moderation,
     so that each may find his legs on leaving the room.

     "'10. Tell no tales out of school; whatever goes in at one ear must
     go out at the other before leaving the room.

     "'A transgressor against these rules shall, on the testimony of two
     witnesses, for every offence drink a glass of cold water, not
     excepting the ladies, and further read a page of the "Telemachiade"

     "'Whoever breaks any three of these rules during the same evening
     shall commit six lines of the "Telemachiade" to memory.

     "'And whoever offends against the tenth rule shall not again be

"The 'Telemachiade' which is prescribed as a penance was the work of a
Russian poet of Catherine's time, who does not seem to have enjoyed the
Imperial favor. It is said that invitations to these parties were much
sought; but, in spite of all her efforts, the Empress could not induce
her guests to forget entirely that she was their sovereign. However, she
managed to make her parties much less formal than anything ever known
before at the Imperial Palace, and this was a great deal to accomplish
in such a time and in such a country.


"I may remark, by-the-way, that the Empress Catherine was the first
sovereign of Russia to invite an American officer into the Imperial
service. That officer was the celebrated John Paul Jones, a Scotchman by
birth but an American citizen at the time of the Revolutionary war. The
havoc he wrought upon the British fleets attracted the attention of the
Russian Government, and after our war was over he received an intimation
that he could find employment with the armies of the Empress. He went to
St. Petersburg, was received by Catherine at a special audience, and
accorded the rank of admiral in the Imperial Navy. Russia was then at
war with Turkey. Admiral Jones was sent to command the Russian fleet in
the Black Sea, and operate against the Turkish fleet, which he did in
his old way.


"The Russians were besieging a town which was held by the Turks, who had
a fleet of ships supporting their land-forces. Jones dashed in among the
Turkish vessels with a boarding-party in small boats, backed by the guns
of his ships and those of the besieging army. He captured two of the
Turkish galleys, one of them belonging to the commander of the fleet,
and made such havoc among the enemy that the latter was thoroughly
frightened. Unfortunately, Jones incurred the displeasure of Potemkin,
the Prime-minister, and favorite of the Empress, and shortly after the
defeat of the fleet he was removed from command and sent to the Baltic,
where there was no enemy to operate against.

"But I am neglecting the palace in following the career of an American
in the service of Russia.

[Illustration: THE ORLOFF DIAMOND.]

"We asked to see the crown jewels of Russia, and the guide took us to
the room where they are kept. One of the most famous diamonds of the
world, the Orloff, is among them, and its history is mixed up with a
good deal of fable. The most authentic story about this diamond seems to
be that it formed the eye of an idol in a temple in India, whence it was
stolen by a French soldier, who sold it for two thousand guineas. It
then came to Europe, and after changing hands several times was bought
by Prince Orloff, who presented it to the Empress Catherine. The Prince
is said to have given for the diamond four hundred and fifty thousand
rubles (about four hundred thousand dollars), a life annuity of two
thousand rubles, and a patent of nobility. It weighs more than the
famous Koh-i-noor of England, but is not as fine a stone. There is a
faint tinge of yellow that depreciates it considerably, and there is
also a flaw in the interior of the stone, though only perceptible on a
careful examination.

"The Imperial crown of Russia is the most interesting crown we have
anywhere seen. The guide told us how much it was worth in money, but
I've forgotten, the figures being so large that my head wouldn't contain
them. There are rubies, diamonds, and pearls in great profusion, the
diamonds alone being among the most beautiful in the world. There are
nearly, if not quite, a hundred large diamonds in the crown, not to
mention the smaller ones that fill the spaces where large ones could not
go. The coronet of the Empress is another mass of precious stones worth
a long journey to see. There are other jewels here of great value, among
them a plume or aigrette, which was presented to General Suwarroff by
the Sultan of Turkey. It is covered with diamonds mounted on wires that
bend with each movement of the wearer. What a sensation Suwarroff must
have made when he walked or rode with this plume in his hat!

"From the crown jewels we went to a room whose history is connected with
a scene of sadness--the death of the Emperor Nicholas. It is the
smallest and plainest room of the palace, without any adornment, and
containing an iron bedstead such as we find in a military barrack. His
cloak, sword, and helmet are where he left them, and on the table is the
report of the quartermaster of the household troops, which had been
delivered to the Emperor on the morning of March 2, 1855, the date of
his death. Everything is just as he left it, and a soldier of the
Grenadier Guards is constantly on duty over the relics of the Iron Czar.

[Illustration: NICHOLAS I.]

"If what we read of him is true, he possessed one characteristic of
Peter the Great--that of having his own way, more than any other Emperor
of modern times. He ascended the throne in the midst of a revolution
which resulted in the defeat of the insurgents. They assembled in
Admiralty Square, and after a brief resistance were fired upon by the
loyal soldiers of the Empire. Five of the principal conspirators were
hanged after a long and searching trial, during which Nicholas was
concealed behind a screen in the court-room, and listened to all that
was said. Two hundred of the others were sent to Siberia for life, and
the soldiers who had simply obeyed the orders of their leaders were
distributed among other regiments than those in which they had served.

"Through his whole reign Nicholas was an enemy to free speech or free
writing, and his rule was severe to the last degree. What he ordered it
was necessary to perform, no matter what the difficulties were in the
way, and a failure was, in his eyes, little short of a crime. He decided
questions very rapidly, and often with a lack of common-sense. When the
engineers showed him the plans of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Railway,
and asked where the line should run, he took a ruler, drew on the map a
line from one city to the other, and said that should be the route. As a
consequence, the railway is very nearly straight for the whole four
hundred miles of its course, and does not pass any large towns like the
railways in other countries.

"A more sensible anecdote about him relates an incident of the Crimean
war, when the Governor of Moscow ordered the pastor of the English
Church in that city to omit the portion of the service which prays for
the success of British arms. The pastor appealed the case to the
Emperor, who asked if those words were in the regular service of the
English Church. On being answered in the affirmative, he told the pastor
to continue to read the service just as it was, and ordered the governor
to make no further interference.

"His disappointment at the defeat of his armies in the Crimean war was
the cause of his death, quite as much as the influenza to which it is
attributed. On the morning of his last day he received news of the
repulse of the Russians at Eupatoria, and he is said to have died while
in a fit of anger over this reverse. Though opposed to the freedom of
the Press and people, he advised the liberation of the serfs; and before
he died he urged his son and successor to begin immediately the work of

"The Hermitage is close to the palace, and is large enough of itself for
the residence of an emperor of medium importance, and certainly for a
good-sized king. The present building is the successor of one which was
built for the Empress Catherine as a refuge from the cares of State, and
hence was called the Hermitage. It is virtually a picture-gallery and
museum, as the walls of the interior are covered with pictures, and
there are collections of coins, gems, Egyptian antiquities, and other
things distributed through the rooms.

[Illustration: PETER III.]

"The room of greatest interest to us in the Hermitage was that
containing the relics of Peter the Great. There were the turning-lathes
whereon he worked, the knives and chisels with which he carved wood into
various forms, together with specimens of his wood-carving. His
telescopes, drawing-instruments, walking-stick, saddle, and other things
are all here, and in the centre of the room is an effigy which shows him
to have been a man of giant stature, as does also a wooden rod which is
said to be the one with which he was actually measured. There is a
carriage in which he drove about the city, the horse he rode at the
battle of Pultowa, and several of his favorite dogs, all stuffed and
preserved, but not in the highest style of the taxidermist. There are
casts taken after Peter's death, several portraits in oil and one in
mosaic, and a cast taken during life, and presented by Peter to his
friend Cardinal Valenti at Rome. It was missing for a long time, but was
finally discovered about the middle of this century by a patriotic
Russian, who bought it and presented it to the gallery.

"There is a clock in the same room which is said to have contained at
one time the draft of a constitution which Catherine the Great intended
giving to her people. Immediately after her death her son and successor,
Paul, rushed to the clock in her bedroom, drew out the paper, and
destroyed it. At least this is the tradition; and whether true or not,
it is worth knowing, as it illustrates the character of Paul I."

Our friends imitated the course of many an Imperial favorite, not only
in Russia, but in other countries, by going from a palace to a prison,
but with the difference in their case that the step was voluntary.

As they crossed the bridge leading from the Winter Palace in the
direction of the grim fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul, Doctor Bronson
told the youths that Peter the Great shut up his sister in a convent and
exiled her minister, Prince Galitzin. "Since his time," the Doctor
continued, "his example has been followed by nearly every sovereign of
Russia, and a great many persons, men and women, have ended their lives
in prison or in exile who once stood high in favor at the Imperial
court. Catherine was accustomed to dispose of the friends of whom she
had wearied by sending them to live amid Siberian snows, and the Emperor
Paul used to condemn people to prison or to exile on the merest caprice.
Even at the present day the old custom is not unknown."


"We were not admitted to the cells of the fortress," said Frank, in his
account of the visit to the place, "as it was 'contrary to orders,'
according to the guide's explanation. But we were shown through the
cathedral where the rulers of Russia from the time of Peter the Great
have been buried, with the exception of Peter II., who was buried at
Moscow, where he died. The tombs are less elaborate than we expected to
find them, and the walls of the church are hung profusely with flags,
weapons of war, and other trophies of battle. The tombs mark the
positions of the graves, which are beneath the floor of the cathedral.
Naturally the tombs that most attracted our attention were those of the
rulers who have been most famous in the history of Russia.

"We looked first at the burial-place of the great Peter, then at that of
Catherine II., and afterwards at the tomb of Nicholas I.; then we sought
the tomb of Alexander II., who fell at the hands of Nihilist assassins,
and after a brief stay in the church returned to the open air. The
building is more interesting for its associations than for the artistic
merit of its interior. Its spire is the tallest in the Empire, with the
exception of the tower of the church at Revel, on the Baltic coast. From
the level of the ground to the top of the cross is three hundred and
eighty-seven feet, which is twenty-six feet higher than St. Paul's in

"The spire alone is one hundred and twenty-eight feet high, and very
slender in shape. It was erected more than a hundred years ago, and the
church itself dates almost from the time of the foundation of the city.
Fifty or more years ago the angel and cross on the top of the spire
threatened to fall, and a Russian peasant offered to repair them for two
hundred rubles. By means of a rope and a few nails, he climbed to the
top of the spire and performed the work, and nobody will say he did not
earn his money. A single misstep, or the slightest accident, would have
dashed him to certain death.

"When we left the church and fortress," continued Frank, "we felt that
we had had enough for the day of that kind of sight-seeing, so we drove
through some of the principal streets and went to the Gostinna Dvor,
where we wished to see the curiosities of the place and make a few

[Illustration: STATUE OF NICHOLAS I.]

"Near St. Isaac's Church we passed the famous equestrian statue of the
Emperor Nicholas, in which the sculptor succeeded in balancing the horse
on his hind feet without utilizing the tail, as was done in the case of
the statue of Peter the Great. The Emperor is in the uniform of the
Horse Guards. The pedestal is formed of blocks of granite of different
colors, and there are bronze reliefs on the four sides representing
incidents in the Emperor's life and career. On the upper part of the
pedestal at each of the corners are emblematical figures, and just
beneath the forefeet of the horse is a fine representation of the
Imperial eagle. The whole work is surrounded with an iron fence to
preserve it from injury, and altogether the statue is one of which the
city may well be proud."

While the party were looking at the Imperial arms just mentioned, Fred
asked why the eagle of Russia is represented with two heads.

"It indicates the union of the Eastern and Western empires," the Doctor
answered, "the same as does the double-headed eagle of Austria. The
device was adopted about four centuries ago by Ivan III., after his
marriage with Sophia, a princess of the Imperial blood of

"By-the-way," the Doctor continued, "there's a story of an Imperial
grand-duke who went one day on a hunting excursion, the first of his
life, and fired at a large bird which rose before him. The bird fell,
and was brought by a courtier to the noble hunter.

"'Your Imperial Highness has killed an eagle,' said the courtier, bowing
low and depositing the prey on the ground.

"The grand-duke looked the bird over carefully, and then turned away
with disdain. 'That's no eagle,' said he, 'it has only one head.'"

What our young friends saw in the Gostinna Dvor will be told in the next



"Before I describe the Gostinna Dvor of St. Petersburg," said Fred in
his note-book, "let me premise by saying that every Russian city or town
has an establishment of the same kind. It is a good deal more than the
market-place with us, and seems to combine the bazaars of the East with
the shops of the West. In an ordinary town the Gostinna Dvor occupies a
single large building at or near the centre of population; the larger
the town or city the greater will be the commercial needs of the people,
and consequently a city like Moscow or St. Petersburg will have a
Gostinna Dvor that dwarfs all ordinary markets into insignificance.

"The one at St. Petersburg occupies an enormous building, which might
almost be called a series of buildings, fronting on the Nevski Prospect,
but entered also from other streets. There are said to be ten thousand
merchants and their employés in the building, and certainly the number
is little if any exaggerated. We walked among the rows of shops till our
feet ached with weariness, and still there were many other rows of shops
to be visited. Sometimes the shopmen were importunate, but usually they
did not disturb us unless we stopped to look at something. The building
is two stories high, the lower floor being used for retail purposes and
the upper for the storage of goods. Owing to the danger of a
conflagration and the great destruction that would ensue, we were told
that no fire is allowed here in winter. Then the merchants and their
clerks wear furs and thick clothing when at their business, and shoppers
are not expected to lay aside their wraps while making purchases.

"'What do you buy in the Gostinna Dvor?' I hear some one asking.

"'Everything that one could wear or use in Russia,' I should reply,
'together with a great many things whose use it would be impossible to
imagine.' Some one writing on this subject says you may come naked into
the Gostinna Dvor, bringing only a pocket-book stuffed with money, and
leave it in an hour dressed in whatever garments you choose, wear all
the jewellery your tastes may dictate, and ride away in a coach drawn by
four horses, with driver and footmen in livery, all obtained in the
building we are now visiting, or in one of its annexes. Nay, more; you
can engage a residence of palatial character from accommodating house
agents stationed here, and furnish it completely from the stock on hand
in the Gostinna Dvor. Pictures, chairs, sofas, curtains, tapestry,
kitchen utensils, library, anything and everything you want, are all
ready for sale, and only await purchasers. Your wife and children,
'sisters, cousins, and aunts,' can here be provided with wardrobes,
elaborate or economical, as your purse will justify, and so with all the
servants of the household, regardless of their number.


"Officers of every grade, rank, and arm of the service can be uniformed
here, and their garments may be brand-new, second-hand, or so old that
they will subject the wearer to punishment on account of his shabbiness.
Decorations are to be bought, at least the insignia thereof, and the
seller will ask no questions. The purchaser wears them at his peril if
he does not possess the proper diplomas, since the unauthorized wearing
of decorations is as serious a matter in Russia as in other Continental
countries. The Emperor Nicholas was fond of visiting the Gostinna Dvor
accompanied by a single orderly. One day he saw a young officer
wistfully eying a decoration in one of the windows, and told the orderly
to ascertain his name. Inquiry showed that the officer stood well with
his superiors, was faithful in the performance of his duties, and the
result was he received the coveted bauble directly from the hand of the

"Perhaps you wonder why the Russian market is so extensive, and what
must be the habits of the people to sustain such a commerce. This is the
way it is explained:

"A Russian rarely buys anything till just as he wants it, and then he
cannot wait to have it made. In England or America a man desiring to
furnish a fine house would be weeks or months collecting his furniture,
ordering some to be made, and buying the rest from time to time when he
found what suited him. Under similar circumstances, a Russian drives to
the Gostinna Dvor, and makes his selections from what he finds there.

"The Russians are said to be more capricious than people of other
nationalities in the matter of their movements from place to place. A
wealthy Russian will fit up a house at great expense, buying his
furniture in the manner described. In a few months he decides to travel
for his health, or go to the country, and the whole equipment is sent to
the Gostinna Dvor and sold for what it will bring. It may be so little
used that it can be sold again by the dealer as new, and of course the
dealer makes a large profit on the transaction. When the man comes back
to the city he furnishes anew, and thus the business of the bazaar is
maintained. Fortunes come and go very quickly in Russia, and so the work
of fitting and dismantling is continuous.

"The best goods are in the Gostinna Dvor proper, while the inferior ones
are in the annexes. Some of the shops have fixed prices, but in most of
them there is a system of bargaining which is not agreeable to the
traveller from the Occident. He is never certain that he has paid the
proper price, even when he has brought the merchant down to what appears
to be his lowest figure.


"We bought a few articles of Russian manufacture to send home to our
friends. Among them were _samovars_, inlaid goods from Tula, embroidered
slippers and sashes from the Tartar provinces, malachite and
lapis-lazuli jewellery, and some Circassian ornaments of silver. Many of
the articles sold in the Gostinna Dvor are of English, German, and
French manufacture, which are largely increased in price owing to the
duties placed upon them by the custom-house.

"Our guide directed us from the rear of the building along the _Bolshoia
Sadovaia_, or Great Garden Street, which is a line of shops and bazaars,
to the _Sennaia Ploshad_, or Hay-market. This is a large open place or
square, which is less interesting now than in winter. In summer it is
devoted to the sale of hay and live-stock, but in winter it is filled
not only with the hay, grain, and live-stock of summer, but with frozen
animals, which form the principal food of the inhabitants of the city.
Here is what one traveller has written about the frozen market:


"'On one side you see a collection of frozen sheep--stiff, ghastly
objects--some poised on their hoofs like the wooden animals in a
child's "Noah's Ark;" others on their sides, with their legs projecting
at right angles to their bodies; others, again, on their backs, with
their feet in the air like inverted tables. The oxen are only less
grotesque from having been cleft down their backs--an operation which
seems to take them out of the category of oxen and place them in that of
beef. The pigs are drawn up in line against the wall, standing on their
hind legs, with their forefeet extended above their heads, like
trick-dogs going through their performances.

"'The partridges, quails, grouse, wood-hens, and other birds are lying
together in a frozen mass, and by their side are ducks and geese with
outstretched necks so straight and stiff that you might take one of
these harmless creatures by the bill and, using it as a bludgeon, knock
down your enemy with its body. The fowls have been plucked, plunged into
water, and left to freeze; thus they are completely encased in ice, and
in that condition will keep for any length of time as long as the
weather continues cold.'

"Frozen fish are piled in heaps like stove-wood, and frozen cabbages are
rolled around like cannon-shot. A calf stands in front of a butcher's
stall in the attitude of walking away, but an examination shows that he
is hard as a stone, and may have been standing there for weeks. Milk is
sold in bricks, with a stick or string frozen into one corner; the
purchaser may carry it home by means of this improvised handle, or he
may wrap it in paper or his handkerchief. In fact everything that can be
frozen yields to the frost, and the Russians find it a most convenient
form of preservation. One of the odd sights of the frozen market is the
itinerant vender of sucking-pigs, who carries these articles of trade
hung around his neck or waist, as though they were ornaments rather than


"There is a market for old clothes which reminded us of Chatham Street,
in New York. The dealers had little stalls where the garments were
exposed for sale, and there were a good many peddlers who walked about
with the goods they desired to dispose of. The old-clothes market of St.
Petersburg is said to be inferior to that of Moscow in the number and
character of the Israelitish merchants in whose hands the business is
concentrated. The one at Moscow is also called the Elbow-market, on
account of the continued elbowing of those who go there. Though people
were crowded closely together when we were in the market, we saw no
indications of anything but good-nature. The Russians are polite to each
other as well as to strangers, and it was amusing to see how the rough
fellows, when meeting face to face, bowed as though they were great

"And such flocks of pigeons as were flying all about! They tell us there
are many more of them in winter than in summer, as the birds are then
driven to the towns and cities to find their food. The Hay-market is
their favorite resort, since grain as well as hay is sold there, and the
pigeons manage to get off with all that is scattered on the ground.


"The pigeon or dove in Russia is a sacred bird. The Russians say that as
the dove brought the olive-branch to the Ark, he should not be harmed,
and it would be a great offence to kill one of these birds in the
presence of an orthodox member of the Church. But all the grain that is
scattered from the feed of the horses and in the market-place is not
sufficient for the sustenance of the pigeons; many kind-hearted persons
throw quantities of grain to them every morning, and not unfrequently it
happens that a pious Russian will spend a considerable part of his
income in this way. Kriloff, the Russian fable writer, is said to have
supported all the pigeons of the Gostinna Dvor for some time at his own
expense, or, more properly speaking, at that of his creditors.

"There are a great many magpies and crows mingling with the pigeons, and
evidently considering themselves just as respectable. Pigeons, crows,
and magpies fill the belfries of many of the churches, but not of all,
and nobody seems able to say why they make the distinction. Some of the
churches are fairly thronged with them, and they keep up a perpetual
flutter around the roof from sunrise to sunset.

"There is a story that the magpies were driven out of Moscow by one of
the priests under the following circumstances: The high-priest, or
metropolitan, was about to lay the foundation of a new church, and when
he reached the part of the ceremony where the mortar was to be placed on
the stone, the golden trowel which had been brought for the occasion
could not be found. A workman standing near was accused of the theft,
and as nobody else could have stolen the trowel, the man was sent to
Siberia. Some weeks later the precious tool was found by the
bell-ringers in the great tower in the Kremlin, where it had been
carried by a thieving magpie. The man was pardoned, and compensated for
his suffering; the metropolitan placed the curse of the Church on the
magpie, and thereupon all the magpies in Moscow flew away, and have not
since been near the city. The story is told by the author of 'The
Russians at Home,' and he adds that the magpies really do keep at a
respectful distance from the ancient capital of Russia, and thus vouch
for the truth of the story."

From the Gostinna Dvor our friends drove to the church and monastery of
St. Alexander Nevski, at the extreme end of the Nevski Prospect. It
occupies a large area enclosed by high walls, and is said to be on the
exact spot where the Grand-duke Alexander defeated the Swedes, about
A.D. 1241. In due time he was canonized, and became St. Alexander. He
was buried at Vladimir, where his remains rested until after the
founding of St. Petersburg.

Peter the Great caused the bones of the saint to be transported to the
new city on the banks of the Neva. St. Alexander became St. Alexander
Nevski ("of the Neva"), and the church and monastery were established.
One night the monks in charge of the church took the bones of the saint
and started for Vladimir, declaring they had been told in a vision that
the saint was not resting peacefully in the marshy soil of the new
capital. Peter was not a man to be thwarted in his designs. He sent word
to the monks that unless they returned immediately, bringing the bones
with them, they would lose their heads. Knowing the man they had to deal
with, they straightway had a new vision, which accorded with the wishes
of the imperious Czar. They took the road back to St. Petersburg without
delay, and sought and obtained the pardon of their august master.

Hear what Fred has to say about the church and its surroundings:

"The original church was of wood," writes Fred, "and was built about
1712; it was torn down a few years later, and replaced with a church of
stone. The sovereigns of Russia each added something to the building and
its surroundings, and the present cathedral was built by Catherine the
Great. The work was done at great expense. Marble was brought from Italy
for the interior decorations, and the malachite, lapis-lazuli, and other
costly minerals were brought from Siberia and Persia. Some of the
paintings are by Russian artists, and the rest by celebrated masters of
Italy and other countries.

"An object of great interest is the shrine of St. Alexander Nevski. The
coffin is of solid silver, and, with the surrounding ornaments of the
same pure metal, is estimated to weigh more than a ton and a half. The
crown of the saint is preserved here, and also the bed on which Peter
the Great died, and there are many interesting objects associated with
the memory of nearly all the rulers of Russia.

"There is a library of ten or twelve thousand volumes, together with a
large number of manuscripts relating to the history of the Empire. In
the monastery are the cells of some fifty or sixty monks who reside here
and have charge of a religious school which is open to students
preparing to enter the service of the Church. The chapel contains the
tombs of Suwaroff and other generals, and also of many members of the
Imperial family. There are tombs of several noble families of Russia;
that of the Narishkins bears the inscription,


"An occurrence of comparatively recent times is associated with this
church. Alexander Griboyedoff, born at Moscow about 1795, was a
celebrated poet and dramatist, whose merits were acknowledged by his
appointment as Minister to Persia in 1828. In February of the following
year he and all the Russians who accompanied him were murdered in
Teheran, in consequence of a riotous outbreak of the populace. The
Russian Government demanded satisfaction, which was given in the shape
of a long train of beasts of burden loaded with presents, and
accompanied by a prince of the Shah's household. There were also many
fine horses for saddle purposes, and a collection of wild animals
peculiar to Asia. The train was months on its way, and reached St.
Petersburg in the winter. A procession was made to this church, and
certainly it was the most remarkable that this northern city had ever


"Pearls, embroideries in gold and silver, shawls, and other costly
fabrics, were carried on silver dishes in the hands of gorgeously
dressed Persians; elephants bearing towers filled with Persian warriors,
or laden with the gifts of the Persian court, were protected from the
cold by boots and wrappings of leather; and the cages of the lions,
tigers, and leopards were shielded by double coverings of the skins of
Arctic bears. The Persian prince rode in an Imperial carriage drawn by
six horses, and was escorted by a regiment of Russian grenadiers. A
portion of the presents was bestowed upon this church, and the remainder
went to the families of Griboyedoff and his companions.

"The Emperor comes in person to attend the service of mass in this
church at least once a year. The choir is one of the best in the city,
and the church is largely attended by the fashionable inhabitants of the
capital. A service was going on as we entered the building, and we
remained near the door until it ended. It was an impressive ceremonial,
made doubly so by the historic interest of the surroundings."


A drive to the Summer Gardens followed the visit to the Church of Saint
Alexander Nevski. Several theatres and other public buildings were
passed on the way, but they concluded not to stop to examine them. "One
building is very much like another in St. Petersburg," said the Doctor;
"and unless there is some special interest connected with it, or a
peculiar feature of architecture, it is not worth while mixing it up
with your recollections of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage."


It was a pleasant afternoon, and the Summer Gardens were filled with
people enjoying the open air. There were nurse-maids with children,
peasants alone or in couples, or groups, well-to-do persons of the
middle classes, officers and soldiers--in fact a fair representation of
the whole population. The Emperor sometimes comes here for a walk, but
of late years his visits have been less frequent than formerly, on
account of the fear of assassination. It is forbidden to speak to the
Emperor while he is on the promenade, and any one violating the rule
will be arrested immediately.

It is said that one day while the Emperor was walking in the Summer
Gardens he met and recognized a French actor with whose performance he
was greatly pleased. He spoke pleasantly to the actor, and the latter
replied, expressing his satisfaction at this mark of the Imperial favor.
The Emperor then went on his way. The police immediately pounced upon
the performer, and carried him away to prison for violating the rule!

"But the Emperor spoke to me first," the man protested over and over
again to no purpose.

"You spoke to the Emperor, which is contrary to the law," was all the
explanation he could obtain.

Nicholas went that night to the theatre to hear his favorite, but the
latter did not appear. No one could tell where he was, and his Majesty
returned disappointed to the palace.

In the morning the unfortunate actor was released, and the story somehow
reached the Imperial ears. Nicholas sent for the victim of the arrest,
apologized for the action of the police, and asked what reparation he
could make for the actor's night in prison.

"Never speak to me again in the public garden," was the reply. The
Emperor laughed, and made the required promise. Next day he sent the
equivalent of a month's salary to the actor, together with a diamond
ring of no small value.

In one corner of the garden is a monument to the memory of Kriloff, the
Russian fabulist. The youths asked the Doctor to tell them about
Kriloff, which he did as follows:

"Kriloff was the most famous writer in Russia in the first half of the
present century," said the Doctor, "and he is probably better known
to-day among all classes of the population than any other man of
letters. Forty thousand copies of his works were sold between 1830 and
1840, in editions of various kinds, and went to all parts of the Empire.
There was hardly a child of the educated classes who was not familiar
with his stories, and they were circulated 'by word of mouth' among the
peasantry, to whom reading was an unknown accomplishment; and before
they were issued in books, his fables were published in newspapers and
magazines, so that the aggregate circulation was very large."

Fred asked what was the nature of the stories told by the famous man
whose statue they were regarding.


"They were fables," the Doctor answered, "after the manner of Æsop's and
La Fontaine's. He had written editorials and literary essays for various
publications, but never made a 'hit' until about his fortieth year, when
he took some fables from La Fontaine and adapted them to the conditions
of life in Russia. He showed them to a friend, who printed them in _The
Moscow Spectator_, where they attracted much attention. Kriloff was
encouraged to continue this style of writing. For the rest of his life
his literary labors were almost wholly devoted to fables. He died in
November, 1844, at the good old age of seventy-six.


"At his funeral the streets were crowded, and the Church of St. Isaac
could not hold all who came to take part in the services. Soon after his
death a popular subscription was started, and the children of all
classes contributed to it. The money was expended for the erection of
the statue before us. You observe that the space around it is the
favorite play-ground of the children, and no more appropriate spot could
have been chosen."

The statue represents Kriloff in a dressing-gown, seated in an
arm-chair, with his head slightly inclined forward, and looking
pleasantly downward. The pedestal of the monument is adorned with
reliefs of the animals that figured in his fables--oxen, horses, cows,
sheep, donkeys, foxes, wolves, hens, lions, etc., and thereby hangs a

The Emperor Nicholas was fond of choosing as his ministers and advisers
men who were not likely to oppose any of his measures. The incompetency
of his ministry was notorious both in Russia and other countries. When
his successor, Alexander II., ascended the throne, he was asked why he
did not retain the ministry of Nicholas instead of choosing a new one.
He replied, "My father was a man of such transcendent ability that he
could afford to surround himself with incompetent men; I feel my
weakness, and must have the best talent in the Empire to assist me."

When the equestrian monument to the memory of Nicholas was under
consideration, it was proposed to adorn its pedestal with the portraits
of his ministers, but the proposal was vetoed, when some one suggested
that if the monument were so adorned it might be mistaken for that of

"Kriloff's fables," the Doctor continued, "were aimed at official and
social abuses and absurdities. Many that he wrote were never produced,
as all had to receive the approval of the censor before they could be
issued. I told you that in ten years forty thousand copies of his works
were sold, and it is probable that the present sale amounts to several
thousand annually. Kriloff is read not only by Russian children but by
people of all ages, and the fables have been translated into all the
languages of Europe."

On the way back to the hotel our friends stopped at a book-store and
bought a copy, in English, of the book in which their interest had been
aroused. Some of the fables were incomprehensible to them, on account of
their ignorance of Russian manners and customs, and of the system of
government; but this was not the case with the greater number. They had
a hearty laugh over several of the anecdotes, and voted the book to be
well worth preserving.

Here are some of the fables with which they were amused. We will
condense them, as they are sometimes rather long drawn out in the

A donkey meets a nightingale in the woods, and asks her to favor him
with a song. She complies, and sings her sweetest. The other birds come
and listen, but the donkey shakes his head and says, "Your voice is very
fair, but you should take lessons of the village cock." The moral may be
thus rendered in English:

  "What most the poet fears,
  Is the critic with long ears."

Another fable tells how the swan, the crab, and the pike agreed to draw
a load; but when the time came for the effort the pike dived into the
water, the swan flew into the air, while the crab went backward after
the manner of his kind. At the end Kriloff says,

  "Which was right and which was wrong,
    I really can't pretend to say;
  But this I know, they labored long,
    And the load stands still to the present day."

The fable of "The Two Boys" tells how two youths are trying to get at
some nuts in a tree, but the limbs are beyond their reach. One suggests
that he will climb up on the back of the other, and then can gather nuts
for both; but as soon as he is seated among the limbs he falls to eating
the nuts at his leisure, and throws only the shells to his companion.
The moral is obvious, and Kriloff adds that he has known men thus raised
to profitable positions who had not the grace to throw even the shells
to those who had assisted them.

[Illustration: THE FOX AS A LAW GIVER.]

In the fable of "The Pike," that voracious fish has been killing his
inoffensive neighbors in the pond. He is taken in a tub of water and
carried before the court for judgment. The court is composed of two
donkeys and two goats, who grazed on the banks of the pond; and in order
to make their decision an intelligent one, a skilful lawyer, the fox, is
added to the court. People said that the fox was always plentifully
supplied with fish, the pike giving him all he wanted.

The proof was overwhelming, and the judges decided that the pike must be
hanged. "Oh, hanging's too good for him," said the fox, "give him
something more severe; let the wretch be drowned."

"Certainly," exclaimed the judges; and thereupon the pike was thrown
into the pond again.


In "The Fox and the Marmot," the fox complains to the marmot that he has
been driven out of a poultry-yard which he had undertaken to protect.
"It was a wretched place," says the fox; "I was awake all night; and
even in the daytime I had hardly time to eat a mouthful. My health was
suffering from my constant occupation, and, after all my trouble and
fidelity, I am accused of stealing. What an infamous outrage! You know
what I had to do there, and I ask if you could suspect me of the
slightest act of dishonesty."

"Of course not," the marmot answers; "but I'm sorry to say that I've
frequently seen feathers sticking in your mouth."

"Many an official," says Kriloff, "complains that his place is a hard
one, and he is barely able to live upon his pay. Nevertheless in time he
buys an estate and builds a house. You might have difficulty in proving
that he accepted bribes or robbed the Government, but every one must
admit that the feathers are quite visible around the gentleman's mouth."

Frank read this fable aloud, and then asked the Doctor if the moral
would be understood by any office-holders in the United States. Doctor
Bronson smiled as he answered that the fable was designed for Russia
alone, but its circulation in New York and Washington could do no harm.

In the evening our friends went to one of the theatres to hear an opera
that is a great favorite with the Russians. It is by Glinka, a Russian
composer, and is entitled "_Jizn za Tsarya_" ("A Life for the Czar").
From "The Russians at Home" Fred learned that the opera was first
produced in Moscow in 1843. The subject is the devotion of a Russian
peasant to the Czar Michael, the first ruler of the Romanoff family. A
band of Polish invaders are seeking the Czar with the intention of
killing him; they meet a peasant, whom they question as to the Czar's
place of concealment. Suspecting their design, he offers to lead them
to the spot; they follow, and he leads them to the centre of a forest
from which they cannot find a way of escape. After getting them there,
he announces that he has saved the life of the Czar at the sacrifice of
his own. The invaders kill him on the spot, but the life of the Czar is
saved. The story is a true one, and to this day the people of the
village where the loyal peasant, Ivan Soussanin, lived, are exempt from
taxes, and a monument has been erected to the memory of the man. The
opera which chronicles his devotion is given in three acts, and its
melodies are all strictly national. Our friends were delighted with the
performance, and both Frank and Fred declared that for days afterwards
several of the airs in "_Jizn za Tsarya_" were literally "running
through their heads."

Another evening they went to one of the cheaper theatres, where Russian
comedies and farces were given. Of course they could not understand the
dialogue, but were quite interested in the action of the piece, which
was decidedly vigorous. Fred said he was reminded of certain local
dramas in New York, where the actors receive a great deal of pounding
and rough handling, and Frank thought a good actor in Russia ought to
have the flexibility and agility of a circus performer.

As a type of the plays that amuse the lower order of Russians, the
following is a fair representation:

A mujik makes love to his master's maid-servant, much against the old
gentleman's will. One day the master enters the kitchen and finds the
mujik there. The whole family is called, the bull-dog is let loose upon
the lover and seizes him by the coat, while all the members of the
household proceed to pound him with saucepans, broomsticks, tongs, and
other utensils that can be used for hostile purposes.


Round and round goes the frightened mujik. The dog clings to the mujik's
coat, the master seizes the dog by the tail, the mistress clutches the
master by the coat, and so the whole trio is dragged by the victim. The
rest of the party continue their pounding, which they alternate by
throwing missiles in the shape of plates, potatoes, and anything else
the kitchen affords.

The audience is wild with delight, especially as the blows fall quite as
often on the other characters as on the mujik. Finally the maid-servant
comes to her lover's relief by throwing a bunch of fire-crackers among
his enemies and blowing them up; thereupon the lover dashes through the
door, carrying with him the adhering bull-dog, and the curtain falls
amid rounds of applause.




The conversation about Kriloff and the visit to the opera naturally
turned the thoughts of the youths in the direction of Russian
literature, journalism, and dramatic productions. Frank was curious to
know about the newspapers of the country, while Fred's first inquiry
referred to the works of its poets, historians, and dramatists.

"We will begin with the newspapers," said Doctor Bronson, "and first I
will speak of those published in St. Petersburg. They are all printed in
Russian, with the exception of a little sheet in German, for the
exclusive use of the German residents, and _Le Journal de St.
Petersbourg_, the organ of the ministry of foreign affairs, and chiefly
filled with official notices interesting to foreigners. It is printed in
French, as most of the foreigners visiting Russia understand that
language. It contains very little local news, and not much from the
outside world. In fact journalism, as we understand it in America, is
practically unknown in Russia. The best of the Russian dailies could not
stand a comparison with the leading journals of a dozen American cities,
and a single copy of the _Herald_, _Tribune_, _Times_, or _World_, of
New York, contains more 'news,' as we call it, than all the papers of
Moscow and St. Petersburg together."

"I suppose the censorship is largely responsible for this state of
affairs," Frank remarked.

"You are quite right," the Doctor replied; "if the censorship did not
exist there is no doubt that the papers would be much more enterprising
than they are. They must not offend the Government, or they are liable
to suppression. Editorials are generally submitted to the censor before
going into type, and if approved they may be printed. If printed without
approval, the publishers run the risk of censure. For a first offence
they are 'cautioned;' for a second they are cautioned and fined; and
for a third offence the publication is suspended for a month, three
months, or perhaps entirely. Consequently the papers cannot discuss
public matters with any freedom, and they are entirely prohibited from
publishing personal scandals, which form such an important part of the
'news' of several American papers I could name. In addition to cautions
and fines, the editors are liable to imprisonment; and, taking all
things into consideration, the way of the journalist is hard in Russia."

Fred asked the Doctor what were the principal papers of the capital.


"They change so often," was the reply, "that an answer made this year
will hardly answer for next. Each member of the ministry has his organ;
that of the foreign ministry, as before stated, is _Le Journal de St.
Petersbourg_; while that of the War Department is the _Russki Invalid_;
known to the outer world as the _Invalide Russe_. The organ of the Naval
Bureau is published at Cronstadt, the great naval port of the Empire,
and not at the capital; but as Cronstadt is only a few miles away, the
locality is of little consequence. The _Golos_ is generally understood
to be the organ of the Ministry of the Interior; and as this department
has the supervision of the press, this paper is said to have more
freedom than its rivals. But even the _Golos_ does not escape the hand
of the censor, and its freedom of speech has several times brought it
into trouble.

"What would be called a small circulation in America is a large one in
Russia. There is not a daily paper in the Empire that averages a
circulation of twenty-five thousand copies, and the leading papers of
the two great cities have to content themselves with ten or fifteen
thousand. I have been told that the daily papers of St. Petersburg do
not circulate altogether more than eighty thousand copies daily outside
the capital, and about fifty thousand in it. Remember, the mass of the
population does not know how to read and write as in America, and
consequently the circulation of the newspapers is confined to a small
portion of the community.


"A paper of great influence, probably the greatest in the Empire, is the
_Moscow Gazette_. It is supposed to be the organ of the Emperor, with
whom its editor, Mr. Katkoff, is on terms of intimacy. Important edicts
of the Government are frequently foreshadowed in the _Gazette_, and the
national and international pulses are often felt through its columns.
But, with all its influence, the _Gazette_ does not circulate more than
twenty thousand copies--at least according to the figures at my command.
The _Moscow Gazette_ is more frequently quoted by foreign writers than
any other journal in Russia; and if it were published in French rather
than in Russian, we should probably hear of it even more frequently than
we do."

"It's a pity they don't give us a French edition of it," said Frank. "I
would like very much to read the paper and know what it has to say, but
of course I can't as long as it is in Russian. French is the diplomatic
language, and I wonder they don't make an edition for foreign

"Did you ever hear," remarked the Doctor, with a smile, "of the attempt
of Prince Bismarck to have German take the place of French as the
language of diplomacy?"

Neither of the boys had heard the anecdote, which the Doctor gave as


"Shortly after the close of the Franco-German War, in 1870, Bismarck
thought he would establish German as the diplomatic language, and with
this object in view he made use of German instead of French in an
official communication to Prince Gortchakoff, the foreign minister of
Russia. Gortchakoff promptly replied to the communication, and wrote in
Russian. Bismarck saw the joke, and desisted from further attempts to
carry out his design."

"Returning to our subject," said the Doctor, "there are daily papers in
the large towns of Russia, and weekly or semi-monthly papers in the
smaller ones; but with its population of one hundred millions, the
Empire has less than one-tenth as many newspapers as we have in the
United States, and probably not more than one-fiftieth, or even
one-hundredth, of the circulation.

"The first printing-press in Russia was set up in 1564. The first
newspaper was printed at Moscow in 1704, and the second at St.
Petersburg, a year later. Peter the Great abolished the use of the old
Slavic characters for printing purposes, and personally supervised the
casting at Amsterdam of the types in the Russian common language as we
now find it.

"In addition to the newspapers there are many magazines and reviews in
Russia, and some of them have a very large circulation. They contain
articles on the condition of the country, biographical sketches of
distinguished Russians, historical notices of cities and towns,
scientific reports, travels, anecdotes, and stories by Russian writers,
together with translations of European or American works. 'Uncle Tom's
Cabin' was published in one of the Russian magazines, and so were the
stories of Dickens and other English authors. The magazines go to all
parts of the Empire, and have a larger circulation, proportioned to that
of the newspapers, than do periodicals elsewhere."

The conversation was brought to an end by the entrance of the guide, who
said it was time to start for their proposed excursion to Peterhof. In a
few minutes they were on the way to the station, and in due time were
seated in the train which carried them to their destination.

Peterhof is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, not far from Cronstadt;
in fact the excursion included a visit to Cronstadt before the party
returned to the city. The palace was begun in 1720, under the direction
of Peter the Great. Nearly every sovereign of Russia has made additions
and alterations, but the original palace remains, and its general
characteristics are preserved. Even the yellow paint which Peter adopted
is still in use, and the palace contains several relics of the great
Czar, which are regarded with reverence by Russian visitors, and with
interest by others.

"It was here that Peter the Great died," wrote Fred in his journal.
"They showed us the bed whereon he breathed his last, and it was in the
same condition as when he left it. It is not in the palace, but in a
small building in the grounds, and it is said that in the same building
the Empress Elizabeth sometimes amused her courtiers by cooking her own
dinner. From another building, called Marly, Peter used to watch his
fleet of ships at anchor near Cronstadt; and in another, The Hermitage,
there is a curious arrangement, devised by Catherine II., so that a
party at dinner did not need the aid of servants. You wonder how it was

"In front of each person at table there was a circular opening, through
which a plate could be lowered to the kitchen or carving-room below, and
replaced by another. Imagine, if you please, a miniature 'lift,' or
elevator, for each place at table, and you will understand the
arrangement. Thus a dinner of any number of courses could be served, and
the party would be entirely by itself. Catherine used this dining-room
when she wished to discuss State secrets with foreign ambassadors, and
be sure that no listening servant could betray them.


"The palace contains many tapestries, articles of porcelain, malachite,
and other costly things, and there are many pictures representing
battles fought in the latter part of the last century. One room contains
nearly four hundred portraits of girls in all parts of European Russia,
which were painted by a French count who travelled through the Empire in
Catherine's time. The wonderful thing about them is, that the artist who
executed the pictures was able to represent the subjects in different
attitudes, so that no two are alike.

"They showed us the tables and benches where several of the emperors
played when they were children, and also the playthings that amused


"The grounds are quite as interesting as the palace. They are
beautifully laid out in gardens, dotted with lakes, cascades, fountains,
and little parks. No description in words could do justice to the spot,
which must be seen in an elaborate picture to be appreciated. The
water-works are nearly as fine as the celebrated one at Versailles, or
St. Cloud in France, and of course the Russians claim that they are
superior. Occasionally in summer there is a festival given by the
Emperor to some of his foreign guests; the grounds and the lake are
lighted up with Chinese lanterns, and the display closes with an
exhibition of fireworks of no small importance. Sometimes the Emperor
goes around the lake in a boat propelled by oars-men, but usually
contents himself by looking on from a pavilion near the edge of the


"From Peterhof we drove to Oranienbaum, about six miles away, where we
took the boat to Cronstadt. I can't begin to name all the palaces and
chateaux on the road, as I was too busy with looking at them to remember
what they were called; and besides, if I made a list it might be too
long to be interesting. We visited two or three of them, but had not
time for all; some were not open to strangers, as they were then
occupied by their owners, and these Russian grand-dukes and duchesses
are very exclusive in their ways.

"At Oranienbaum we found the little steamer which was to convey us to
Cronstadt, five miles away; she puffed, as though conscious of her
importance, but did not make very good speed, and we had plenty of time
to study Cronstadt as we approached it. The city is not very large, nor
is it particularly interesting. The chief objects of attraction are the
tremendous fortifications, which are among the strongest in the world,
and very extensive. They were begun by Peter the Great, in 1703, and
there has hardly been a year since that time when labor on them has
entirely ceased. The harbor was filled with ships belonging to the war
fleet of Russia, and certainly they have a fleet to be proud of. There
is a smaller port, called the 'Merchants' Harbor,' where the commerce of
the city is centred. It is an active place from May to November, when
navigation is open, but when the Baltic is sealed with ice in the winter
months, it must be the perfection of dreariness.

"Until quite recently ships drawing more than ten feet of water could
not pass the bar of the Neva and ascend to St. Petersburg, but were
compelled to anchor at Cronstadt. Recently a canal has been made, with
a depth of twenty feet, so that a great many vessels which were
formerly excluded on account of their size can ascend to the capital.
During the Crimean war Cronstadt was blockaded by a French and English
fleet; an attack was made on the forts of Cronstadt, but it was easily
repulsed; and after that time the allies did nothing more than regard
the forts from a safe distance. At Oranienbaum is a palace, from whose
top the Emperor Nicholas used to watch the movements of the hostile
fleet; the telescope he employed is still in the position where he left
it on his last trip to St. Petersburg."

While our friends were looking at the naval harbor of Cronstadt and the
splendid fleet at anchor there, Doctor Bronson reminded the youths that
when Peter the Great ascended the throne Russia had no navy, and none of
her people knew anything about building ships.


"I have read about it," said Frank, "and it was to learn the art of
ship-building that he went to England and Holland."

"That is what history tells us," the Doctor answered. "He realized the
inferior condition of a country without a navy, and sent intelligent
young Russians to study the art of building and navigating ships. Not
satisfied with what they learned, he left Russia for about a year and a
half, which he spent in acquiring useful knowledge. He worked in a
ship-yard in Holland disguised as a common workman, though it is
generally believed that the officers in charge of the yard knew who he
was. Afterwards he spent three months in an English ship-yard; and when
he returned to his country he was accompanied by some five hundred
shipwrights, riggers, sail-makers, and other laborers required in an
establishment such as he wished to create. From this beginning came the
navy of Russia. The foundation of the great fleet before us was laid by
Peter the Great.

"The English and Dutch origin of Russian ship-building is shown in the
English and Dutch names for the different parts of a ship. The deck,
keel, mast, and many other nautical things are the same in Russian as in
English; the Russians had no equivalent words, and naturally adopted the
names from the country that supplied the things named.


"And I can tell you something still more curious," the Doctor continued,
"as it was told to me by a Russian captain. While the ship-builders of
Peter the Great were from England and Holland combined, the men to
navigate the ships after they were built came almost wholly from the
latter country. The result is that nearly all the evolutions of a ship,
and the movements of the sailors to accomplish them, are in Dutch, or
rather they have been adopted from Dutch into Russian. The Russian
captain I have mentioned stated it to me in this way:

"'A Dutch pilot or captain could come on my ship, and his orders in his
own language would be understood by my crew: I mean simply the words of
command, without explanations. On the other hand, a Dutch crew could
understand my orders without suspecting they were in Russian.'"

"It is no wonder," said Fred, "that the Russians honor the memory of the
great Peter, and that their largest ship of war bears his name. Am I
right in regard to the ship?"

"It is the largest at present," replied the Doctor, "but there are three
ships--the _Tchesme_, _Sinope_, and _Catherine II._--to be completed in
1887, which will be larger than the _Peter the Great_. The latter is an
iron-clad turret-ship of 8285 horse-power and 10,000 tons displacement.
She carries eight guns, has two turrets, and her iron plating at the
water-line is fourteen inches thick. She is three hundred and thirty
feet long and sixty feet wide in her broadest part, and resembles the
great mastless ships of the British navy, particularly those of the
_Dreadnought_ class. She was built at Cronstadt, in 1874; the other and
larger ships I have named are on the ways at Sevastopol and Nicolaieff,
on the Black Sea.


"Without going into details, I will say that the Russian navy consists
of two great divisions: the fleet of the Baltic and the fleet of the
Black Sea. Each of these great divisions is subdivided into sections:
the Baltic fleet into three, and the Black Sea fleet into two. The
sections carry flags of different colors, white, blue, and red; this
arrangement was taken from the Dutch, like the system of ship-building
in Peter's time.

"At the beginning of 1885 the Baltic fleet consisted of two hundred and
nine vessels, including thirty-three armor-clad and belted ships,
forty-nine unarmored frigates, corvettes, clippers, and cruisers, and
ninety-five torpedo-boats. Gun-boats, transports, and various other
craft completed the list. The Black Sea fleet included ninety-eight
vessels, of which seven were armor-clad; then there are the vessels of
the Caspian Sea and the Siberian flotillas; and altogether the Russian
navy comprised at that time 358 vessels, armed with 671 guns, with a
measurement of 196,575 tons, and engines of 191,976 horse-power.

"Before we drop the subject of Russia's navy," the Doctor continued,
"perhaps you would like to hear about the _Popovkas_."

Neither of the youths had heard of these things, and wondered what they
could be. Doctor Bronson relieved their perplexity by explaining that
the _Popovkas_ were a new style of iron-clad ship intended for the
defence of harbors, rather than for rapid cruising at sea.


"They were the invention of Admiral Popoff, of the Russian navy," he
remarked, "and hence comes their name. The first of them was built in
1873, at Nicolaieff, on the Black Sea, and was called the _Novgorod_.
She is circular, with a diameter of one hundred feet, and carries two
eleven-inch guns in a revolving turret like that of the _Monitor_. She
measures two thousand tons, and has engines which propel her about six
miles an hour. The other ship of this class is the _Admiral Popoff_, one
hundred and twenty feet in diameter, carrying two twelve-inch guns in a
revolving turret, and capable of steaming eight miles an hour. There is
a gentle slope of the sides from the water's edge to the base of the
turret, so that any other shot than a plunging one would be glanced off.
As the ships have not yet been tried in battle, their advantages are
only theoretical."


Frank asked how many officers and men were employed in the navy of the

"From the latest reports at hand," the Doctor answered, "there are
twenty-nine admirals, vice-admirals, and rear-admirals, four hundred and
four captains, and nine hundred and thirty-four lieutenants and
midshipmen. Seventy-six admirals, one hundred and forty captains, and
fifty lieutenants are employed on shore duty, and there are thirty-five
captains and thirty-nine lieutenants and midshipmen serving in lines of
commercial steamers subsidized by the Government; one thousand and
ninety-four pilots, engineers, artillerists, and others complete the
official list, and the men before the mast number twenty-four thousand
five hundred and twelve. The sailors are obtained by conscription or by
voluntary enlistment--generally the former--and required to serve nine
years. Seven years of this period are in active service, and two years
in the reserve, whence the men may be called out in case of war."

"Please tell us something about the Russian army," said Fred, "as the
army and navy are very closely related."

"I think you have had enough of statistics for one day," Doctor Bronson
replied, "and if they are all in your journals your readers may be
inclined to skip them. But at the risk of being tedious you cannot omit
saying something about the military and naval forces of a nation which
is the most thoroughly military and naval power of modern times. There
is no throne in Europe more dependent upon the weapons of war than is
that of Russia. Take away the army and navy, and Russia would follow the
fate of Poland, and be speedily dismembered by her neighbors. England,
France, Germany, and Austria would have made an end of Russia long ago
but for the resisting power of which she is capable."

Frank and Fred declared that they would like to hear then and there
about the army, and so the Doctor continued:

"The army of Russia previous to 1874 was drawn entirely from the classes
of artisans and peasants by means of a conscription and the enrolment of
the sons of soldiers. In that year a new law was approved by the Emperor
making all men who had completed their twenty-first year, and were not
physically exempt, liable to service. The purchase of substitutes is not
permitted by the new law; each man drawn by the conscription is required
to pass six years in active service and nine years in the reserve,
making a total of fifteen years in all. While in the reserve the men are
liable to be called out only in case of war, and if so called out, the
younger are put into active service in the field, while the older ones
are employed for garrisoning forts and other light work."

"Don't they have any exemption for the sons of rich men?" one of the
youths inquired.

[Illustration: Grenadier. Chasseur of the Guard. Fifer of the Guard.
Dragoon. Cuirassier. Hussar.


"Theoretically there is none," the Doctor answered; "but in order to
cover such cases, and particularly to provide officers for the army, it
is arranged that young men with a fair education may be enrolled as
volunteers for short terms during and from their seventeenth year of
age. When their volunteer service is completed they may pass into the
reserve, or be subjected to an examination for commissions as officers
either in the active army or the reserve. In the reserve, whether as
officers or privates, they are liable to be called for duty any time
before their thirty-sixth year."

Fred asked what proportion of the male population was taken for the army
every year by means of the conscription.

"As before stated, every able-bodied man is liable," was the reply; "but
it is generally found that a conscription of four in a thousand will
produce from ninety thousand to one hundred thousand men. On a peace
footing the active army contains about twenty thousand officers and five
hundred and thirty thousand men; the reserve adds eight thousand and one
hundred thousand to these figures respectively, so that the total peace
footing is twenty-eight thousand officers and six hundred and thirty
thousand men."

"And how much is the war footing?"

"The war footing, according to the latest figures, to give it exactly,
is 41,551 officers and 1,176,353 men. Add to this the whole able-bodied
militia liable to be called into service in case of necessity, and the
available war forces of Russia amount to about 3,200,000. On the peace
footing, the army has 129,736 horses and 1844 guns, which are increased
in time of war to 366,354 horses and 3778 guns. In 1883 a census of the
horses in fifty-eight provinces of European Russia showed that there
were nearly fifteen millions of these animals fit for service in case of


One of the youths wished to know something about the Cossacks, and
whether they formed a part of the army or not.

"The Cossack is an irregular soldier," the Doctor replied, "though in
some cases he is not a soldier at all. The origin of the Cossacks is
unknown, some claiming that they belong to the Tartar, and others to the
Russian race. The probability is that they are a combination of the two.
They were first heard of in the tenth century, in the valley of the Don
River; in the wars of Russia with the Turks and Tartars, about the
fifteenth century, they showed a great deal of bravery and an excellent
organization of a semi-military character.

"They are more Russian than Tartar in their language, religion, and
customs. The rulers of Russia have not always found affairs running
smoothly between themselves and the Cossacks, and when the latter felt
they had not been properly treated they were not slow to rebel. A revolt
was generally followed by an emigration of the Cossacks into the Tartar
country to the east, and in nearly every instance this emigration
resulted in the addition of new territory to Russia."

"I believe I have read that the conquest of Siberia was accomplished in
this way," said one of the youths.

"You are right," was the reply, "and the whole conquest hardly cost
anything to the Government. About three hundred years ago a tribe of Don
Cossacks rebelled, and under the guidance of Yermak, their hetman, or
leader, crossed the Ural Mountains into Asia. They began a career of
conquest, which was pushed so rapidly that in less than seventy years
they and their descendants had carried their banner to the shores of the
Okhotsk Sea. In the early part of their career they offered the
conquered territory to the Czar, and received in return a pardon for
their misdeeds on the Don. History furnishes no parallel to this
conquest, which was made by a few hundred outlaws, and carried to a
successful end with little assistance from others and no support from
the Government. But to return to the Cossacks of to-day:

[Illustration: Leaguin. Cossack of the Don. Circassian. Tartar Cossack
of the Crimea. Cossack of the Caucasus. Cossack of the Ural.


"The Cossacks are a race of freemen. With only a few exceptions, none of
them have ever been serfs. The whole land where they live belongs to
them in common, and they have equal rights in hunting and fishing. They
pay no taxes to Government, but in place of taxes are required to give
a certain number of days' service in each year. Every Cossack feeds and
equips himself at his own expense, and provides and feeds his horse. If
called to serve outside the boundaries of his own country, he receives
rations for himself and horse and a small amount of pay; but this ceases
when he returns to his own land. The Cossacks have their own officers,
which were formerly chosen by themselves, but are now appointed by the
Government, the latter usually being careful to send officers such as
the Cossacks approve.

"The military organization of the Cossacks is in ten great divisions
called '_woisskos_,' that of the Don being the largest. Each _woissko_
furnishes, according to its population, a certain number of regiments
fully armed and equipped, and constantly under military discipline.
These regiments must be prepared to march for active service ten days
after being notified. Altogether in time of war the Cossacks of the
various parts of the Empire, available for war service, are about one
hundred and fifty thousand men.

"They are splendid horsemen, and their best service is as cavalry. They
can endure hunger, cold, and fatigue beyond ordinary soldiers, and are
very troublesome to an enemy. In the retreat of Napoleon's army from
Moscow they made great havoc, and many thousands of French soldiers fell
beneath the Cossack lance and sabre. They have an undeserved reputation
for cruelty, as they are probably no worse, and certainly no better,
than other kinds of soldiers. War at its best is a cruel business, and
in no age of the world has it been the custom for armies to refrain from
hurting their enemies when it was in their power to do so."

This conversation occupied most of the time while the boat was steaming
from Cronstadt to St. Petersburg. Seated near our friends was an officer
whose coat did not show any buttons. It was fastened with hooks like
those on a lady's dress, and Frank called attention to its peculiarity.

Doctor Bronson explained that the officer was of the Cossack branch of
the service, this being the distinguishing feature of the Cossack
uniform. The Cossack soldier wears a sheepskin coat, fastened with a
girdle at the waist. He abhors buttons, and the uniform of the officers
is made to conform to their tastes.

On the lower deck of the boat was a squad of soldiers, under command of
a sergeant, who had probably been to Cronstadt on some official duty,
and were now returning. Fred called attention to the singular hats worn
by the soldiers, each hat having a high plate of brass in front, and
reminding the youths of the hats worn by the soldiers in the comic opera
of the "Grand-duchess of Gerolstein."

"It is not unlike a coal-scuttle in shape," said Fred, "and must be an
uncomfortable piece of head-gear."

"That is a regiment which was organized in the time of the Emperor
Paul," said the Doctor, "and the design of the hat was made by him--at
least that is what a Russian officer told me. Observe that there is a
perforation in the brass of each hat, as though made by a bullet, and
some of the hats have two or three holes.

"The tradition is," continued the Doctor, "that the regiment once showed
cowardice when brought face to face with the French invaders during the
war of 1812. In the next battle they were put in the front, and kept
there; half their number were killed, and nearly every hat was
perforated by a bullet. Since that time the helmets are preserved just
as they were when the battle ended. When a new helmet is ordered to
replace an old one, it is perforated just as was its predecessor. Hence
the curious appearance of the soldiers of the grenadier regiment
organized by Paul.

"The discipline of the Russian army is severe, and there are no better
regiments, either for parade or fighting purposes, than those stationed
in the neighborhood of the great cities. Reviews of the army are held
frequently. When the Emperor goes in person to the grand review every
year the sight is a magnificent one.

[Illustration: GRAND-DUKE MICHAEL.]

"The Russian Imperial family is full of soldierly qualities, which is
not at all strange when we remember their training. Sometimes it is
pushed to an extreme degree. The Grand-duke Michael, brother of the
Emperor Nicholas, is said to have been one of the most rigid
disciplinarians ever known; and whenever he inspected a division, not a
button, or even the point of a mustache, escaped his notice. Parades
were his delight, and he could ride at full gallop along the front of a
line and detect the least irregularity. He used to say,

"'I detest war; it interferes with parades, and soils the uniforms.'

"He disliked the Cossacks because they did not appear well at reviews;
in his eyes their excellent fighting qualities were of minor importance.

"The Cossacks carry their cartridges in a row of pockets on the breasts
of their coats, and not in cartridge-boxes, as do other soldiers. The
Grand-duke thought a soldier's uniform was incomplete without a
cartridge-box, probably for the reason that it gave him a certain amount
of work to keep it clean and bright. This was another reason for his
dislike of the irregular troops, which form such an effective arm of the
service in time of war."

The steamer deposited its passengers at the quay near Admiralty Square,
and our friends again trod the soil of St. Petersburg, after an
interesting and instructive day in the environs of the city. Frank and
Fred devoted the evening to writing out what they had learned during the
trip to Peterhof and Cronstadt, and especially to making notes upon the
army and navy of Russia. To refresh their memories, they referred to a
copy of "The Statesman's Year-book," which happened to be in the room,
and said they would cordially recommend it to others who might seek
similar information.




Next morning the party was out in good season. It had an appointment
with a professor attached to the University of St. Petersburg for a
visit to that institution. He was to take breakfast with them, and
afterwards would escort them through the library and other rooms of the
establishment. While they were at breakfast the professor entertained
the youths with an account of the educational condition of Russia, which
we will endeavor to repeat as nearly as it was remembered by Frank and

"On behalf of my country," said the professor, "I am sorry to say that
we are behind England, Germany, Austria, and most other nations of
Europe in the matter of general education, but not nearly as backward as
we were in past years. We have no system of common-schools such as you
have in the United States, and the mass of the population is practically
without instruction beyond what they receive from the village priests.
Down to the time of Alexander II. the village schools were controlled by
the priests, and no one else could be a teacher in them. That
progressive monarch issued an order requiring the schools to be given to
the most capable applicants, whether priests or not. This was a great
step in advance, as the priests were not unfrequently nearly as
illiterate as the people they were set to instruct.

"To show how we are progressing, let me say that in 1860 only two out of
every hundred recruits levied for the army were able to read and write;
in 1870 the proportion had increased to eleven in a hundred, and in 1882
to nineteen in a hundred. In 1880 there were 22,770 primary-schools in
the villages, with 1,140,915 pupils: 904,918 boys and 235,997 girls. The
teachers were 19,511 men and 4878 women. Some of the primary-schools
are entirely supported by the Government, and others partly by the
Government and partly by a small tax upon the parents of each pupil. The
latter plan is not satisfactory, as it discourages poor people with many
children from sending them to school, and it is probable that in a few
years all the schools will be free."


One of the youths asked what was taught in the village schools of

"Reading and writing," the professor answered, "are the first things, as
a matter of course; and then come arithmetic, grammar, and geography, in
the order I have named them. Church and State are so closely connected
in Russia that the primary education includes the form of prayer; it is
a part of the daily exercise of the schools, except for those who
profess other than the orthodox faith, and in former times children of
dissenters were not allowed to attend the schools. Catholics, Lutherans,
and others were instructed by their own teachers, and, failing this,
they had no instruction whatever. At present children of any faith can
attend the village schools, and where there is a mixed population the
schools are divided.

"In 1850," the professor continued, "there were less than three
thousand village schools in the Empire; the increase to more than
twenty-two thousand in thirty years shows how rapid has been our
progress. We have great hopes for the future, and at the end of another
thirty years I trust you will find us not much behind the other
countries of Europe."

[Illustration: LEARNING TO WEAVE.]

Doctor Bronson asked about the higher instruction in Russia, and how it
compared with that of other lands.

"One of the drawbacks to higher education in its broad sense," said the
professor, "was the custom that prevailed, and still prevails to a great
extent, for rich people to educate their children at home. Every
nobleman who could afford it had a tutor for his boys and a governess
for his girls. There is no country where tutors and governesses were
more certain of employment than in Russia, and I have the assurances
from them, a hundred times repeated, that they were better treated here
than anywhere else. A tutor or governess is almost invariably made a
member of the family, sits with them at table, is presented to visitors,
forms a part of their social circle, and is made to feel thoroughly at
home. Governesses are usually English or French, while tutors are
generally French or Germans. The education of these home taught children
begins at a very early age, and they naturally speak with fluency the
language of their instructors; hence it follows that the Russians of the
higher classes have, justly, the reputation of being the best linguists
of Europe."

As the professor paused, Frank remarked that he had observed how almost
every Russian officer spoke French or German, and many of them spoke
French, German, and English. "French seems to be almost universal among
them," he added, "at least as far as I have been able to learn."

"That is true," said the professor, "and there are many Russians who
speak French better than they do their own language. With French nurses
in their infancy, French governesses or tutors as their years advance,
and with their parents speaking French, it is not to be wondered at.

"The system of home education discouraged the education of the schools
among the nobility, and it was only during the reign of Nicholas that a
change was made. Count Ouvaroff, Minister of Public Instruction under
the Iron Czar, set the example by sending his own son to the University
of St. Petersburg. The example was followed, and the attendance at the
universities and normal schools increased rapidly. Nicholas gave the
system a military character by decreeing that the students should wear
cocked hats and swords, but this was abandoned by Alexander II. The
policy of Nicholas was shown in the words of his instruction to Count
Ouvaroff, 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality.'"

Fred asked how many universities and high-schools there were in the


"There are nine universities," the professor answered, "situated at St.
Petersburg, Moscow, Kief, Kazan, Wilna, Dorpat, Kharkov, Odessa, and
Warsaw.[2] The professors are paid by the Government, and the poor
students have an allowance for their support. To be admitted to the
universities, they must pass an examination in the course of instruction
in the gymnasia or high-schools, which are in the provincial towns,
about four hundred in all, or must have received equivalent instruction
at home. The high-schools or gymnasia correspond to your academies or
high-schools in America, and hold the same relation to the universities.

[2] Recently the Government decided to establish a Siberian university.
It was to be opened at Tomsk in 1886, but there was great opposition to
it by a large and influential party, who claim that a Siberian
university would be a great peril to autocracy in Russia. They look upon
Siberia as the source of many liberal, and therefore dangerous, ideas,
and say the new university will greatly facilitate their development.

"Besides the universities, which confer degrees in law, medicine,
mathematics, natural history, philology, and the Oriental languages,
there are distinct schools of medicine and law, like the medical and law
schools of other countries. There are four free high-schools for the
education of women, and the applicants for admission are constantly in
excess of the facilities for their instruction. There was a medical
school for women, but it was closed in 1884 on account of its use as a
means of disseminating revolutionary ideas."

Frank and Fred wished to obtain further information about the reason for
closing this medical school, but they remembered that the professor
would probably dislike to discuss the subject, as it had a political
bearing, and so no question about it was asked.

Breakfast was over, and the party entered the carriage, which was
waiting at the door, and were driven to the university.

"One thing I forgot to say," said the professor, as soon as they were
seated in the vehicle, "and that was about education in Finland. The
grand-duchy has a system of public instruction distinct from that of the
rest of the Empire. It has a university at Helsingfors, high-schools in
all principal towns, and elementary schools in the villages. Almost the
entire population can read, and nearly every youth can write during his
school-days, though he often forgets this accomplishment in later years.


"To return to Russia, all through the Empire there are agricultural,
mining, engineering, and other industrial schools, and there are also
numerous military schools, which have a separate system of instruction.
The cadets are transferred from the military gymnasia to the 'military
schools,' in which they are educated to qualify them for commissions as
officers. There are three academies--for the staff, engineers, and
artillery--and in these academies the higher branches of military
science are taught. The religious schools are attached to the Church,
and the instruction is managed by the clergy. Here we are at the
university just as my impromptu lecture upon education in Russia has
reached its end."

Our friends were introduced by their companion to several others of the
faculty, and passed an hour at the university very pleasantly. They
learned that the usual attendance was about four hundred, and the
professors and lecturers numbered nearly thirty. In addition to what is
usually taught in universities there were lecturers upon the Oriental
languages. A goodly number of students give their attention to the
Asiatic tongues, with a view to qualifying themselves for future
usefulness in that direction. The Professor of Chinese was among those
to whom our friends were introduced.

"He is an accomplished gentleman," said Frank in his note-book; "he
speaks French and Russian as fluently as he does his native language,
and his questions about America showed that he was well acquainted with
the history of our country. The rest of the Oriental professors were in
European dress, but the Chinese one was not. He was in the same garments
he would wear at Shanghai or Peking, and his hair was plaited into an
irreproachable pigtail.


"The halls were pleasant and spacious," continued Frank, "and the
students that we saw had intelligent faces; they appeared much like the
students at an English university, but we thought there was an
expression of more earnestness in their faces. The professor told us
that the young men who attended the university gave very little trouble
in the matter of discipline, and the disgraceful pranks of students at
Oxford and Cambridge were practically unknown in Russia. It is so
recently that education has been in the reach of everybody in this
country that its value is more appreciated than elsewhere.


"The library contains more than sixty thousand volumes, and there is a
good scientific collection in the museum. The students have the
privilege of visiting the Academy of Sciences, under certain
restrictions, where they have access to a library of one hundred and
fifty thousand volumes and an extensive museum. The latter has an
Asiatic department, which contains many objects of great interest to
students of matters pertaining to Asia. We went to the museum after
seeing the university and looked at the remains of the Siberian
mammoths, which were found embedded in the ice where they had lain for
thousands of years.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE PROFESSORS.]

"Another educational institution of St. Petersburg is the School of
Mines, which is supported by the Government and has about three hundred
students. Its collection of minerals is said to be the finest in the
world. There are single nuggets of gold worth thousands of dollars,
great masses of solid silver, platinum, copper, and other metals,
together with topaz, beryl, aquamarine, quartz, and other crystals in
great variety and of unusual size and beauty. One crystal of beryl
weighs five pounds and is valued at twenty-five thousand dollars.

[Illustration: DESCENDING A SHAFT.]

"In the halls devoted to instruction there are models of mines, with the
veins of ore, and the machinery for working them; the workmen are
represented by little figures like dolls, and the whole is admirably
executed. After looking at these models we were taken to the garden,
where there is a section of a mine, through which we were guided by
means of candles and torches. It required very little imagination for us
to believe we were actually in a mine far below the surface of the
earth, and that the veins of ore were real rather than fictitious. It
must be of great advantage for the education of the students, and
certainly we found it very instructive in the little time we were in it.

[Illustration: GALLERIES IN A MINE.]

"What would you say if I told you that the richest public library of
Europe is in St. Petersburg? Well, the Imperial Library may not be
superior to all others, but those who ought to know say it is not
inferior in any respect. It occupies a very large building on the Nevsky
Prospect, and is open to the public like the great libraries of London,
Paris, Vienna, and other cities. The custodian who accompanied us
through the building said it contained nearly a million printed volumes,
in all the languages of the world, and about thirty thousand
manuscripts, some of them very old.

[Illustration: IN THE LIBRARY.]

The foundation of this immense library was one of the spoils of war
between Russia and Poland. It belonged to Count Zalewski, a Polish
bishop, and contained three hundred thousand volumes. After the capture
of Warsaw, in 1796, the library was removed to St. Petersburg, and since
that time yearly additions have been made, until it has reached its
present condition. Among other things there is a collection of books
relating to Russia in other languages than Russian. They number forty
thousand, and cover all dates from the invention of the art of printing
down to the present time. Then there are nearly one hundred thousand
books in the Russian language, beginning with a volume of the 'Acts of
the Apostles,' printed at Moscow in 1538.

"There is a prayer-book which belonged to Mary Queen of Scots, and which
contains many notes in her handwriting. There are autographs of kings,
queens, emperors, princes, and other persons of blue blood--so many that
I can't begin to enumerate them. In fact there are so many things here
that one might spend weeks in the library, and find something new and
interesting every few minutes. The reading-room is well arranged, and
has all the leading papers of Europe. To show its growth in popularity,
let me say that it was visited by twenty thousand persons in 1854, and
by seventy-three thousand in 1864. In more recent times as many as one
hundred and fifty thousand persons have visited the reading-room in a
single year.

[Illustration: A COLLEGE DORMITORY.]

"Well, we have had enough for one day of schools, libraries, museums,
and the like--so many of them that our heads are fairly swimming. Let us
go home and think over what we have seen; if we remember a tenth part of
it we shall be fortunate."

Naturally the conversation, after their return, related to what they had
seen; and in this connection the Doctor gave the youths some interesting

"The university we have seen to-day," said he, "is not by any means the
oldest in Russia, nor is it the largest. The honor of age and extent
belongs to the University of Moscow, which was founded in 1755, while
that of St. Petersburg was founded in 1818. The Moscow University has
one thousand eight hundred students, and seventy-two professors and
lecturers, and there are one hundred and fifty thousand volumes in its
library. The Government gives about three hundred thousand dollars
annually in aid of the Moscow University, and many of Russia's most
celebrated men have been educated there.

"The oldest university in the Empire was at Abo, in Finland, but the
buildings were destroyed in a great fire in 1827, and afterwards the
university was established at Helsingfors. It was originally founded in
1630, eleven years before printing was introduced into Finland.
Anciently there were some curious customs connected with the reception
of a student at the University of Abo. He was required to prostrate
himself on the floor in front of one of the professors, who gave him a
certain number of blows with a stick. The blows were more imaginary than
real, and after they were given the student was ordered to rise, and to
so conduct himself in future that he would never need a repetition of
the indignity.

"The other universities of Russia are about like that of St. Petersburg,
and do not need a special description. In all of them there is a
department of study for those who wish to enter the service of the
Church. At Dorpat there is a course of study for those of the Lutheran
faith, and at Kazan, which has a considerable population of Tartars,
Moslem students are admitted, and no interference is made with their
religious belief. Some of the professors of the Oriental languages are
Tartars, and I have been told that one of the rooms of the university is
fitted up as a mosque.

"This is a good place to say," continued the Doctor, "that while the
Russian Government makes an earnest effort to convert all its subjects
to the faith of the Orthodox Greek Church, it rarely allows that effort
to take the form of oppression. Sometimes it happens that an
over-zealous priest goes beyond the limit; but as soon as his conduct is
known to the proper authorities he is reprimanded, and replaced by one
who is more cautious. The Polish exiles in Siberia are nearly all
Catholics; the Government builds churches for them, and allows their
priests (generally exiles like their co-religionists) to travel from
place to place in the performance of their religious duties; and as long
as they do not join in any political plots, or make other trouble for
the authorities, they are allowed the greatest freedom. Among the
peasant inhabitants of Siberia a Catholic church is called 'Polish,'
while a Lutheran one is known as 'German.'

"The Moslem and Pagan inhabitants of Asiatic Russia have the most
complete religious freedom; but sometimes, in their zeal to be on good
terms with their rulers, they adopt the new religion without laying
aside the old. I have heard of the chief of a tribe of Yakouts, a savage
and idolatrous people in Northern Siberia, who joined the Russian Church
and was baptized. He attended faithfully to all its observances, and at
the same time did not neglect anything pertaining to his old belief.
When about to make a journey, or to undertake any other enterprise, he
offered prayers in the church, and then summoned the _shaman_, or Pagan
priest of his tribe, to perform incantations and bribe the evil spirits
not to molest him. On being questioned as to his action, he said he was
not certain which belief was the right one, and he wanted to make sure
by professing both."

One of the youths asked the Doctor about the treatment of the Jews in
Russia. He had read that they were greatly oppressed in some parts of
the Empire, and that many of them had been killed for no other reason
than that they were Jews.

"That is quite true," the Doctor answered; "but the outrages were the
work of excited mobs, rather than acts authorized by the Government.
There is much fanaticism among the lower orders of Russians, and they
were roused to what they did by stories which the priests had
circulated. In some of the riots the police and soldiers are accused of
making no effort to restrain the mob; and as they and the rioters are of
the same religion, there is doubtless good ground for the accusation.


"The Jews were first admitted to Russia by Peter the Great, but they
were expelled by his daughter, the Empress Elizabeth. They were
readmitted by Catherine II., and the privileges she had given them were
increased by Alexander I., who, in 1808 and 1809, issued decrees giving
them full liberty of trade and commerce. The grant was revoked by
Nicholas I., and during his time the Jews were subjected to much
oppression. Alexander II. came to their relief, and restored some of
their privileges. During and since his reign they have been fairly
treated in matters of trade, but have been kept down in other ways. Only
a certain number are allowed to practise medicine or keep drug-stores,
and only a specified proportion of Jewish students is allowed at the
schools and colleges.


"A great deal of the trade of the country is in their hands, and they
are noted, as everywhere else in the world, for their industry and
frugality. They do not meddle with the politics of Russia, and the
instances are exceedingly rare of a Jew being convicted of offences of
a political character. In the army they make the best of soldiers, both
for discipline and on the battle-field, where they are noted for their
bravery. They are more numerous in Poland than in any other part of the
Empire, but there is not a province of the whole country ruled by the
Czar where they cannot be found. In their financial transactions they
are not behind their brethren in other parts of the world; and wherever
they are permitted to engage in mechanical pursuits they distance all
their competitors."

[Illustration: A RUSSIAN TROIKA.]

Just as the sun was setting, our friends took a carriage and drove to
the Islands of the Neva, a favorite resort of the people in the warm
months of the year. Great numbers of fashionable carriages were on the
road, _troikas_ being more numerous than any other variety. A _troika_
is so called from the number of its horses, rather than from the form of
the vehicle. Three horses are harnessed abreast, the central one having
above his head the inevitable _duga_, or yoke. In a well-trained
_troika_ the central horse trots, while the two others gallop, with
their heads turned outward. It is a dashing and attractive team, and has
already made its way into other countries than Russia.

The first part of the drive carried Doctor Bronson and his young
companions through streets occupied by the poorer classes, but farther
on they passed great numbers of pretty villas, which are the summer
homes of the well-to-do inhabitants of the city.

[Illustration: A VILLA ON THE ISLAND.]

There is an Imperial villa on one of the islands, and occasionally the
Emperor gives a fête in honor of some event, or for the entertainment of
a foreign guest. At such times the trees are filled with Chinese
lanterns, and the entire building is a blaze of light. The people on the
line of the road follow the Imperial example, and illuminate their
houses, and the traveller who drives there might easily imagine that he
had dropped into a section of fairy-land. Doctor Bronson told the
youths that he was in St. Petersburg at the time of the marriage of the
Emperor's son, the Grand-duke Vladimir, and one of the sights of the
occasion was the illumination of the islands.

"We rode through three or four miles of illuminations," said the Doctor,
"and it seemed as though they would never come to an end. At the very
entrance of the islands we passed the summer residence of Count Gromoff,
one of the millionaires of St. Petersburg, and found it transformed into
a palace of fire. Not a tree or bush in the large garden in front of the
house was without its cluster of lanterns, and one of our party remarked
that it seemed as though half the stars in the sky had fallen and found
a lodgement there. In the centre of the scene were the monograms of the
Emperor and Empress, and of the newly-wedded pair, outlined in gas-jets;
above and behind them was an Imperial mantle surmounted with a crown,
and all made with the burning gas. Then the whole cottage was delineated
with thousands of lights, and we agreed that never in our lives had we
seen such a beautiful picture. Nothing ever produced on the stage of a
theatre could equal it.

"Occasionally we came near the water, and wherever we did so it was
covered with boats which were as freely illuminated as the trees and
houses on shore. Boat-houses and bath-houses were similarly lighted up,
and as they are numerous in this part of the Neva, they formed an almost
continuous line along the river's bank. We were compelled to go at a
walk, as the streets and roads were crowded with vehicles, and
consequently our drive through this city of lanterns occupied more than
an hour."

Doctor Bronson gave other details of the celebration which we have not
time to repeat, or, rather, they did not find a place in the note-books
of the youths. The time was passed pleasantly in a contemplation of the
scenes by the way-side--the pretty villas among the trees, the carriages
and their occupants, the people on foot, or gathered in front of the
houses or on the verandas, the crowds in the cafés and restaurants,
which are scattered here and there over the islands, together with other
sights that met their eyes. There was enough to make the fortune of an
artist if he could have placed all the pretty pictures of the evening
upon canvas, and preserved the glow of the northern sky and the twinkle
of the lights. A few houses were illuminated, probably in honor of a
patron saint, or to commemorate an event in the history of the owner of
the establishment. While looking at these illuminations Frank and Fred
tried to imagine the whole place lighted up as Doctor Bronson had
described it on the occasion of the Imperial fête.

[Illustration: A RUSSIAN FAMILY.]

After a ride of two hours or more, the party returned to the hotel,
stopping a few minutes on their way to drink some tea at a _traktir_.
Frank ventured to air the few Russian words he had acquired, and
acquitted himself in fine style.

"_Dai te chai, poshowltz_" ("Give us tea, please"), he said, as they
took their seats at the table.

"_Si chass_," replied the waiter, and in a few moments three glasses of
steaming tea were before them.

The traveller in Russia will hear "_Si chass_" pronounced a good many
times daily while he is in the Empire. It is like the French waiter's
"_Tout de suite_" or the English one's "Coming, sir." Practically they
mean the same thing. The literal translation of "_Si chass_" is "This
hour;" and perhaps this will account for the fact that it is often an
hour before a simple demand can be met. The waiter in Russia is no more
reliable than in other countries, and not generally as intelligent as
the man of the same occupation in a French café. Many of the servants in
the hotels of St. Petersburg are French or German, instead of Russian;
in the best hotels the Russian waiters almost invariably speak French or
German, in addition to their own language.

When the tea-drinking was ended, Frank beckoned the waiter, and
addressed him with the inquiry, "_Skolka stoit_" ("How much does it
cost?"). The waiter comprehended at once, and, somewhat to Frank's
disappointment, placed on the table a written check on which was noted
in figures the indebtedness of the party. The disappointment was not
caused by the price of the tea (only five copecks the glass), but by the
removal of the opportunity for the young man to make further airing of
his Russian by displaying his knowledge of the spoken numerals. The
printed or written figures of the Russian language are the same as those
of other European nations, and a stranger can get along with them
without the least trouble, even though he does not know a word of

Near the hotel they met a party consisting of two policemen and as many
prisoners. The latter appeared to be under the influence of strong
drink, and the policemen did not find it easy to make them move along.
They were not quarrelsome or obstinate; in fact, their limbs were too
weak to allow them to make any resistance.

"They'll have a job of street-sweeping to-morrow," said the Doctor,
"unless the customs have changed since the first time I was here."

"Do they make prisoners sweep the streets?" one of the youths asked.


"They did at that time, and quite likely they do so now," the Doctor
answered. "Every person arrested for intoxication was required to sweep
the streets the next day for a given number of hours, and it is a
strange sight when, as sometimes happens, the sweepers are in the
garments in which they have been wending their devious ways homeward
from a ball, or perhaps from a party where fancy costumes have been
worn. Generally speaking, you see few besides the mujiks, or lower
classes, as the well-dressed people, with money enough in their pockets,
can secure immunity by means of a bribe. A small donation to the proper
officer will set them free; but if they have no money they must do their
share of work with the rest."

"I have read that Russia is the land of bribes," said Fred--"bribes both
great and small."

"It certainly has that reputation," was the reply, "and doubtless not
without justice. The pay of the officials is very small, quite out of
proportion to the expense of living, and the temptation is certainly
great. A Russian once said to me that an official must steal in order
to make an honest living; he did not mean it as a joke, but in sober
earnest, though his language did not exactly express his meaning. He
wanted to say that a man must accept pay for showing zeal in the
interest of any one whose affairs passed through his hands, and unless
he did so he could not properly support himself and family.


"There is a story, of a German savant who was intimate with the Emperor
Nicholas. The latter once asked him to point out any defects in the
system of government, and the savant immediately suggested the universal
system of bribery, which ought to be stopped. The Emperor shook his
head, and said it was impossible to put an end to an evil which was so
widely spread.

"'But your Majesty could issue an Imperial decree against bribery,' the
savant replied, 'and that would prevent it.'

"'But I would have to begin,' said the Emperor, 'by bribing my
Prime-minister to publish the decree, and then I would have to bribe
everybody else to stop taking bribes.'

"I will tell you," the Doctor continued, "what I have been told by
Russians; I do not vouch for the correctness of what they say, but have
no doubt of their veracity. While I have had no business transactions
that involved the payment of money to officials, I have some friends
whose negotiations were altogether stopped, as they believe, by the fact
that they would not give money to persons of influence.

"'If you have dealings with the Government,' so the Russians have told
me, 'you must pay something to each and every man who has power to
expedite or hinder your business. If you do not pay you will not
prosper, and may be certain that your proposals will be rejected. But
you should not offer the money directly to the official, as that would
give great offence.'

"The question arises, 'What is the polite and proper way of doing such
nefarious work?'

"The usual way is to make up your mind what you can afford to pay, and
then put the money in a cigar-case along with two or three cigars.
Having stated the business, you invite the man to smoke (everybody
smokes in Russia), and then you hand him the cigar-case and turn your
back to the window, or look intently at something on the table. He helps
himself to a cigar, and also to the money, and then the affair goes on

"What a rascally business!" exclaimed both the youths in a breath.
Doctor Bronson fully echoed their sentiment, and said he earnestly hoped
the condition of things was not as bad as it is portrayed. "Alexander
II. made a considerable improvement in many things during his reign,"
the Doctor continued, "and it is to be hoped that he reformed the
official system of the Empire in this particular feature."




For the remainder of their stay in the capital Doctor Bronson and the
youths were more leisurely in their movements than during the first few
days. They dismissed the guide, as they felt that they could go around
without his aid, though they occasionally re-engaged him for special
trips when they thought their inexperience would be a bar to their

In thus acting they followed out a plan adopted long before. On arriving
in a strange city where time was limited, they engaged a guide, in order
that they might "do" the stock sights of the place as quickly as
possible. If they were to remain for some time they employed him during
the first two or three days, and afterwards shifted for themselves. This
is an excellent system, and is recommended to all readers of this volume
who may have occasion to travel in foreign lands.

Having familiarized themselves with St. Petersburg, our friends usually
spent the forenoon of each day at the hotel, and the afternoon and part
of the evening in going about the streets, making calls, and otherwise
improving their opportunities. The forenoon was by no means an idle
time. Doctor Bronson was busy with his letters and other matters, while
the youths were engaged in writing up their journals, preparing the
histories which have been mentioned elsewhere, and making various notes
and observations concerning what they saw or learned. In this way they
accumulated much valuable material, and we are specially fortunate in
being permitted to copy at will from what they wrote.

"We have found a great deal to interest us," said Frank in his journal,
when he sat down to make a general commentary on what they had seen,
"and I hardly know where to begin. Of course we have been much
impressed with the great number and variety of the uniforms of the
officers and soldiers of the army; and though we have tried hard to
recognize the different arms of the service at sight, we have not always
succeeded. We wonder how the Emperor himself can know them all, but of
course he must.

[Illustration: AN IMPERIAL NOSEGAY.]

"We have looked for 'The Imperial Nosegay' which one traveller
describes, but have failed thus far to find it. The story goes that one
of the Emperors had a regiment composed of men whose noses were turned
up at an angle of forty-five degrees; whenever a man was found anywhere
in the Empire with that particular kind of nose he was at once drafted
into the regiment. A good many of the peasants have the nose inclined
very much in the air, but facial ornaments of the kind described for the
famous regiment are not strictly the fashion.

"Fred thinks a regiment composed in this way ought to be good soldiers,
as they would be able to smell the smoke of battle a long way off, and
before other regiments would be aware of it. Certainly they ought to
breathe easily, and this ability was considered of great importance by
the first Napoleon. 'Other things being equal,' he used to say, 'always
choose an officer with a large nose. His respiration is more free than
that of the small-nosed man; and with good breathing powers, his mind is
clearer and his physical endurance greater.' Perhaps he realized on his
retreat from Moscow that many of his pursuers were of the kind he


"We have been much interested in the mujiks, or peasants--the lowest
class of the population, and also the largest. Their condition has
improved greatly in the last twenty or thirty years, if what we read
and hear is correct. We had read of the system of serfdom in Russia
before we came here, but did not exactly understand it. Since our
arrival in St. Petersburg we have tried to find out about the serfs, and
here is what we have learned:

"To begin at the end, rather than at the beginning, there are no longer
any serfs in Russia, and consequently we are talking about something
that belongs to the past. Serfdom, or slavery, formerly existed
throughout all Europe--in England, France, Germany, Spain, and other
countries. It has been gradually extinguished, Russia being the last
Christian country to maintain it. Slavery still exists in certain forms
in Turkey; but as the Turks are Moslems, and not Christians, I don't see
why we should expect anything better in that country.

"Serfdom began later in Russia than in any other European country, and
perhaps that fact excuses the Russians for being the last to give it up.
Down to the eleventh century the peasant could move about pretty much as
he liked. The land was the property of all, and he could cultivate any
part of it as long as he did not trespass upon any one else. In many of
the villages the land is still held on this communistic principle, and
is allotted every year, or every two or three years, by the elders. In
some communities the land must be surrendered to the commune every nine
years, while in others the peasant has a life tenancy, or what is called
in law a fee-simple.

"I hear some one ask how it came about that serfdom was established.

"According to our authorities, it came from the state of the country,
which was just a little better than a collection of independent
principalities. The princes were cruel and despotic, and the people
turbulent; murders of princes were very common; the princes could only
protect themselves by organizing large body-guards, which gave each
prince a small army of men around him. In course of time the officers of
these body-guards became noblemen, and received grants of land. At first
the peasants could move about on these estates with perfect freedom, but
during the sixteenth century they were attached to the soil. In other
words, they were to remain where they were when the decree was issued,
and whenever the land was sold they were sold with it.

"It is said that the object of this decree was not so much in the
interest of the land-owners as in that of the Government, which was
unable to collect its taxes from men who were constantly moving about.
Where the land belonged to the Government and not to individuals, the
peasants living upon it became serfs of the Crown, or Crown peasants.
Thus the Russian serf might belong to a prince, nobleman, or other
person, or he might belong to the Government. Private estates were often
mortgaged to the Government; if the mortgage was unpaid and the property
forfeited, the serfs became Crown peasants instead of private ones.


"There was a curious condition about serfdom in Russia, that while the
man and his family belonged to the master, the land which he cultivated
was his own, or at any rate could not be taken from him. The serf owed a
certain amount of labor to his master (ordinarily three days out of
every seven), and could not leave the place without permission. A serf
might hire his time from his master, in the same way that slaves used to
hire their time in America; but he was required to return to the estate
whenever the master told him to do so. Many of the mechanics,
isvoshchiks, and others in the large cities before the emancipation were
serfs, who came to find employment, and regularly sent a part of their
wages to their masters.

"Sometimes the masters were very severe upon the serfs, and treated them
outrageously. A master could send a serf into exile in Siberia without
giving any reason. The record said he was banished 'by the will of his
master,' and that was all. A woman, a serf on an estate, who had a fine
voice, came to Moscow, and found a place in the chorus at the
opera-house. She gradually rose to a high position, and was earning a
large salary, half of which she sent to her master. Out of caprice he
ordered her back to the estate, where she resumed the drudgery of a
peasant life. He refused all offers of compensation, and said his serf
should do what he wished.

"Another serf had established a successful business in Moscow, where he
was employing two or three hundred workmen. The master allowed him to
remain there for years, taking for his compensation a large part of the
serf's earnings, and finally, in a fit of anger, ordered the man home
again. The man offered to pay a hundred times as much as he could earn
on the estate, but the master would not listen to it, and the business
was broken up and ruined.

"Things went on in this way for two or three centuries. Various changes
were made in the laws, and the condition of the serfs, especially of
those belonging to the Crown, was improved from time to time. At last,
in 1861, came the decree of emancipation from the hands of Alexander
II., and the system of serfdom came to an end.

"It was not, as many people suppose, a system of sudden and universal
freedom. The emancipation was gradual, as it covered a period of several
years, and required a great deal of negotiation. The land-owners were
compensated by the Government for their loss; the serfs received grants
of land, varying from five to twenty-five acres, with a house and a
small orchard, and the result was that every agricultural serf became a
small land-owner. Private or Government serfs were treated alike in this
respect, and the condition of the peasant class was greatly improved.

"Since they have been free to go where they like, the serfs have crowded
to the cities in search of employment, and the owners of factories and
shops say they can now obtain laborers much easier than before.
Manufacturing interests have been materially advanced along with
agriculture, and though many persons feared the results of the
emancipation, it is now difficult to find one who would like to have the
old state of things restored.

"Russian emancipation of the serfs and American abolition of slavery
came within a short time of each other. Both the nations have been
greatly benefited by the result, and to-day an advocate of serfdom is as
rare in Russia as an advocate of slavery in the United States."

Frank read to his cousin the little essay we have just quoted; then he
read it to the Doctor, and asked whether it would be well to insert it
in his journal.

"By all means do so," the Doctor replied. "There are not many people in
America who understand exactly what serfdom was, and your essay will do
much to enlighten them."

Accordingly Frank carefully copied what he had written. Impressed with
Doctor Bronson's suggestion, we have reproduced it here, in the
confidence that our youthful readers will find it interesting and

[Illustration: PEASANTS' HUTS.]

"You can add to your account of serfdom," said Doctor Bronson, "that
when it was established by Boris Godounoff, in 1601, it was regarded by
both peasant and noble as a great popular reform, and welcomed with
delight. His decree went into force on Saint George's Day, in the year
named, and its principal provision was that every peasant in the Empire
should in future till and own forever the land which he then tilled and
held. It was an act of great liberality on the part of the Czar, for by
it he gave up millions of acres belonging to the Crown and made them the
property of the peasants.

"The serf of the Crown was to till the land, build his house, pay his
taxes, and serve as a soldier whenever wanted; the private serf existed
under very nearly the same conditions, with the difference that his
life might be more oppressed under a cruel master, and more free under
a kind one, than that of the serf of the Crown. This was what happened
in many instances; and as the masters were more likely to be cruel than
kind, and their tendency was to make as much as possible out of their
possessions, the Crown serf was generally better off than the private


"In the beginning the system was really the reform which was intended,
but very soon it was subject to many abuses. Year by year things grew
worse: owners violated the law by selling serfs away from their estates;
the masters exacted from their serfs every copeck they could earn,
flogged them if they lagged in their labor, and often caused them to be
severely punished or exiled on the merest caprice. Peter the Great
introduced some changes with the best intentions, but they only made
matters worse. He stopped the sale of serfs from the estates, which was
an excellent step; at the same time he ordered that all taxes should be
collected in a lump from the master, who should have the power in turn
to collect from the serfs. The evil of this enactment was very soon
apparent; Peter's successors struggled with the problem, but none made
much headway until Alexander II. came with his act of emancipation,
which you have just mentioned.

"There were several conditions attached to the freedom of the serf under
Alexander's decree," the Doctor continued, "which are not generally
understood. To prevent the peasant resuming again the nomadic life which
serfdom was intended to suppress, it was ordered that no peasant could
leave his village without surrendering forever all right to the lands,
and he was also required to be clear of all claims for rent, taxes,
conscription, private debts, and the like. He was to provide for the
support of any members of his family dependent upon him whom he left
behind, and also present a certificate of membership in another commune,
or exhibit the title-deeds to a plot of land of not less than a given

"These requirements were found an excellent restriction, as under them
only the thrifty and enterprising serfs were able to clear off all
demands upon them and pay the amount required for entering another
community. Men of this class found their way to the cities and larger
towns, where many of them have risen in wealth and influence, while the
quiet, plodding peasants who remained on the estates and tilled their
lands have generally prospered. A gentleman who has studied this
question wrote recently as follows:

"'Opposite and extreme opinions prevail as to the results of
emancipation; yet, on massing and balancing his observations on the
whole, a stranger must perceive that under emancipation the peasant is
better dressed, better lodged, and better fed; that his wife is
healthier, his children cleaner, and his homestead tidier; that he and
his belongings are improved by the gift which changed him from a chattel
to a man. He builds his cabin of better wood, and in the eastern
provinces, if not in all, you find improvements in the walls and roof.
He paints the logs, and fills up the cracks with plaster, where he
formerly left them bare and stuffed with moss. He sends his boys to
school, and goes himself more frequently to church.... The burgher
class and the merchant class have been equally benefited by the change.
A good many peasants have become burghers, and a good many burghers
merchants. All the domestic and useful trades have been quickened into
life. More shoes are worn, more carts are wanted, more cabins are built.
Hats, coats, and cloaks are in higher demand; the bakeries and breweries
find more to do; the teacher gets more pupils, and the banker has more
customers on his books.'"[3]

[3] "Free Russia," by Hepworth Dixon, p. 275.


With a few more words upon serfdom and its relation to other forms of
slavery, the subject was dropped, and our friends went out for a walk.
As they passed along the Nevski they were suddenly involved in a crowd,
and half forced into the door of a shop which they had visited the day
before. They were recognized by the proprietor, who invited them to
enter and make themselves comfortable. "The Emperor is coming in a few
minutes," he explained, "and the police are clearing the way for him."

One of the youths asked if it was always necessary to clear the streets
in this way when the Emperor rode out.


"Not by any means," the shopkeeper replied, "as he often rides out in a
drosky, with only a single attendant following him. He goes at full
speed along the street, and his progress is so rapid that not one person
in twenty can recognize him before he gets out of sight. If he goes less
rapidly he is followed by several officers; and when he rides in a
carriage with two or more horses, he is accompanied by his body-guard of
Circassians, or by a company or section of Cossacks.

"Nicholas and Alexander II. used to drive about quite frequently in a
drosky, which was much like the ordinary ones on the streets, except
that it was neater and more costly, and drawn by the finest horse the
Empire could produce. Since the assassination of Alexander II., and the
plots of the Nihilists against the Imperial life, we rarely see the
Emperor driving in this way, as it would afford too much opportunity for
assassins. Alexander III. generally rides in a carriage, accompanied by
some of his officers and surrounded by his body-guard. Ah! here they

As he spoke a squadron of cavalry came in sight, and soon passed the
shop. Behind the cavalry was a carriage, drawn by two spirited horses.
The Emperor occupied the rear seat, while two officers faced him on the
front seat, and another officer, or possibly an orderly, was on the box
with the driver. The crowd applauded as their ruler rode slowly by them,
and to hear the plaudits one could readily believe that the Emperor is
thoroughly beloved by his subjects. He acknowledged the cheering by
occasionally raising his hand in a military salute. Frank thought he
saluted in rather a mechanical way, from force of long habit. The youths
said they would have recognized him by his portraits, though they were
hardly prepared for the care-worn look which was depicted on his

"After all," whispered Frank to Fred, "one can't be surprised at it, and
I don't know who would want to change places with him. He must live in
constant thought of assassination, and every step he takes must be
carefully watched by those about him. So many plots have been made
against his life, and so many persons of importance have been implicated
in them, that he cannot know how soon a new one will be formed, and can
never tell who about him is faithful. 'Uneasy lies the head that wears a

Behind the carriage was a company of body-guards in Circassian
chain-armor, and with weapons that belonged apparently to a past age.
Fred eagerly asked who and what these men were.

"They are _Cherkass_, or Circassians," replied the shopkeeper, "and were
formerly at war with Russia. You have read of Schamyl, the Circassian
general, who gave Russia a great deal of trouble for a long time, have
you not?"


"Certainly," Fred answered, "I was reading about him only this morning.
He was born about 1797, and from 1828 till 1859 he carried on a
defensive war against the Russians, but was finally overpowered by
greatly superior numbers. He used to avoid regular battles, and caused a
great deal of damage to the Russians by ambuscades, surprises, and
similar warfare."


"That was exactly the case," said their informant, "and the Russians
always acknowledged that he was an accomplished leader both in a
military and political sense. When he surrendered, in 1859, the Emperor
invited him to St. Petersburg, and gave him a residence at Kalooga, with
a handsome pension. He was made a regular guest at court, was treated
with great distinction, and soon became as ardent in the support of
Russia as he had formerly been in opposing her. He was placed in command
of the Emperor's body-guard, which he organized from the warriors that
had formerly served under him. Schamyl died in 1871, but the
organization of the guard was continued. It is whispered that the
Circassians have been replaced by Russians who wear the old uniform; but
certainly, to all outward appearances, the guard remains the same. At
any rate it is picturesque, and that is an important consideration."

The crowd that lined the sidewalk was kept well in hand by the police.
The shopkeeper said that any man who tried to break through the line
would be arrested at once; and no doubt the knowledge of this rule
served materially to preserve order. Russian policemen are not to be
trifled with.

The route that the Emperor is to take when riding out is never known in
these latter days, through fear of plots against his life. The
precaution is a very proper one, but it requires a large police force to
guard all the avenues and streets by which he may pass. Orders are sent
for the police to prepare three or four routes, one only being
traversed, and the direction is not given to the leader of the escort
until the Emperor is seated in the carriage. Sometimes none of the
routes which have been guarded are taken, and the Emperor enjoys a ride
with nothing but his escort for his protection. It is said the Czar is
averse to all this precaution, but is guided by the wishes of the
Imperial Council and the members of his household.

Our friends thanked the shopkeeper for his politeness and information,
and, as the crowd had melted away, continued their walk. Frank observed
that the police did not move away, and this fact led him to surmise that
the Emperor intended returning by the same route.

"Of course that is quite possible," said the Doctor, in response to
Frank's suggestion, "but it is not worth our while to remain on the
chance of his doing so. It is more than likely he will return to the
palace by another road; and even if he comes through the Nevski we could
see no more than we have seen already. Besides, we might arouse
suspicion in the minds of the police by remaining long on this spot, and
suspicion, however groundless, is not desirable. When the Emperor goes
out the police have orders to arrest every one whose conduct is in the
least degree questionable, and so we had better continue our walk."

They suited their actions to the Doctor's word, and did not tarry on the
Nevski. Very soon they met another cortege, which they ascertained to be
the escort of the Chief of Police.


They had a curiosity to see his face, but were disappointed, as he was
closely surrounded by his officers and men. Doctor Bronson remarked that
the Chief of Police was the most powerful man in Russia, next to the

"How is that?" Fred asked. "I thought the most powerful man next to the
Emperor was the commander-in-chief of the armies."

"There is this difference," the Doctor answered, "that the Chief of
Police is the only man in Russia who has the right to go into the
Emperor's presence at any hour of the day or night. Not even the
Field-marshal-in-chief of the Army or the Grand Admiral of the Navy can
do that.

"The Ministers of War, Navy, and Foreign Affairs have a right to an
audience with the Emperor every day, while the Ministers of Education,
Railways and Telegraphs, Finance, and other home matters, can only see
him once or twice a week. But at any hour of the day the Minister of
Police can send his name, and immediately follows the messenger into the
Emperor's office; at any hour of the night he may have the Emperor waked
and told that the Minister of Police has an important communication to

"Do you suppose that is often done?" one of the youths inquired.

"Probably not very often," replied Doctor Bronson, "but how frequently
the outside public cannot possibly know. In ordinary times it is not
likely the minister would ever exercise his right, as it is not wise to
wake an emperor from a sound sleep, especially when you have bad news
for him. But when assassins are making plots all around the capital and
palace, the Emperor's safety may easily require that he should have a
personal warning. In such case the Minister of Police would not hesitate
to perform his duty."


Their walk took them to the Summer Gardens, where they sat down on one
of the benches and watched the groups of children and nurse-maids,
together with other groups of old and young that comprised the visitors
to the place. As they sat there the conversation recurred to their
recent topic, the police.

"The public police is organized very much like the same service in other
countries. There are some points of difference, but they are not great
enough to be mentioned at length. One objection to the Russian public
police is that in the cities and large towns the policemen are nearly
all soldiers who have served their time in the army, and receive police
appointments as rewards. Their long service in the army imbues them with
the greatest deference to the uniform of an officer, no matter what its
wearer may be. The result is the policemen salute every officer that
passes, and thus their attention is drawn from their duties;
furthermore, an officer can misbehave himself as much as he pleases, and
run very little risk of being arrested like an ordinary offender."

"What can you tell us about the secret police?" one of the youths asked.

[Illustration: "WHO IS THE SPY?"]

"I can't tell you much about it," was the reply; "and if I could it
would not be a secret police. It used to be a saying that where three
men were together one was sure to be a spy, and one or both the others
might be. The spies were in all classes of society, and paid by the
police. They did not know each other, and it quite often happened that
two of them would report against each other, doubtless to the amusement
of the officials who compared their documents. If common gossip is true,
the evil was greater in the time of Nicholas than under any other
emperor, but many people say it is about as bad at one time as another.

"The clerk in the hotel, the waiter in the restaurant, the shopkeeper who
was so polite to us, the tailor, hatter, boot-maker, milliner, or any
other tradesman, any or all of them--women as well as men--may be in the
employ of the Government, and report your movements and conversation.
Nobody knows who is a spy, and nobody knows who is not. Consequently it
is an excellent rule in Russia never to say anything in the hearing of
any one else than ourselves that can be called in question. Mind, I
don't know of my own knowledge that there is such a thing as a secret
police, nor that such a person as a police spy exists in Russia. Having
never said or done anything to which the Emperor or his most zealous
officer could object, I have no fear of being interfered with.

"Here are some of the stories which were current in the time of

"A retired officer of the English army lived for several years in St.
Petersburg. His manners were genial, and he made many friends both among
the foreigners living here and those who visited Russia. He died
suddenly one day, and one of his countrymen who was present at the time
took charge of his effects. His papers revealed the fact that he was a
spy of the Government, and was specially employed to watch foreigners.

"Soon after the Revolution of 1848 a party of French gentlemen in St.
Petersburg met at the house of one of their friends. They had songs and
speeches, and a pleasant evening generally; and as all were intimate,
and of the same nationality, they were not at all cautious about their
conversation. The only servants present were Russians, and none of them
was known to understand French. Next morning the host was summoned to
the Police Bureau, where he was politely received. The official read off
the list of persons present, and a very accurate report of the songs,
toasts, and speeches of the evening. Then he asked the host if the
account was correct. The latter tremblingly answered that it was, and
was then told he had been very imprudent--an assertion he could not well
deny. He was dismissed with a caution not to repeat the imprudence, and
you may be sure he did not. He never gave another party, and never could
he guess whether the spy was one of his guests and compatriots, or one
of the servants who understood French while pretending to be ignorant of

"A great reform has taken place, and matters which were formerly in the
control of the police are now managed by courts of law. Trial by jury
has been established, and though there are many hinderances on account
of the scarcity of lawyers and judges and the ignorance of jurors, the
system is working well. The law-schools are filled with students, and in
a few years the machinery of the courts will not be unlike that of other


"But the police power is still too great for the safety of the people,
and probably no persons are more aware of it than are the Emperor and
his advisers. The police can imprison or exile a man for 'administrative
purposes' without any trial whatever, and without even letting him know
the nature of his offence. The police may, in certain cases, revise a
sentence which has been decreed by a court, and punish a man who has
been acquitted after trial, but they do not often exercise the right.

"The author of 'Free Russia' says that while he was staying at Archangel
an actor and actress were brought there one day and set down in the
public square, with orders to take care of themselves, but on no account
to leave town without the governor's permission. They had been sent from
the capital on a mere order of the police, without trial, without even
having been heard in defence, and with no knowledge of the offence
alleged against them. They had no means of support, but managed to eke
out an existence by converting a barn into a theatre, and giving
performances that hardly rose to the dignity of the name of plays.

"An agent of the police had driven up to their doors and told them to
get ready to start for Archangel in three hours. That was all; in three
hours they were on their way to exile.

"The same writer said there was also at Archangel a lady of middle age
who had been banished from St. Petersburg on the mere suspicion that she
had been concerned in advising some of the students at the university to
send an appeal to the Emperor for certain reforms which they desired.
There was no other charge against her, and those who made her
acquaintance at Archangel were impressed with her entire innocence, as
she did not possess in any way the qualities necessary for intrigue.
Like the actor and actress just mentioned, she had had no trial, and no
opportunity to be heard in defence.

"A young novelist named Gierst published some stories which evidently
gave offence. He was called upon at midnight, and told to get ready to
depart immediately. Away he went, not knowing whither, until the horses
stopped at the town of Totma, six hundred miles from St. Petersburg.
There he was told to stay until fresh orders came from the Ministry of
Police. None of his friends knew where he had gone; his lodgings were
empty, and all the information that could be obtained was from a servant
who had seen him start. His letters were seized, the newspapers were
forbidden to say anything about him, and it was only by a ruse that he
was able to let his friends know where he was.

"Any number of these incidents are narrated," the Doctor continued, "and
they all show the dangerous power that is in the hands of the police. It
is said that it would have been curtailed years ago but for the rise and
spread of Nihilism, which has rendered it necessary to continue the
privilege of the police to revise sentences, or imprison and exile
without trial, 'for administrative purposes.' Let us hope that the
better day will come very soon."

"I join heartily in that hope," said Frank. Fred echoed the words of his
cousin, and they rose and continued their promenade.




While greatly enjoying their summer visit to St. Petersburg, Frank and
Fred regretted that they did not have the opportunity of seeing the
capital in winter. They heard much about the gayety of the winter
season, and wondered if their journeyings would ever bring them there at
the time when the snow covered the ground and the Neva was sealed with

For their consolation Doctor Bronson told them of his winter experience
of the city. His story was about as follows:

"I arrived here in the latter part of January, when the temperature was
running very low. The ordinary mercury thermometer, which freezes at 39°
below zero, was of no use, as the mercury would be frozen solid almost
every day. Spirit thermometers are the only practicable ones for
northern Russia, and during my stay here they marked -53° Fahrenheit.
This is an unusual and extreme figure, the mean winter temperature being
about 18° above zero. The average summer temperature is 62°, and the
extreme summer figure 99°.

"Everybody wears furs or sheepskins in winter; they are donned when the
frosts come, and not laid aside till the trees are budding. Furs are for
the rich, or those who pretend to be so, and sheepskins for the lower
classes. Both kinds of garments are worn with the fur or wool inside;
the fur coat or cloak has a backing of cloth, while the sheepskin coat
has only the skin of the animal without any cloth addition."

One of the boys asked what kinds of furs were most in use.

"Nearly everything that bears the name of fur," was the reply; "but
fashion rules here as everywhere else, and it often happens that a fur
will be in great demand at one time and quite neglected a few years
later. Sable is the most expensive fur, and a coat or cloak lined with
it is worth all the way from five hundred to five thousand dollars,
depending upon the excellence of the skins. Another fur, that of the
black fox, is still more costly; but as it is worn only by the Imperial
family and the highest nobility, it does not come into our category.

[Illustration: FUR-BEARING SEALS.]

"Coats lined with astrachan (the soft wool of very young lambs) are
fashionable, and bring high prices. I have known of coats of this kind
selling for six or eight hundred dollars each. I took to America a cap
of astrachan wool; it cost me about three dollars, and with my
inexperienced eye I could not distinguish it from one that sold for ten
times as much. My Russian friends could readily detect the difference;
but as I was buying the cap for American and not for Russian use, I was
quite content with my purchase."

"Why is this fur or wool called 'astrachan?'" one of the youths asked.

[Illustration: SEA-OTTER.]

"It comes here from Astrachan, at the mouth of the Volga," said the
Doctor. "Its preparation is one of the industries of Central Asia, for
which Astrachan is the great market. This fur is black, and remarkably
soft and silky. The lamb is killed immediately after he sees the light,
and the younger he is at the time of his death the finer and more
valuable is the skin. Persia supplies large quantities of this fur, and
it varies from black to gray or white.

[Illustration: THE BEAVER.]

"I mentioned the black fox as a very costly fur. The Emperor has a cloak
which is valued at ten thousand dollars; only an emperor or some one
else with plenty of money at his command could afford such a garment.
The fur of the black fox is rarely seen outside of Russia, as only a
small quantity of it comes to market. Plenty of counterfeit fur of this
kind can be found in England; it is made by dyeing the skin of the
common fox, and the work is done so skilfully as to defy detection by
any one not an expert in the fur trade.

[Illustration: THE ERMINE.]

"Sea-otter, mink, marten, beaver, fur-seal, lynx, and raccoon are the
furs in general use for lining garments in Russia. Otter, seal, and mink
furs are expensive, and so is that of another animal I had almost
omitted from the list, the ermine. Ermine fur was formerly the badge of
royalty, and in some countries it could be worn only by the members of
the Royal or Imperial family, or by the judges in the high courts. In
England you often hear the judges spoken of as 'wearers of the ermine;'
the fur has been used for lining the robes of the judges, its snowy
whiteness being considered an emblem of purity. The tip of the tail of
the ermine is black, and in making robes the white surface is dotted at
regular intervals with the black tips. Where they are not sufficient for
the purpose, the paws of the Astrachan lamb are used instead.

[Illustration: THE RACCOON.]

"The fur you see most frequently in Russia in the winter season is that
of the raccoon. I bought a coat lined with this fur when I arrived in
St. Petersburg, and paid the equivalent of eighty dollars for it. I did
not recognize the skin as that of a compatriot, and was only aware of
its origin when informed by a Russian friend. A fur-dealer in New York
afterwards told me that half a million raccoon-skins are sent annually
to London, and nearly all of them find their way to Russia.

"Another animal whose fur comes from America to Russia is that
odoriferous creature, the skunk. A friend of mine bought a coat of this
kind under the impression that the fur grew on the back of a young bear.
In cold weather, and out-of-doors, it was all right, and no one could
have known the difference; but when the weather grew warm, and a thaw
made the atmosphere moist, my friend's coat was not a pleasant article
of wear. I believe he sold it to the manager of a glue factory, whose
nose had lost its sensitiveness through his peculiar occupation.

"So much for the materials, and now for the garment. A Russian _shooba_,
or cloak, extends from the head to the heels of the wearer; the sleeves
cover the finger-tips, or very nearly so, and the collar, when turned
up, will completely encircle and conceal the head. The head-covering is
a cap of the pattern you see often in pictures, and once called in
America the 'pork-pie.' The coat is excellent for riding purposes. One
can walk a short distance in such a garment, but it is really
inconvenient for a promenade.

"But as everybody who can afford to ride does so, the awkwardness of the
_shooba_ is of little consequence. The streets abound in sledges, and
you may be whisked here, there, and everywhere at a very rapid rate for
a reasonable price. The streets are far gayer in winter than in summer,
for the reason that there are so many more vehicles in motion, and I
know of no more active spectacle than the Nevski on a clear day in

"The bells on the sleighs must make a merry tinkling," said one of the
boys, with a smile.

"Quite wrong," said the Doctor, returning the smile, "as there are no
bells at all."

"No bells on the sleighs!" was the surprised reply. "Then the law is not
like ours in America?"

"Exactly the reverse," answered the Doctor. "In the United States we
require them, and in Russia they forbid them. We argue that unless bells
are worn on the horses the approach of a sleigh could not be perceived;
the Russians argue that in the confusion caused by the sound of bells
one could not hear the warning shout of the driver, and would be liable
to be run over. Both are right; sleighs are not sufficiently numerous
with us to cause confusion, while in Russia their great numbers would
certainly bring about the result the Russians dread.

"But it is in the cities and towns only," the Doctor continued, "that
the bell is forbidden. On the country roads any one travelling in a
post-carriage carries bells on the _duga_--the yoke above the neck of
the shaft-horse--but he must remove them before entering a town. Most of
these bells are made at Valdai, a town on the road from St. Petersburg
to Moscow, and the place of their origin is preserved in some of the
sleighing songs of the country.

"Balls, parties, receptions, dances, dinners, theatricals, operas,
anything and everything belonging to fashionable life, can be found in
St. Petersburg in winter. Any one with introductions can be as gay as he
wishes, and it is a wonder to a quiet and ease-loving man that the
Russians can survive this sort of thing year after year. A fashionable
Russian rarely gets to bed before two or three o'clock in the morning;
it is true he may sleep late, but if he has any official engagements his
hours of slumber will be few. A winter in St. Petersburg is a heavy
drain on one's vital forces, and also upon the pocket. Living is dear,
and it is well said that this city is the most costly capital of Europe,
with the possible exception of Madrid.

"The Neva freezes near the end of October or early in November, and
remains frozen until May. Nobody is allowed to venture on the ice until
it has been officially declared that the river is frozen over; and in
the spring, when the ice melts, the official declaration is necessary
before a single boat can put out from shore, or even be launched. When
the river is opened there is an elaborate ceremony, and a part of the
performance includes taking a glass of water from the river and
presenting it to the Emperor. His Majesty drinks the water and fills the
glass with gold coin. It was observed that the size of the glass
increased annually, until it assumed the proportions of a respectable
flower-vase. The Imperial stomach could not hold so much water at once,
and the Imperial purse objected to the price. A compromise was effected
by fixing a certain sum to be paid, instead of filling the glass with

"Skating and riding on the ice have a prominent place in the amusements
of Russia in winter. Coasting on artificial ice-hills is also a standard
sport, in which all classes of people take part. It is especially in
order during 'Butter-week' and the Easter festivities, and is one of the
winter sights of all cities in the Empire."

"How do they make these ice-hills?" Fred asked.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN ICE-HILLS.]

"A scaffold is raised to the height of thirty or forty feet, the posts
being set in holes drilled in the frozen earth or pavement, and fixed in
their places by pouring water around them. In a few minutes the water is
converted into ice and the post is immovable. On one side of the
scaffold there are steps for ascending it, and generally there is a
track at the side for drawing up the sleds. The other side slopes off
very steeply at the start; then it becomes more gentle, and finally
extends a considerable distance on a level.

"Blocks of ice are laid on the slope; water is poured over them to be
converted into ice and make a smooth surface; and when the slide is
completed and opened it is thronged by patrons. It takes away one's
breath at first when he is pitched over the edge of the slope and finds
himself rushing with a speed surpassing that of a railway-train. The
impetus gained in the first part of the descent is sufficient to carry
the sled a long distance on the level. I tried the slide two or three
times, and think if I had been ten or twenty years younger I should have
enjoyed it very much."

"Where do they put up these ice-hills?" Frank inquired.

"Several are erected in Admiralty Square," said the Doctor, "and others
in various other squares and along the bank of the river. They are
frequently arranged so that the level part of the slide is over the ice
of the Neva, and care is taken that the track shall be smooth as glass.
There are usually two of these hills side by side, the slides being in
opposite directions.

"Those I speak of are for the general public. Smaller slides are in the
court-yards of private houses, and there are imitations of them in many
summer-houses, where polished wood takes the place of ice. One of the
slides in the Imperial palace is of mahogany, which has been polished
till it shines like a finely finished bureau or wardrobe.


"The time to see St. Petersburg in all its winter glory is during
'_Maslinitza_,' or 'Butter-week,' which ushers in the 'Great Fast'
preceding Easter. The whole population is engaged in enjoying itself.
_Blinni_, or pancakes, are the favorite articles of food, and thousands
of digestions are upset by the enormous quantities of these things that
are devoured. They are made of flour and butter, fried in butter, and
eaten with butter-sauce. Butter and other fatty foods are in order
through the week; and from a sanitary point of view this great
consumption of grease, followed by seven weeks of fasting, leads to
frightful results. Statistics show that the mortality rate is largely
increased at this time of the year, and certainly it is not to be
wondered at. Rich and poor alike give themselves up to butter, and the
only difference is that the rich have the best qualities of the article,
and sometimes a greater quantity.

"The rich people sometimes have _blinni_ parties during the festive
season. I once attended one of these affairs at the invitation of a
Russian friend. When we met in the parlors I was surprised that so few
were present, as I had dined there before and knew he could accommodate
twice the number. But I saw the reason when the word was given that the
pancakes were ready and our host led the way.

"We were not taken to the dining-room but to the kitchen, and then it
was explained that _blinni_ parties are given in the kitchen, and no
more people are invited than the place can accommodate. The _blinni_ are
eaten on the spot, as fast as they are cooked, and it is a prime object
to have them hot from the griddle. We had a very jolly time there, but
for several days my stomach was like an embryo Vesuvius in consequence
of making a whole meal of this rich food. Think of an entire dinner of
buckwheat-cakes or fried 'turnovers,' the stuff that dreams are made


One of the boys wished to know about the Easter kissing for which Russia
is famous.


"Well, it is one of the sights of Russia, with agreeable and
disagreeable features. It is not literally the case that everybody
kisses everybody else, but that statement is not so very far out of the
way after all. I passed through one Easter, and it was quite enough for
a lifetime. I was kissed by men and women almost innumerable. If the
kissing could have been confined to the young and pretty women, or even
to the comely ones of middle or advanced life, I should have borne the
infliction patiently; but when I was obliged to receive the salutation
from men, of all ages and all conditions of cleanliness, or its reverse,
it was too much for comfort. All Russia kisses all the rest of Russia at
Easter, and any foreigner who may be here at the time is treated like a
subject of the Czar. The old adage that 'Kissing goes by favor' is
entirely set aside; custom makes it well-nigh universal."


"When does the ceremony begin, and how long is it kept up?" said one of
the youths.


"It begins at midnight, as the clock sounds the hour of twelve and
ushers in the Easter day. A little before midnight the whole of Russia
goes to church. The Emperor and all his family assemble in the Imperial
chapel, and every church and chapel in the Empire is filled. As the
clock begins striking the hour the whole congregation is wrapped in
silence; at the last stroke of the bell the doors of the sanctuary of
the church are thrown open and the waiting priests come forth.

"'_Christus voskress_' ('Christ is risen') is intoned by the priests,
and the song is taken up by the choir, to be followed by the response,
'_Christus voskress ihs mortvui_' ('Christ is risen from the dead'). The
priests walk through the congregation repeating the words and swinging
their censers.

"The beginning of the chant is the signal for the kissing. Friends and
acquaintances are generally standing together, and each kisses every
other one of the group. Those who have the slightest possible
acquaintance kiss each other, and at each and every kiss the two phrases
I have given are repeated. At the same instant that the signal is given
by the opening of the doors of the sanctuary, the churches are
illuminated both inside and out, every bell is rung, and the pealing of
cannon and the flashing of rockets show how much the festival is a
national one.

"The kissing is continued through the night and all the next day, and
even for several days all relatives, friends, and acquaintances salute
each other with _Chritus voskress_ and a kiss; every isvoshchik, porter,
dustman--in fact every peasant of every name and kind kisses every other
peasant he has ever known, and a great many whom he never saw before.
Clerks in the public offices kiss each other, officers and soldiers of
the army salute in the same way, the general kissing all his subordinate
officers, the colonel of a regiment kissing all the officers beneath
him, and also a deputation of the soldiers, while the captain and
lieutenants kiss all the soldiers of their companies. The same order is
observed in the navy and in all the official ranks, and the number of
osculations in the Empire in that one day of the year is quite beyond
the power of calculation."

"Are the Emperor and Empress subject to the same rule as other people?"
was the very natural inquiry which followed.


"Certainly," was the reply; "the ceremony is closely connected with the
religion of the country, and as the Emperor is the head of the Church,
he could not possibly secure exemption from this ancient custom. The
Emperor and Empress must salute all the members of the Imperial family
as a matter of course, and also all the court officials and attendants;
and after this ceremony is over the Empress must give her hand to be
kissed by every officer above the rank of colonel who has the right of
attendance at court. The Emperor kisses all his officers on parade, and
also a delegation of soldiers selected as representatives of the army.
The military parades for the Imperial kiss last several days, as it
would be impossible to go through the ceremonial with all the regiments
around St. Petersburg in a single revolution of the earth.

"Easter makes an end of the long fast of seven weeks, which has been
kept by all faithful members of the Church with great rigor. The lower
classes refrain even from fish during the first and last weeks of the
fast, and also on Wednesdays and Fridays of the other five. It is no
wonder that they precede it with the festivities of 'Butter-week,' so
that the recollection of the good time they have had will be a
consolation during the fast. With the kissing of Easter begins a period
of feasting, both in eating and drinking, which is by no means famous
for its moderation. Many of the mujiks are sadly intoxicated before the
setting of the sun at Easter, and they are by no means the only persons
who exhibit the effects of too liberal potations."

From Easter and its kisses the conversation wandered to other subjects.
Fred asked how the houses were kept warm in the intense cold of a
Russian winter.


"Some of the more modern buildings of St. Petersburg and Moscow," said
the Doctor, "are warmed by furnaces not unlike those used in America.
But the true _peitchka_, or Russian stove, is of brick, and is generally
built so as to form the common centre of three or four rooms and warm
them all at once. In the huts of the peasants the top of the stove is
utilized as a bed, and it is usually large enough for three or four
persons to lie there with comparative comfort."

"Do they keep the fire going there all the time during the winter?"

"Not exactly," was the reply, "though in a certain sense they do. Every
morning the fire is kindled in the stove, which resembles an enormous
oven, and is kept burning for several hours. When it has burned down to
a bed of coals, so that no more carbonic gas can be evolved, the chimney
is closed, and port-holes near the top of the stove are opened into the
room or rooms. The hot air comes out and warms the apartments, and there
is enough of it to keep a good heat for twelve or fifteen hours.

"The port-holes must be carefully closed during the combustion of the
wood, in order to prevent the escape of poisonous gas. Sometimes they
are opened when there is still some flame burning. A Russian will
instantly detect the presence of this gas, and open a window or rush
into the open air, but strangers, in their ignorance, are occasionally
overpowered by it.

"Several instances are on record of strangers losing their lives by
_ougar_, as the Russians call this poisonous gas from the stove. Among
them, some twenty years ago, was the son of a Persian ambassador, who
was smothered in one of the principal hotels of Moscow. When a person is
overpowered by _ougar_, and found insensible, he is carried out-of-doors
and rolled in the snow--a severe but efficacious remedy.

"Then, too, the cold is excluded by means of double or triple windows,
little cones of paper filled with salt being placed between the windows
to absorb whatever moisture collects there. Russian houses are very
poorly ventilated, and frequently, on entering from the open air, you
are almost stifled by the foul atmosphere that seems to strike you in
the face like a pugilist.

"It is probably the condition of the air in which they live, combined
with late hours and the exactions of fashionable life, that gives such
an aspect of paleness to nearly all the Russian women above the peasant
class. A fresh, ruddy complexion, such as one sees almost universally
throughout England, and quite generally in America, is almost unknown
among Russian ladies. If the Emperor would issue a decree requiring the
houses of the Empire to be properly ventilated, he would confer a
blessing on his faithful subjects, and save or prolong thousands of

"The peasants sometimes use their stoves for baths," said the Doctor, to
the great surprise of his youthful auditors.

"How is that possible?" one of them asked. "Do they fill the stove with
water the same as they would a bath-tub?"

"Not exactly," the Doctor answered, smilingly. "You know the character
of the Russian bath as we find it in New York and other American

"Certainly," was the reply. "It is a room filled with steam, and with a
series of benches on which you lie and are heated, the highest bench
being hottest of all."

[Illustration: A BATH IN THE EAST.]

"The Russian bath of the best class here," said Doctor Bronson, "is
arranged in the same way. The more primitive bath is simply a room with
benches, and a fire on a pile of hot stones. Water is thrown over the
stones and converted into steam, and the finishing touch is to mount to
the topmost bench while an attendant deluges the stones with water and
raises a cloud that threatens to scald you. The most profuse
perspiration is the result, and the bath is no doubt a great sanitary
institution. The Turkish bath is much like the Russian, hot, dry air
taking the place of steam.

"Taken properly, the Russian bath has no bad effects, and is beneficial
in rheumatism, gout, certain forms of neuralgia, and several other
diseases. It is a wonderful restorative when you have been shaken up in
carriages on Russian roads, and an excellent thing after a journey of
any kind. Every good Russian considers it his duty to bathe once a week,
but he does not always adhere to the rule.

"In every village there is a bath-house which is the general property of
the villagers, and maintained by popular contribution. When a peasant
has no bath-house he creeps into his stove, bakes himself on the hot
ashes, and after perspiring freely crawls out and is drenched with
water. Nearly every private house has its bath, which is generally in a
small building in the yard, rather than in the dwelling-house. In all
the large cities there are numerous bathing establishments, some of them
fitted up in gorgeous style, while others are of the plainest and
cheapest sort. The Russians are quite gregarious in their bathing
habits, and think no more of taking a bath in the presence of each other
than of dining in a restaurant."

"Is it true that the Russians finish a bath by having iced water poured
over them, or by taking a plunge into it?"

"It is the custom to close the pores of the skin by means of cold, but
not ice-cold water. The attendant begins the work of the bath by
throwing water over you, first warm, then hot, then hotter, and then
hottest. This drenching is followed by the steaming process and a gentle
flogging with birchen rods or switches to stimulate perspiration. Then
you are soaped and scrubbed, the scrubbing being performed usually with
birchen shavings, which are thoroughly and vigorously applied.

"After this you are again drenched with buckets of water, beginning with
warm and going on a descending scale to cold, so that there shall be no
shock to the system. Men have rushed from the bath into a snow-bank, but
this is not the custom; the peasants frequently leave the bath to take a
swim in the river, but only in mild weather. No doubt there have been
cases of bathing voluntarily through the ice or in iced water, but you
must search far and wide to find them."

Frank remarked that he thought one should exercise great care in going
into the open air in winter after taking a bath. Doctor Bronson
explained that this was the reason of the drenching with cold water, so
that the pores of the skin would be closed and the chances of taking
cold greatly reduced.

"It is quite a shock to the system," said the Doctor, "to pass from in
doors to out, or from out doors to in, during the Russian winter. The
houses are generally heated to about 70° Fahrenheit; with the
thermometer at zero, or possibly ten, twenty, or more degrees below, it
is like stepping from a furnace to a refrigerator, or _vice versa_. But
the natives do not seem to mind it. I have often seen a mujik rise from
his couch on the top of the stove, and after tightening his belt and
putting on his boots and cap, mount the box of a sleigh and drive for
two or three hours in a temperature far below zero."

"I have read somewhere," said Fred, "about the danger of losing one's
ears and nose by frost, and that it is the custom in St. Petersburg and
Moscow to warn any one that he is being frozen. Did you ever see a case
of the kind?"


"It is a strange circumstance," replied the Doctor, "that nearly every
tourist who has been in Russia, even for only a week or so, claims to
have seen a crowd running after a man or woman, calling out '_Noss!
noss!_' and when the victim did not understand, seizing him or her and
rubbing the nose violently with snow.

"One writer tells it as occurring to a French actress; another, to an
English ambassador; another, to an American politician; and in each case
the story is varied to give it a semblance of truth. I was in Moscow and
St. Petersburg during January and February; and though constantly
watching to see somebody's nose pulled, was doomed to disappointment. I
asked my Russian friends about it, and none of them was wiser than I.
One said it might happen once in a great while, but it was safe to
conclude that everybody knew enough to take care of his own nose."

Frank asked how one could tell when his nose was freezing, or how
observe the freezing of another's.

"The nose and ears become numb and turn white," was the reply, "and that
indicates the beginning of the freezing. When this is the condition
nothing but a vigorous rubbing to restore the circulation will prevent
the loss of those organs. It is for protection from the frost that the
Russians keep their faces wrapped in furs; and if a man has any doubt
about the condition of his facial attachments he will touch them
occasionally to make sure. When you pinch your nose and do not feel the
pinch, it is time to rub with snow, promptly and with energy.

"Severe cold is very inconvenient for the wearer of a mustache, as he
speedily gathers a great quantity of ice there by the congelation of the
moisture of his breath. A man's beard becomes a frozen mass in a little
while. Beard and furs frequently freeze together, and render a sudden
turn of the head a matter of great annoyance. Ladies find their veils
stiffening into something like wire gauze when the thermometer runs low.
They disdain the bonnet of London or Paris, and sensibly enclose their
head in hoods lined with fur, and having capes descending well into the

"Horses become white in a short time, no matter what may be their real
color, from the formation of frost all over their bodies. Their breath
suggests steam more than anything else, and the long hairs around their
noses are turned into icy spikes. In the severest weather pigeons have
been seen to fall to the ground paralyzed with the cold, but it is quite
likely that their flights were forced, and the birds were half frozen
before taking wing."

Frank asked if it often happened that people were frozen to death in
these Russian winters.

"Occurrences of this kind probably take place every year," was the
reply, "but from all I have been able to learn I believe the number is
exaggerated. In many cases it is the fault of the frozen ones
themselves; they have been rendered insensible or careless by
stimulants, and gone to sleep in the open air. The tendency to sleep
when one is exposed to severe cold should be resisted, as it is very
likely to be the sleep of death.

[Illustration: LOST IN A SNOW-STORM.]

"There is a story of two travellers who saw a third in trouble; one of
them proposed to go to the relief of the man in distress, but the other
refused, saying he would not stir out of their sleigh. The first went
and relieved the sufferer; his exertions set the blood rushing through
his veins and saved him from injury by the cold, while the one who
refused to render aid was frozen to death.

"It is a curious fact," said the Doctor, in closing his remarks upon the
Russian winter, "that foreigners coming here do not feel the cold at
first. They walk the streets in the same clothing they would wear in
London or Paris, and laugh at the Russians wrapping themselves in furs.
At the same time the Russians laugh at them and predict that if they
stay in the country for another season they will change their ways. A
stranger does not feel the cold the first winter as sensibly as do the
Russians, but in every succeeding season of frost he is fully sensitive
to it, and vies with the natives in constant use of his furs."



A day was appointed for leaving St. Petersburg. Notice was given at the
office of the hotel, and the passports of the three travellers received
the necessary indorsements at the Police Bureau. Trunks were packed and
bills settled, and at the proper time a carriage conveyed the party to
the commodious station of the Imperial Railway from the new capital of
Russia to the old. But they did not take their tickets direct for

As before stated, the railway between the two great cities of the Czar's
dominions is very nearly a straight line, and was laid out by the
Emperor Nicholas with a ruler placed on the map and a pencil drawn along
its edge. There is consequently no city of importance along the route,
with the exception of Tver, where the line crosses the Volga. Novgorod,
the oldest city of Russia, is about forty miles from the railway as
originally laid out. Until within a few years it was reached by steamers
in summer from Volkhova Station, seventy-five miles from St. Petersburg.
In winter travellers were carried in sledges from Chudova Station (near
Volkhova), and to novices in this kind of travel the ride was

Latterly a branch line has been completed to Novgorod, and one may leave
St. Petersburg at 9 A.M. and reach Novgorod at 6 P.M. The pace of the
trains is not dangerously fast, and accidents are of rare occurrence.
Between Moscow and St. Petersburg (four hundred and three miles) the
running time for express trains is twenty hours, and for way trains
twenty-three to twenty-five hours. Nine hours from St. Petersburg to
Novgorod (one hundred and twenty miles) should not startle the most
timorous tourist.

Doctor Bronson had told the youths some days before their departure that
they would visit Novgorod on their way to Moscow. He suggested that he
desired them to be informed about its history, and soon after the train
started he referred to the subject.


"It is rather an odd circumstance," said Frank, "that the oldest city in
Russia is called Novgorod, or 'New City.' _Novo_ means 'new,' and
_Gorod_ is Russian for 'city.' It received its name when it was really
the newest town in Russia, and has kept it ever since."

"It is also called Novgorod Veliki," said Fred, "which means Novgorod
the Great. In the fifteenth century it had a population of four hundred
thousand, and was really entitled to be called the great. At present it
has less than twenty thousand inhabitants, and its industries are of
little importance compared to what they used to be.

"It has a trade in flax, corn, and hemp," the youth continued, "and its
manufactures are principally in tobacco, leather, sail-cloth, vinegar,
and candles. In former times an important fair was held here, and
merchants came to Novgorod from all parts of Europe and many countries
of Asia. Afterwards the fair was removed to Nijni Novgorod, on the
Volga, and the ancient city became of little consequence except for its
historical interest."

"The Slavs founded a town there in the fourth century," said Frank.
"About the year 862 the Russian monarchy had its beginning at Novgorod;
in 1862 there was a millennial celebration there, and a magnificent
monument was erected to commemorate it."

"This is a good place for you to tell us about the early history of
Russia," said the Doctor.

[Illustration: AN OLD NORSE CHIEF.]

"I have been studying it," Frank replied, "and find that previous to the
ninth century the country was occupied by the Slavs, who founded the
towns of Novgorod and Kief. Each of these places was the capital of an
independent Slavic principality. Very little is known of the history of
the Slavs in those times. The Varangians, a northern people, made war
upon them. The Slavs resisted, but finally invited Rurik, the Prince of
the Varangians, to come and rule over them. The Northmen, or Varangians,
were called 'Russ' by the Slavs, and from them the new monarchy was
called Russia. Rurik came with his two brothers, Sineus and Truvor, and
at Novgorod laid the foundation of this empire that now covers
one-eighth of the land surface of the globe.

"The story is admirably told in verse by Bayard Taylor. I have copied
the lines from his poetical volume, and will read them to you."

In a full, clear voice the youth then read as follows, having previously
explained that Mr. Taylor was present at the millennial celebration
already mentioned:


_Novgorod, Russia, Sept_. 20, 1862.

  "'A thousand years! Through storm and fire,
    With varying fate, the work has grown,
  Till Alexander crowns the spire,
    Where Rurik laid the corner-stone.

  "'The chieftain's sword, that could not rust,
    But bright in constant battle grew,
  Raised to the world a throne august--
    A nation grander than he knew.

  "'Nor he, alone; but those who have,
    Through faith or deed, an equal part:
  The subtle brain of Yaroslav,
    Vladimir's arm and Nikon's heart;

  "'The later hands, that built so well
    The work sublime which these began,
  And up from base to pinnacle
    Wrought out the Empire's mighty plan.

  "'All these, to-day, are crowned anew,
    And rule in splendor where they trod,
  While Russia's children throng to view
    Her holy cradle, Novgorod.

  "'From Volga's banks; from Dwina's side;
    From pine-clad Ural, dark and long;
  Or where the foaming Terek's tide
    Leaps down from Kasbek, bright with song;

  "'From Altai's chain of mountain-cones;
    Mongolian deserts, far and free;
  And lands that bind, through changing zones,
    The Eastern and the Western sea!

  "'To every race she gives a home,
    And creeds and laws enjoy her shade,
  Till, far beyond the dreams of Rome,
    Her Cæsar's mandate is obeyed.

  "'She blends the virtues they impart,
    And holds, within her life combined,
  The patient faith of Asia's heart--
    The force of Europe's restless mind.

  "'She bids the nomad's wanderings cease;
    She binds the wild marauder fast;
  Her ploughshares turn to homes of peace
    The battle-fields of ages past.

  "'And, nobler yet, she dares to know
    Her future's task, nor knows in vain,
  But strikes at once the generous blow
    That makes her millions men again!

  "'So, firmer based, her power expands,
    Nor yet has seen its crowning hour--
  Still teaching to the struggling lands
    That Peace the offspring is of Power.

  "'Build, then, the storied bronze, to tell
    The steps whereby this height she trod--
  The thousand years that chronicle
    The toil of Man, the help of God!

  "'And may the thousand years to come--
    The future ages, wise and free--
  Still see her flag and hear her drum
    Across the world, from sea to sea!--

  "'Still find, a symbol stern and grand,
    Her ancient eagle's wings unshorn;
  One head to watch the Western land,
    And one to guard the land of morn.'

"Bear in mind," said Frank, after pausing at the end of the lines, "that
the millennial celebration took place not long after the edict of
emancipation was issued by Alexander II. This is what Mr. Taylor refers
to in the third line of his poem.

"To go on with the story, let me say that Rurik and his descendants
ruled the country for more than two centuries. They made war upon their
neighbors, and were generally victorious, and in their time the
boundaries of Russia were very much enlarged. Rurik and his sons were
pagans. In the tenth century Christianity was introduced, and Olga, the
widow of Igor, son of Rurik, was baptized at Constantinople. Her son
remained a pagan. He was slain in battle, and left the monarchy to his
three sons, who soon began to quarrel. One was killed in battle, and
another was put to death by the third brother, Vladimir, who assumed
entire control, and was surnamed 'The Great' on account of the benefits
he conferred upon Russia."

Fred asked if Vladimir was a Christian.

"He was not," said Frank, "at least not in the beginning, but he
subsequently became a convert to the principles of the Greek Church,
married the sister of the Emperor of Constantinople, and was baptized on
the day of his wedding, in the year 988. He ordered the introduction of
Christianity into Russia, and established a great many churches and

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE STEPPE.]

"Vladimir left the throne to his twelve sons, who quarrelled about it
till several of them were murdered or slain in battle. The successful
son was Yaroslav, who followed the example of his father by extending
the boundaries of the country and introducing reforms. He caused many
Greek books to be translated into Slavic, and ordered the compilation of
the '_Russkaya Pravda_,' which was the first law code of the country.
Nikon, whom Mr. Taylor mentions in the same line with Vladimir, was a
Russian scholar and theologian of a later time, to whom the religion of
Russia is much indebted.

"After Yaroslav's death there were many internal and external wars,
during which Russia lost a great deal of territory, and the history of
the country for a long period is a history of calamities. The Tartars
under Genghis Khan invaded Russia, plundering towns and cities,
murdering the inhabitants, and ravaging the whole country from the
frontiers of Asia to the banks of the Vistula. Famine and pestilence
accompanied war; in the year 1230 thirty thousand people died of the
plague at Smolensk and forty-two thousand at Novgorod. Alexander Nevski
defeated the Swedes and Livonians on the banks of the Neva. He was a
prince of Novgorod, and one of the most enlightened of his time.

[Illustration: IVAN THE TERRIBLE.]

"Moscow was founded about 1147, and grew rapidly, although it was
repeatedly sacked by the Mongol invaders, who slew on one occasion
twenty-four thousand of its inhabitants. The capital was established
there, and under various rulers the war with the Mongols was continued
to a successful end. Ivan III., surnamed 'The Great,' drove them out,
and successfully repelled their attempts to return. His son and
successor, Ivan IV., was surnamed 'The Terrible,' and certainly he
deserved the appellation. We have mentioned him already in our account
of what we saw in St. Petersburg.

"He was an energetic warrior, encouraged commerce, made treaties with
other nations, introduced the art of printing, and invited many
foreigners to reside in Russia and give instruction to the people. On
the other hand, he was one of the most cruel rulers that ever governed
a people, and seems to have rivalled the brutalities of the Mongols.
Here are some of his cruelties that are recorded in history:

"He hated Novgorod on account of the independent spirit of its people,
and for this reason he put more than sixty thousand of its inhabitants
to death, many of them with torture. Novgorod had maintained an
independent government, quite distinct from that of the Grand-duchy of
Moscow. Ivan III. and his son, Vassili, made war upon Novgorod and the
other independent principality of Pskov, and Ivan IV. ('The Terrible')
brought them to complete submission. The slaughter of the people of
Novgorod was the closing act of the conquest.

"We will change Ivan to its English equivalent, John, and henceforth
speak of this monster as John the Terrible. He was only four years old
when he became Czar. During his infancy the government was conducted by
his mother, under the direction of the House of Boyards (noblemen). When
he was thirteen years of age a political party which was opposed to the
Boyards suggested that he could rule without any assistance, and he at
once took the control of affairs. Very soon he terrified those who had
placed him on the throne, and they would have been gladly rid of him if
they could.

"An English ambassador came to Moscow bringing the answer to a letter in
which John had proposed marriage to Queen Elizabeth. The Queen rejected
his offer, but in such a diplomatic manner as not to offend the
sanguinary Czar. Her ambassador incurred the monarch's ill-will by
neglecting to uncover before him, and it was accordingly ordered that
the envoy's hat should be nailed to his head. Foreigners were better
treated than were the subjects of John, and the ambassador was not
harmed, though he was afterwards imprisoned.

"For his amusement John the Terrible used to order a number of people to
be sewed up in bear-skins, and then torn to death by bear-hounds. For
tearing prisoners to pieces he ordered the tops of several trees to be
bent down so that they came together; the limbs of the unfortunate
victim were fastened to these tops, each limb to a different tree. When
they were thus tied up, the release of the trees performed the work
intended by the cruel Czar."

"Isn't John's name connected with the Church of St. Basil at Moscow?"
Fred asked.

"Yes," answered Frank; "it was built in his reign, and is considered one
of the finest in the city. When it was finished John sent for the
architect and asked if he could build another like it.

"'Certainly I could,' the architect replied, with delight.

"Thereupon the monarch ordered the architect's eyes to be put out, to
make sure that the Church of St. Basil should have no rival.

"Whether he was a kind husband or not we have no information, but he
certainly was very much a husband. He had one Mohammedan and two Russian
wives; and at the very time he sought the hand of Elizabeth, Queen of
England, he proposed to marry the daughter of King Sigismund of Poland.
What he intended doing if both offers were accepted we are not told, but
it is not likely that bigamy would have had any terrors for a man of
such ungovernable temper as he seems to have been.


"At his death his son and successor, Feodor, fell under the influence of
Boris Godounoff, his brother-in-law, who assumed full power after a
time, and renewed the relations with England which had been suspended
for a while. Godounoff obtained the throne by poisoning or exiling
several of his relatives who stood in his way or opposed his projects.
Feodor is believed to have died of poison; he was the Czar from 1584 to
1598, but for the last ten years of this period he had practically no
voice in State affairs. With his death the House of Rurik became

"Does the House of Romanoff, the present rulers of Russia, begin where
that of Rurik ended?" the Doctor asked.

"Not exactly," was the reply, "as there was an interval of nineteen
years, and a very important period in the history of the Empire. Several
pretenders to the throne had appeared, among them Demetrius, who is
known in history as the 'Impostor.' He married a Polish lady, and it was
partly through her intrigues that Moscow fell into the hands of the

"And how were they driven out?"

"A butcher or cattle-dealer of Nijni Novgorod, named Minin, gathered a
small army under the belief that he was ordered by Heaven to free his
country from the invaders. He persuaded Prince Pojarsky to lead these
soldiers to Moscow, and together they started. Their force increased as
they advanced, and finally they expelled the Poles and redeemed the
capital. The names of Minin and Pojarsky are very prominent in Russian
history. Monuments at Moscow and Nijni Novgorod commemorate the action
of these patriotic men, and tell the story of their work in behalf of
their country.


"The incident on which Glinka's opera, 'A Life for the Czar,' is based
belongs to this period, when the Poles overran Russia. The Czar who was
saved was Michael Feodorovitch, the first of the Romanoffs, and he was
elected to the throne by an assembly of nobles. The autocrat of all the
Russias is descended from a man who was chosen to office by the form of
government which is now much more in vogue in America than in the land
of the Czar. Michael, the first of the Romanoffs, was the son of Feodor
Romanoff, Archbishop of Rostov, and afterwards Patriarch of Moscow.

"There was nothing remarkable about the reign of Feodor, nor of that of
his son Alexis. The latter was distinguished for being the father of
Peter the Great, and for nothing else that I can find in history. Now we
step from ancient to modern times. Peter the Great belongs to our day,
and the Russia that we are visiting is the one that he developed. Under
him the country became an Empire, where it was before nothing more than
a kingdom. During his reign--"

They were interrupted by the stoppage of the train at a station, and the
announcement that they must wait there an hour or more to receive some
of the Imperial foresters, who were arranging for a bear-hunt.

Russian history was dropped at once for a more practical and modern
subject, the Emperor of Russia, and his pursuit of the bear.

The Doctor explained to the youths that the Czar is supposed to be fond
of the chase, and whenever a bear is seen anywhere near the line of the
Moscow and St. Petersburg Railway he is made the object of an Imperial
hunt. The animal is driven into a forest and allowed to remain there
undisturbed. In fact he is kept in the forest by a cordon of peasants
hastily assembled from all the surrounding country. As soon as the party
can be organized, the hunt takes place in grand style.

The Imperial train is prepared, and an extra train sent out in advance,
with the necessary beaters, soldiers, and others, and also a plentiful
supply of provisions. The Imperial train contains the Emperor's private
carriage and several other fine vehicles. There are carriages for the
Emperor's horses, unless they have gone in the advance train, and there
are guns and ammunition sufficient to slaughter half the bears in the

When the ground is reached the locality of the bear is pointed out, and
the Emperor rides fearlessly to the spot. He is accompanied by his staff
and guests, if he happens to have any Royal or Imperial visitors at the
time; but unless the guests are invited to do the shooting, the honor of
killing the beast is reserved for the Emperor. Exceptions are made in
case the bear should endanger the life of his Majesty, which sometimes
happens. Bears have little sense of Imperial dignity, and a Czar is of
no more consequence to an untamed bruin than is the most ordinary

"A gentleman who was stopping on an estate in the interior of Russia,"
said Doctor Bronson, "happened to be a witness of an Imperial bear-hunt
several years ago, and told me about it. He said not less than five
hundred Cossacks and peasants were employed in watching the bear, to
keep him from straying, and the brute had become so accustomed to their
presence that he stood quite still when approached by the Emperor, so
that the latter delivered his shot at a distance of not more than a
dozen yards. The animal was killed instantly, the ball penetrating his
forehead and crashing through his brain.

"After the hunt the party rode to the house of the owner of the estate
where the bear had been found, and enjoyed a hearty supper, and after
the supper they returned to the capital. The body of the slain animal
was dressed for transportation to St. Petersburg, where it was to be
served up at the Imperial table.

[Illustration: TOO NEAR TO BE PLEASANT.]

"I have heard of bears that did not run at the sight of man, but
sometimes came altogether too near to be agreeable. One day a man who
lay asleep on the ground was awakened by a bear licking his face. He sat
up and was much terrified at the situation; the bear finally walked off,
and left the man unharmed.


"When the Emperor treats his Royal or Imperial guests to a wolf or bear
hunt, the masters of ceremonies take good care that there shall be game
in the forest. On one occasion, when the Crown-prince of Germany was a
guest at the Winter Palace, the Emperor ordered a wolf-hunt for his
amusement. The chase was successful, and two of the animals were driven
so that they were shot by the guest.

"During their return to St. Petersburg, so the story goes, the Prince
commented on the wonderful race of wolves in Russia. 'One of those I
killed to-day,' said he, 'had the hair rubbed from his neck as if by a
chain, and the other wore a collar.'"

"Are there many bears in Russia?" one of the youths inquired.

"The bear is found all over Russia," the Doctor answered. "The most
common varieties are the black and brown bears, which are in Asiatic as
well as European Russia; in northern Asia is the Arctic bear, which
belongs to the sea rather than to the land. He is the largest of the
family, but not the most formidable. The champion bear of the world for
fighting qualities is the grisly, found only in North America.

"In some parts of Russia," the Doctor continued, "bears are so numerous
as to do a great deal of damage. They destroy cattle and sheep, and not
unfrequently attack individuals. They cause much havoc among fruit-trees
and in grain-fields, and in localities where inhabitants are few they
have things pretty much their own way. They are hunted with dogs and
guns; traps are set for them, and poison is scattered where they can
find and eat it. But in spite of the efforts of man against them they do
not diminish in numbers from year to year, and the Emperor is able to
have a bear-hunt about as often as he wants one.

"I have heard that in some parts of Siberia bears are caught and tamed,
and then driven to market as one drives oxen or sheep. In a book of
travels written by a Frenchman there is a picture of a dozen or more
bears being driven to market, and the story is told in all soberness.
French travellers are famous for a tendency to make their narratives
interesting, even if veracity should suffer. There are exceptions, of
course, as in everything else, but you may set it down as a good general
rule, not to accept without question any extraordinary statement you
find in a French book of travel."

In due time the journey was resumed, and the train reached Novgorod,
where our travellers alighted. Novgorod stands on both sides of the
Volkhov River, and is one hundred and three miles from St. Petersburg by
the old post-road. It is not remarkable for its architecture, and is
chiefly interesting for its historical associations and souvenirs.


"We visited several of the churches and monasteries which make up the
attractions of Novgorod," said Frank, in his journal. "The principal
church is the Cathedral of St. Sophia, which was called in ancient times
'The Heart and Soul of the Great Novgorod.' The first cathedral was
built here in 989; the present one dates from about 1045, when it was
erected by order of the grandson of St. Vladimir. It has been altered
and repaired repeatedly, but the alterations have not materially changed
it from its ancient form. It is one of the oldest churches in Russia,
and is held in great reverence by the people.

"The church has suffered by repeated plunderings. It was robbed by John
the Terrible, and afterwards by the Swedes; the latter, in 1611, killed
two of the priests and destroyed the charter which had been granted to
the cathedral more than fifty years before. In spite of these
depredations, the church contains many relics and images, some of them
of great antiquity. There are shrines in memory of Yaroslav, Vladimir,
and other of the ancient rulers of Russia; the shrine and tomb of St.
Anne, daughter of King Olaf of Sweden, and wife of Prince Yaroslav I.;
and the shrines or tombs of many other saints, princes, archbishops,
patriarchs, and other dignitaries whose names have been connected with
the history of the church and the city. So many tombs are here that
there is little room for more.


"You would hardly expect one of the curious relics of a church to be the
result of piracy, yet such appears to be the case in this sacred
building. The doors leading into the Chapel of the Nativity are said to
have been stolen from a church in Sweden by pirates. Several men from
Novgorod belonged to the freebooting band, and brought these doors home
to enrich the cathedral of their native place. The doors are of oak,
covered with metal plates half an inch thick; the plates bear several
devices and scrolls which we could not understand, but our guide said
they were the armorial bearings of Swedish noblemen. There is another
door, which is also said to have been stolen from a church, but its
exact origin is unknown.

"In the sacristy they showed us an ancient copy of the four gospels on
vellum, and a printed copy which is said to have come from the first
printing-press ever set up in Russia. There were several flags and
standards which once belonged to the princes of Novgorod, one of them a
present from Peter the Great in 1693. There was once an extensive
library connected with the cathedral, but it was taken to St. Petersburg
in 1859. They showed us a collection of letters from Peter the Great to
Catherine I. and his son Alexis, but of course we could not read them.

"There is a kremlin, or fortress, in the centre of the city, but it is
not of great consequence. Near it is a tower which bears the name of
Yaroslav; in this tower hung the _Vechie_ bell, which summoned the
_vechie_, or assemblage of citizens, when any public circumstance
required their attention. We tried to picture the gathering of the
people on such occasions. In the day of its greatness Novgorod had four
hundred thousand inhabitants, and its assemblages must have been well
worth seeing. The vechie bell was carried off to Moscow by Ivan III.,
and many thousands of the inhabitants were compelled to move to other
places. For a long time it hung in a tower of the Kremlin of Moscow, but
its present whereabouts is unknown.

"I fear that a further account of our sight-seeing in Novgorod, so far
as the churches and monasteries are concerned, might be wearisome, as it
would be in some degree a repetition of the description of the
cathedral; so we will drop these venerable buildings and come down to
modern times and things. The most interesting of modern things in this
old city is the Millennial Monument, which has been mentioned before.


(From Appleton's American Cyclopædia.)]

"The monument is one of the finest in the Empire, and some of the
Russians say it surpasses anything else of the kind in their country. We
could not measure it, but judged it to be not less than fifty feet from
the ground to the top of the cross which surmounts the dome, forming the
upper part of the monument. There are a great many figures, statues, and
high-reliefs, which represent periods of Russian history. The great
events from the days of Rurik to Alexander II. are shown on the
monument, and there can be no doubt that the work is highly instructive
to those who study it carefully.

"The monument was designed by a member of the Russian Academy of
Sciences, and was chosen from a great number of sketches that were
submitted for competition. The casting of the bronze was done by an
English firm at St. Petersburg, and the expense was borne by the
Government and a few wealthy citizens of Novgorod. As is usual in such
cases, the Government contributed by far the greater part of the money."

After a day in Novgorod our friends continued their journey to Moscow.
They returned to the main line of railway by the branch, and waited
nearly two hours at the junction for the through train to the ancient

At Valdai the youths bought some specimens of the famous Valdai bells;
but it is safe to say that they were not equal to what could have been
found at St. Petersburg or Moscow. Fred recalled their purchases of
specimens of local manufactures in other parts of the world, and said
the same rule would apply everywhere. The tourist who buys Toledo blades
at the railway-station in Toledo, eau-de-cologne at the famous city of
the Rhine, bog-oak jewellery at Dublin, and _pâté de foie gras_ at
Strasburg, may generally count on being victimized.

At Tver the railway crosses the Volga. Frank proposed that as Tver is
the head of navigation on that great river they should leave the train
and float with the current to Astrachan, two thousand one hundred and
fifty miles away. Doctor Bronson said a steamer would be preferable to
floating; besides, they would have quite enough of the Volga if they
started from Nijni Novgorod and avoided the navigation of the upper part
of the stream.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN BOATS.]

"And while we are on the subject of navigation," the Doctor added,
"please bear in mind that by means of a system of canals connecting the
lakes and rivers between this point and St. Petersburg, there is
unbroken water transit between the Volga and the Neva. Merchandise can
be carried in boats from St. Petersburg to the Caspian Sea without
breaking bulk, and there are canals connecting the Volga with the Don
and the Dneiper rivers in the same way. Russia has an excellent system
of internal communication by water, and it was doubtless due to this
that the railways in the Empire are a matter of very recent date.

"The first railway line in the Empire was from St. Petersburg to
Tsarskoe-Selo, and was built in 1838. The St. Petersburg and Moscow
Railway was begun in 1848, and down to the end of the reign of Nicholas
less than three thousand miles of railway were completed in the whole
Empire. Now there are nearly twenty thousand miles in operation, and the
figures are increasing every year. Nearly fourteen thousand miles belong
to private companies, and the remainder is the property of the
Government. Some of the companies have a Government guarantee for the
interest on their capital, while others are managed just like private
railways in other countries."

At the last station before reaching Moscow passports were surrendered to
the inspectors, and tickets were collected. The youths put their
hand-bags and shawl-straps in readiness, and were ready to leave the
carriage when the train rolled into the huge building which is the
terminal station of the line. Our friends were in the ancient capital of
Russia, and the home of many Czars.




From the railway-station the party went to a hotel which had been
recommended as centrally situated and fairly well kept, but Frank and
Fred said they should be cautious about praising it for fear that those
who came after them might be disappointed. The hotels of Moscow are
hardly equal to those of St. Petersburg. As the latter is the capital of
the Empire, it naturally has a greater demand for hostelries of the
highest class than does the more venerable but less fashionable city.

The first thing that impressed the youths was the undulating character
of the ground on which Moscow is built, in pleasing contrast to the dead
level of St. Petersburg. The streets are rarely straight for any great
distance, and were it not for the inequalities one would not be able to
see very far ahead of him at any time. But every few minutes a pretty
view is afforded from the crest of one ridge to another; the depressions
between the ridges are filled with buildings scattered somewhat
irregularly, and there is a goodly number of shade-trees in the yards
and gardens or lining the streets.


St. Petersburg has an air of great regularity both in the arrangement of
its streets and the uniformity of the buildings. Moscow forms a marked
contrast to the younger capital, as there is little attempt at
uniformity and regularity. You see the hut of a peasant side by side
with the palace of a nobleman; a stable rises close against a church,
and there is a carpenter's shop, with its half-dozen workmen, abutting
close against an immense factory where hundreds of hands are employed.
Moscow is a city of contrasts; princes and beggars almost jostle each
other in the streets; the houses of rich and poor are in juxtaposition,
and it is only a few short steps from the palace of the Kremlin, with
its treasures of gold and jewels, to the abodes of most abject poverty.

Frank and Fred were quick to observe this peculiarity of the ancient
capital of the Czars, and at the first opportunity they questioned the
Doctor concerning it.

"What is the cause of so many contrasts here which we did not see in St.
Petersburg?" one of them inquired.

"That is the question I asked on my first visit," Doctor Bronson
replied. "I was told that it was due to the burning of Moscow in 1812,
at the time of its capture by Napoleon."

"How much of the city was burned?" Fred asked.

"The greater part of it was destroyed," was the reply, "but there were
many buildings of stone and brick that escaped. Most of the churches
were saved, as the Russians were reluctant to commit the sacrilege of
burning edifices which had been consecrated to religious worship. Such
of the churches as were consumed in the conflagration were set on fire
by neighboring buildings rather than by the hands of the Russians."

"Then it was the Russians that burned Moscow, and not the French," said
Fred. "I have read somewhere that it is all a falsehood that the
Russians consigned their city to the flames."

"From all I can learn, both by reading and conversation," answered the
Doctor, "I do not think there is any doubt of the truth of the
generally accepted story. Napoleon arrived here on the 15th of
September, and intended to spend the winter in Moscow to prepare for a
spring campaign against St. Petersburg. His advance under Murat came in
one day earlier. As soon as Napoleon arrived he took up his quarters in
the Kremlin, while his troops were mostly encamped on the hills which
overlook the city on the west.


"On the night of the 16th the governor, Count Rostoptchin, ordered the
city to be set on fire--at least such is the general belief, though the
official order has never been produced. The fire broke out in many
places at the same time; the French soldiers tried to suppress it, but
found it impossible to do so. Nearly twelve thousand houses were burned,
besides palaces and churches. The inhabitants fled to the country in all
directions, and there was no stock of provisions for the support of the
French army.

"Napoleon found that he must evacuate the city and return to France. On
the 19th of October he looked his last on Moscow from the Sparrow Hills
on the west, and began his long and disastrous retreat. The winter came
early, and was unusually severe. Hardly had he left the city before the
ground was deep with snow, and from that time onward he was harassed by
Cossacks, while his men perished of hunger and cold. Do you know how
many men were lost in the Russian campaign of 1812?"


"Yes," said Fred; "I have just been reading the history of the

"According to the narrative of the Count de Segur," the youth continued,
"the army with which Napoleon invaded Russia comprised four hundred and
twenty thousand men. Very nearly half of these were French; the other
half consisted of Poles, Italians, Austrians, Bavarians, Saxons, and
other troops allied with the French. One hundred and eighty-seven
thousand horses were employed for the cavalry, artillery, and baggage.
There were eighty thousand cavalry and the artillery numbered one
thousand three hundred and sixty-two pieces. There were great numbers of
carts and wagons drawn by oxen, and immense herds of cattle driven along
for supplying beef.

"Three hundred thousand Russians gathered on the banks of the Niemen
River to oppose the French advance, but the river was crossed without
opposition. There was a battle at Smolensk, and another at Borodino,
both of them being won by the French. At the battle of Borodino the loss
on both sides amounted to eighty thousand killed and wounded. After that
the Russians made no serious resistance. Napoleon entered Moscow without
difficulty, and established his headquarters in the Kremlin, as you have
said. On the battle-field of Borodino is a monument with this


"So much for the advance," the Doctor remarked; "now tell us about the


"It was one of the most terrible retreats ever known in history. Out of
all the Grand Army of nearly half a million men that crossed the Niemen
in June, 1812, a little more than twelve thousand recrossed it in the
following winter! It was estimated that one hundred and twenty thousand
were killed in the various battles with the Russians, one hundred and
thirty thousand died of disease, cold, and hunger, and not far from two
hundred thousand were captured, or voluntarily left the army and
remained with the Russians. Many of the latter died within the next few
years, and others settled in the country and never reached their homes
again. On the line of the march of the Grand Army their descendants may
be found to-day living in the villages where their fathers died, and
thoroughly Russian in their language and habits. The Russians are said
to have treated their prisoners kindly, and doubtless they had orders
from the Government to do so."

Frank asked if the French army made any attempt to reach St. Petersburg.

[Illustration: ALEXANDER I.]

"As before stated, it was Napoleon's intention," the Doctor answered,
"to spend the winter in Moscow, and move upon St. Petersburg in the
spring. But the burning of Moscow made it impossible for him to remain,
and thus his plans were spoiled. Russia refused to make terms of peace
with him, and some of his messages to the Emperor Alexander I. were not
even answered. The Russians doubtless knew that cold and hunger would
compel a retreat, and they could rely upon the winter and the Cossacks
to make it disastrous.

"Russia had concluded a treaty of peace with Turkey, which would release
a large army to fight against the French. She had also made a treaty
with the King of Sweden, by which the troops of the latter would join
the Russian army early in the spring, as soon as the weather and the
roads would permit them to march. It was certain that Napoleon would be
overwhelmed if he remained, and the only alternative was the retreat.

"The army that came to Moscow was about one hundred thousand strong; all
the rest of the available forces of the Grand Army were left to garrison
places on the road to the Niemen and to collect provisions. One hundred
and sixty thousand men crossed the bridge at Smolensk in the march to
Moscow; twenty thousand were killed on the road, and forty thousand were
left to guard the magazines, hospitals, and stores at some four or five
places. The terrible waste of war can be no better illustrated than in
the story of Napoleon's campaign to Moscow. At Kovno, in Lithuania, is a
monument with the inscription:


"And now," he continued, "I think you understand why Moscow presents so
many irregularities in its architecture. In the spring of 1813 the
people began to build again, and everything was done in a hurry. Those
who could afford the time and money necessary to build good houses were
the few rather than the many. Most of the Russians had been impoverished
in the war, and could only afford the cheapest of dwellings, while those
who had not lost everything were desirous of obtaining shelter as soon
as possible. The custom of that day has continued in a certain measure
to the present, as you can see by looking around you."

For a knowledge of what our friends saw in Moscow we will refer as
heretofore to the journals kept by the youths, together with extracts
from their letters to friends at home.

"The first thing we wanted to see," said Fred, in his journal, "was the
Kremlin, or ancient fortress of Moscow, on the bank of the river Moskva,
from which the city is named. We saw many other things on the way there,
but had no interest in them, and will leave their description to a
later page. We were all eyes, ears, and thoughts for the Kremlin, and
nothing else.

[Illustration: VIEW IN THE KREMLIN.]

"Nobody can tell positively what the word 'kremlin' comes from, but it
certainly means fortress or space enclosed with strong walls. The walls
of the Kremlin of Moscow are about one mile and a half in circuit, and
from fifty to sixty feet high; they are entered by five gates, of which
the principal is the _spaski_, or 'Redeemer.' This gate was built in
1491, and over it there is a picture of the Redeemer of Smolensk. Our
guide told us we must remove our hats as we passed through this
gate-way, out of respect for the ways of the people. Formerly a failure
to do so was severely punished, but now there is no compulsion about it.
Not even the Emperor is exempt from the custom, and you may be sure we
did not attract attention by our neglect.


"It was in front of this gate that executions formerly took place, and
the victims offered their last prayers to the Redeemer of Smolensk.
Happily there are now no signs of these executions, and everything has
an air of peace and happiness. The gate of next importance is the
_Nikolsky_, or Nicholas Gate, which is ornamented and made sacred in the
eyes of orthodox Russians by the picture of St. Nicholas of Mojaisk. The
gate was partly destroyed by order of Napoleon; a large quantity of
gunpowder was placed under it and fired, but the explosion only split
the tower in the middle and up to the frame of the picture. The glass
over the picture and the lamp burning in front of it were not harmed. As
the occurrence was considered in the light of a miracle, an inscription
describing it was placed there by Alexander I.

"Another gate, called the _Troitska_, or Trinity, is memorable as the
one by which the French entered and left the Kremlin in 1812. Several
times it has been the passage-way of conquering armies. Besides the
French in the nineteenth century, it admitted the Poles in the
seventeenth, the Tartars in the sixteenth (1551), and the Lithuanians in
the fourteenth centuries. Only a small part of the Kremlin was destroyed
in the great fire of 1812; it was held by Napoleon's troops when the
fire broke out, and when the invaders retired their attempts to blow up
the walls and ignite the buildings did not succeed.

"After looking at the exterior of the walk and admiring the picturesque
situation of the Kremlin, we passed through the gate, and went at once
to the tower of Ivan Veliki (John the Great). We had been advised to see
this tower first of all, as it was the best point from which to obtain a
general view of the city.

[Illustration: THE KREMLIN OF MOSCOW.]

"There is some doubt as to the antiquity of the tower, but it is
generally believed to date from the year 1600, and to have been built by
Boris Godounoff. It is in five stories, of which the upper is in the
form of a cylinder, while the others are octagonal in shape. The top is
two hundred and seventy feet from the ground, and is reached by a
winding stairway.

"The guide called our attention to the bells in the tower; there are no
less than thirty-four of them, and some are very large. In the second
story hangs a bell known as the 'Assumption,' which weighs sixty-four
tons; it is therefore four times as heavy as the great bell of Rouen,
five times that of Erfurt, and eight times as heavy as the Great Tom of
Oxford, the largest bell in England! The oldest of the other bells bears
the date 1550; the vechie bell of Novgorod the Great once hung in this
tower, but nobody knows where it is at present. The effect of the
ringing of these bells at Easter is said to be very fine, as they are of
different tones, and so arranged that they make no discord. In the
upper story are two silver bells, whose tones are said to be very sweet.

"We stopped a while at each of the stories to look at the bells and
enjoy the view, and thus reached the top without much fatigue. But if we
had been so weary as to be unable to stand, we should have been amply
repaid for our fatigue. The view is certainly one of the finest we ever
had from a height overlooking any city in Europe, with the possible
exceptions of Paris and Constantinople.

"Moscow, with its undulating and irregular streets, with the Moskva
winding through it in the shape of the letter S, with its four hundred
churches and an immense variety of towers and domes and minarets, with
the variations of palace and hovel already mentioned, and with the great
buildings of the Kremlin forming the foreground of the scene, lay before
and below us. It was Moscow (the Holy), the city of the Czars and
beloved of every patriotic Russian; the city which has existed through
Tartar, Polish, and French invasions; has risen from the ashes again and
again; has been ravaged by famine, the plague, and the sword of the
invader, but surviving all her calamities, welcomes the stranger within
her walls, whose circuit is more than twenty miles. From the top of this
tower we looked down upon seven centuries of historical associations.

"Listen to a fragment of the history of Moscow: It was plundered by the
Tartars under Tamerlane, and many of its inhabitants were killed; again
it fell into Tartar hands, and again was pillaged, and its inhabitants
murdered. Twice under the Tartars (1536 and 1572) it was set on fire,
and on both occasions many thousands of people perished by fire or
sword. The Poles burned a large part of the city in 1611, and in 1771
the plague carried off half the population. Is it any wonder that the
Russians love their ancient capital, after all that it has suffered and


"We lingered for an hour or more in the tower, and then descended. Our
next object of interest was the '_Czar Kolokol_,' or Great Bell, which
stands at the foot of the Ivan Veliki Tower, and near the place where
for a long time it lay buried in the earth. It is literally the great
bell not only of Moscow but of the world.

"It has a strange history. It is said to have been cast originally in
the time of Boris Godounoff, and a traveller in 1611 mentions a bell in
Russia which required twenty-four men to swing the clapper. During a
fire it fell to the ground and was broken; in 1654 it was recast, and
weighed at that time 288,000 pounds. Twenty years later it was suspended
from a wooden beam at the foot of the tower; the beam gave way during a
fire in 1706, and the bell was again broken. The Empress Anne ordered it
recast in 1733, but it only lasted four years. The falling of some
rafters in 1737 broke the bell as we now see it, and it lay on the
ground just ninety-nine years, or until 1836, when it was raised and
placed in its present position by the Emperor Nicholas.

"And how large do you think it is?

"It is thought to weigh 444,000 pounds, or 220 tons; it is nineteen feet
three inches in height, and sixty feet nine inches in circumference, or
twenty feet three inches in diameter. Just stop and measure these
figures with your eye in a barn or a large room of a house, and then
realize what this great bell is.


"Look at the picture of the bell, and see the piece that is broken out
of it. This piece is six feet high, and both of us walked through the
place left by its removal without any difficulty. There is an
inscription on the bell which gives its history, and it presents also
several sacred figures and the portraits of the Czar Alexis and the
Empress Anne.

[Illustration: EMPRESS ANNE.]

"From the Great Bell we went to the Nicholas Palace, which occupies the
site of the one destroyed by the French at the time of their retreat,
and then to the _Bolshoi Dvorets_, or Great Palace.

"The state apartments are numerous and gorgeous; their number is
absolutely bewildering, and so is the array of furniture, paintings,
statuary, and other valuables that are gathered there. In the Emperor's
cabinet there are pictures representing the battles of Borodino and
Smolensk, and also of the French entering and leaving Moscow. There are
halls dedicated to St. George, St. Alexander Nevski, and St. Andrew,
all of them hung with battle-flags, and the last--the Hall of St.
Andrew--containing the Emperor's throne. In some of the halls are
paintings representing scenes in the history of Poland. They were
brought from Warsaw, where they once hung in the Royal castle.

"They showed us the 'Red Staircase,' which is used by the Emperor on
state occasions, and was the spot where in former times the Czar allowed
the people to see him. Napoleon and his marshals ascended these steps
when they took possession of the Kremlin, and it was from the top of the
staircase that John the Terrible saw the comet which caused him to
tremble with fear.

"Then they took us to the banqueting-room, where the Emperor dines with
his nobles immediately after the ceremony of coronation, and beyond it
to the _Terem_, which was formerly occupied by the wife and children of
the Czar. It is now filled with articles of historic interest: the seals
of Russian sovereigns, the certificate of the election of Michael, first
of the Romanoffs, to the Russian throne, and several copies of the
Evangelists, on parchment, and said to be five hundred years old.

"Near the Great Palace is the Treasury, which reminded us of The
Hermitage of St. Petersburg, or the more famous Tower of London. It is
filled with all sorts of curious things, many of them of enormous value.
It has been said that the national debt of Russia could be paid from the
sale of the pearls, diamonds, and other precious things in the Treasury
of Moscow. Perhaps this is not strictly true, but certainly they would
go a long way towards doing so.

"What we saw in the Treasury would take too long to tell; and besides,
it would be a catalogue filling many pages of our note-books. Armor and
weapons of all times and forms can be seen here. There are faded and
tattered flags that tell of the glory of Russia; here is the flag
carried by the soldiers of John the Terrible at the capture of Kazan;
the flag under which Yermak conquered Siberia and added it to the
Russian Empire; the flag which a little band of Cossacks carried to the
shores of the Pacific Ocean more than two hundred years ago; and here
are the flags which belonged to the Regiment of _Streltsi_, which
rebelled against Peter the Great.


"Here are thrones and coronation chairs in goodly number. The first is
that of the Empress Elizabeth, and near it are the coronation chairs of
Paul I. and Alexander II. In the centre of the room where these chairs
are standing is the =baldachino=, under which the Emperor and Empress walk
at their coronation, and at the farther end is a stand of colors given
by Alexander I. to his Polish regiment, and afterwards captured at the
storming of Warsaw, in 1831. The royal throne of Poland is in another
room, along with the throne of Kazan, which is studded with pearls,
diamonds, rubies, and turquoises, as are several other thrones. One
throne contains over eight hundred diamonds and twice as many rubies,
and it is by no means the most costly one in the collection. Near the
thrones are the coronation robes worn by several of the emperors and
empresses, and there is also a masquerade dress which belonged to
Catherine the Great.

"We lingered over a glass case containing the decoration of the Order of
the Garter and its diploma, which Queen Elizabeth sent to John the

"Another gift from the good Queen to the cruel Czar was the state
carriage which stands in one of the rooms of the Treasury, along with
several other vehicles, all of the olden time. One is on runners, and
large enough for a whole family; it has a table and benches covered with
green cloth, and was used by the Empress Elizabeth in her journeys
between St. Petersburg and Moscow.

"Enough of curiosities. We grew weary with seeing the relics of the
rulers of Russia, though all were full of interest, and willingly
followed our guide to the churches that stand within the walls of the
Kremlin. The first is the Church of the Assumption, in which the
emperors are crowned, and where the patriarchs formerly officiated. The
church dates from 1475, and occupies the site of another which was
erected one hundred and fifty years earlier. It has been altered and
restored several times, but remains very much in shape and general
appearance as it was four hundred years ago.

"In the church is a shrine of silver in memory of St. Philip, a
patriarch of the Church, who had the temerity to rebuke John the
Terrible for his misdeeds, and was imprisoned and put to death in
consequence. The hand of St. Philip is exposed, and whenever the Emperor
comes here he never fails to kiss the sacred relic.

"There are tombs and shrines in great number, and a large part of the
religious history of Russia belongs to this building. Every Czar of the
Empire, from John the Terrible to Alexander III., has been crowned here,
and the most sacred pictures in the whole country are deposited along
the altar screen.


"Dean Stanley says of the Imperial coronation in the Church of the

"'The coronation, even at the present time, is not a mere ceremony, but
an historical event and solemn consecration. It is preceded by fasting
and seclusion, and takes place in the most sacred church in Russia, the
Emperor, not as in the corresponding forms of European investiture, a
passive recipient, but himself the principal figure in the whole scene;
himself reciting aloud the confession of the orthodox faith; himself
alone on his knees, amid the assembled multitude, offering up the
prayer of intercession for the Empire; himself placing his crown on his
own head; himself entering through the sacred door of the innermost
sanctuary, and taking from the altar the elements of the bread and the

"There are two other cathedrals in the Kremlin, that of the Archangel
Michael and the Cathedral of the Annunciation. The three cathedrals,
with the tower of Ivan Veliki, which has a chapel in its lower story,
form a square, which is frequently called the Grand Square of the
Kremlin. We visited the cathedrals in the order named, and it was quite
appropriate that when we had finished with that of the Assumption, where
the Czars are crowned, we should go to the Michael Cathedral, where,
down to the time of Peter the Great, they were buried. The tombs are
quite plain in appearance, a marked contrast to the elaborate
decorations of the building, whose interior is covered with frescos
which represent scenes in the lives of the Czars, together with their

"One of the tombs was covered with a black cloth, and we asked the guide
what it meant.

"'That is the tomb of John the Terrible,' said he, 'and the black cloth
is to show that he assumed the cowl of a monk an hour or so before he
died. He wanted to atone for his many cruelties, and this is the way he
did it.'

"The guide further told us that in ancient times when any one wished to
present a petition to the Czar he came to this church and placed the
paper on one of the tombs. By a long-established custom which had the
force of law, no one but a Czar could remove it. In this way the ruler
could be reached when all other means of approaching him were
unavailable. What a pity the custom does not continue to the present

[Illustration: PETER II.]

"The only emperor buried here is Peter II., son of Alexis and grandson
of Peter the Great. As before stated, the Imperial burial-place has been
at St. Petersburg since that city was founded.

"While the Czars were crowned in the Cathedral of the Assumption and
buried in that of St. Michael, they were baptized and married in that of
the Annunciation, which was the next we visited. Its floor is of jasper
and agate, and it has nine cupolas, heavily covered with gilding. The
cross on the centre cupola is said to be of solid gold--a statement open
to a good deal of doubt, though by no means entirely improbable when we
remember what treasures are stored in the Kremlin. The interior of this
church is covered with frescos, and like the others is adorned with
pictures set in precious stones.

"Mentioning the cupolas of this church reminds us that the cupolas of
the Russian churches vary all the way from one up to thirteen, the
number being nearly always odd. Usually they have five cupolas; the
building is in the form of a Greek cross, and there is a cupola at each
corner and another in the centre, the latter being the largest. The idea
of the five cupolas came from Constantinople, whence the Russian Church
derived its religion. The earliest church at Novgorod had five cupolas,
and was copied from the Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, which
was converted into a mosque at the time of the Moslem conquest. The
largest number on any of the churches of Moscow is on that of St. Basil,
which has thirteen in all.

[Illustration: BISHOP IN HIS ROBES.]

"There are other small churches and chapels in the Kremlin, but we had
not sufficient time to examine them all. In the sacristy of the Holy
Synod, which stands behind the Cathedral of the Assumption, we saw in
glass cases the robes of the patriarchs of the Church, some of them
dating back more than five hundred years. They are covered with pearls
and all kinds of precious stones; one, which was presented by John the
Terrible to the metropolitan Denys, is said to weigh fifty-four pounds
in consequence of the great number of diamonds, pearls, emeralds,
garnets, and other jewels which are fastened to it.

"The attendant left us quite alone in the room with all these valuables;
the guide said this was the custom, but that we were by no means out of
sight. Through holes in the ceiling watchful eyes were said to be
peering, and any attempt to open the cases and remove the valuables
would result in serious consequences. How much truth there was in his
statement we do not know. We looked at the ceiling, but could not see
any peep-holes, but for all that they may have been there.

"You wonder how it happened that the French did not carry away the
treasures of the Kremlin when they retreated from Moscow. The fact is,
most of the treasures were removed to Nijni Novgorod as the French
advanced, and when they arrived there was not a great deal to plunder.
They carried off many things, which were afterwards recaptured by the
Russians during the retreat and restored to their places, but it was not
until the French were completely out of the country that the valuables
and relics which had been carried to Nijni Novgorod were returned.

"The invaders hacked at some of the frames of the holy pictures in the
Church of the Assumption, and the marks of their knives are still
visible. In the Cathedral of the Annunciation the French stabled their
horses, and the other churches were used as barracks by the troops. The
Kremlin was mined in several places, but the explosions did very little
damage. Probably the French officers who had charge of the mining were
in a great hurry and did not attend properly to their work.

"Our guide was a Russian; and after he had told us about the use of the
cathedral as a stable, he led the way to the spot where the cannon
captured from the French in the retreat are exhibited. 'There,' said he,
'are eight hundred and seventy-five cannon which were captured in the
retreat of the Grand Army; three hundred and sixty-five of them--one for
every day in the year--are French, one hundred and eighty-nine are
Austrian, and the rest are from the various troops allied with the
French at that time. Altogether they weigh about three hundred and fifty
tons. A Frenchman proposed that they should be melted down and cast into
a memorial column, but the Russians think they are better just as they

"We agreed with him that it was very natural a Frenchman should make
such a proposal and the Russians reject it. An amusing thing is that
some of the guns bear the names 'Invincible,' 'Eagle,' 'Conqueror,'
'Triumph,' and the like, quite in mockery of their captive condition.

"Doctor Bronson said he was reminded of an incident that is said to
have happened in an American navy-yard fifteen or twenty years after the
war of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain.

"An Englishman was visiting the navy-yard, and while wandering among the
cannon which lay peacefully in one of the parks, he found one which bore
the British crown, with the stamp 'G. R.' beneath it. The stamp and
crown told very plainly the history of the gun, but the Briton was
doubtful. Turning to a sailor who was standing near, he remarked,

"'It's easy enough to put that stamp on a gun of Yankee make.'

"'How long do you think it would take?'

"'About half an hour.'

"'Well,' replied the sailor, 'we took forty-four of those guns, with the
stamps already on, in just seventeen minutes."[4]

[4] Referring to the battle between the _Constitution_ and _Guerriere_,
August 19, 1812.

"The stranger had no more conundrums to propose.

[Illustration: GREAT GUN AT MOSCOW.]

"There are seven monster cannon in front of one of the arsenals in the
Kremlin that have probably never enjoyed the honor of being fired;
certainly some of them would be likely to burst if filled with an
ordinary charge of powder. The smallest weighs four tons and the largest
forty tons. Some of them are unusually long in proportion to their
diameter, and others are exactly the reverse. The largest was cast in
1586, if we may believe an inscription upon it, at the orders of the
Czar Feodor; but whether it was intended for ornament or use is
difficult to say. It is remarkable as a piece of casting; and the
carriage is nearly as interesting as the gun. We enclose a photograph;
and by comparing the cannon with the figures of the soldiers seated
below the muzzle, you can get an idea of the colossal size of this


"As we came out through the 'Holy Gate' of the Kremlin we were in front
of the Church of St. Basil, the one whose architect is said to have been
blinded by order of John the Terrible, to make sure that the structure
should not be duplicated. It stands on the site of an ancient church
where St. Basil was buried, in 1552. It was begun in 1555, and is said
to have occupied twenty years in building.

"There is not anywhere in the world a more fantastic church than this;
none of its towers and domes resemble each other, and they present all
the colors of the rainbow. One of the cupolas is striped like a melon,
while another suggests a pineapple; another is like an onion in shape
and general appearance; another suggests a turban covered with folds;
and still another might readily have been copied from an artichoke. The
stripes are as strange as the forms, and the irreverent could be
forgiven for calling this the Harlequin Church in consequence of its
peculiar architecture.

"Napoleon ordered his engineers to destroy 'The Mosque,' as he called
the Church of St. Basil, but for some unexplained reason the order was
not carried out. In the chapel below the church is the shrine of the
saint, but it presents nothing remarkable; and altogether the building
is more interesting from an external than from an internal view."




The best part of a day was consumed in the Kremlin and in the Church of
St. Basil. Further investigation of old Moscow was postponed to the

In the evening our friends went to the Opera-house to listen to some
national music, but more particularly to see the house, which is one of
the curiosities of the city. The "_Bolshoi Teatre_" or "Great Theatre,"
is one of the finest opera-houses in the world. It was built in 1855-56,
to replace the smaller opera-house which had been destroyed by fire
about two years before. A few months after it was opened there was a
performance in the theatre, entitled "1756 and 1856," to celebrate the
hundredth anniversary of the establishment of government theatres in

From the material in the possession of the youths, and by a careful use
of eyes and note-books, Fred wrote the following account of the Moscow
Opera-house, and added to the information about theatrical matters which
appears in a previous chapter.

"The first recorded representation of a theatrical character in Russia
is assigned to the reign of Alexis Michailovitch, father of Peter the
Great. It was given in the house of the father-in-law of Alexis, but
very little is known of its character. Russian writers say their first
regular dramas were in the time of Feodor Alexeivitch (half-brother and
predecessor of Peter the Great), and were written by the Czar's tutor.
They were produced in one of the suburban palaces, and had a religious
character, as we infer from the titles 'Prodigal Son,' 'King
Nebuchadnezzar,' 'Three Men in the Fiery Furnace,' and 'The Golden
Calf.' The Czar's tutor was a monk, and the plays were performed by the
students attached to the monastery.


"Peter the Great determined to develop the drama, and engaged a
Hungarian actor, who happened to be at Moscow, to look after the matter.
This actor went to Germany and engaged a troupe, and among them was a
man who divided his time between theatrical affairs and ship-building.
When he was not ship-building he was writing plays and managing Peter's
theatre at Moscow, and he seems to have engaged in the two occupations
with equal facility. Peter attended the performances accompanied by his
officers. In order to encourage the drama there was no admission fee,
the company being supported by the Government.

"At first the performances took place in a large hall of the Suhareff
Tower. After a time a wooden theatre was built near the Kremlin, and
performances were given regularly. The City of Yaroslav established a
theatre of its own under the direction of Feodor Volkhoff, an actor who
afterwards became famous in Russia. In 1752 he was summoned to St.
Petersburg by the Empress Elizabeth, to direct performances at the court
theatre, and in 1756 the Empress issued an Imperial order establishing
a government theatre in the capital. The centennial of this event was
the celebration referred to.


"The Moscow Opera-house stands in a square by itself not far from the
Kremlin. Carriages can be driven all around it, and there are three
entrances for spectators besides the one reserved to the actors. The
theatre is never crowded, as only as many tickets are sold as there are
seats, and no money is taken at the doors. There are five rows of boxes
besides the parquette, or ground-floor, and the gallery, which occupies
the whole of the upper tier. We had our places in the parquette, and
found them very comfortable. Each seat is a separate arm-chair, with
plenty of space around it, so that one may walk about between the acts
without disturbing his neighbors.


"The waits between the acts were very long, according to our American
ideas, but there was a reason for this. We found an attendant who spoke
French, and through his assistance and his expectation of a fee we
visited an unoccupied box on one of the principal tiers. The box had
plenty of seating-room for half a dozen persons; the attendant said ten
or twelve were frequently packed into it, but it was only unfashionable
people who ever thought of thus crowding a box. Each box has a little
cabinet or parlor back of it, where one may receive friends, and a great
deal of visiting goes on between the acts. The arrangement is an Italian
one, and the same feature exists in opera-houses in other parts of

"To give you an idea of the size of the house, let me quote a few
figures comparing it with the principal theatres of Milan, Naples, and
London. The measurements are in English feet:

  Diameter of ceiling, La Scala, Milan                                70
  Diameter of ceiling, San Carlo, Naples                              73
  Diameter of ceiling, Covent Garden, London                          65
  Diameter of ceiling, Moscow Opera-house                           =98=
  Opening of proscenium, La Scala, Milan                              51
  Opening of proscenium, San Carlo, Naples                            58
  Opening of proscenium, Covent Garden, London                        50
  Opening of proscenium, Moscow Opera-house                         =70=

"The stage of the Moscow Opera-house is 126 feet wide and 112 feet deep.
At Covent Garden Theatre the respective figures are 88 and 90 feet.

"We had a great deal of curiosity to see the famous drop-scene, which
represents the triumphal entry of Minin and Pojarsky into the Kremlin,
after the expulsion of the Poles from Moscow in 1612. It is a
magnificent picture, painted by Duzi, a Venetian artist, and represents
the two liberators on horseback near the Holy Gate of the Kremlin,
surrounded by citizens of all classes and conditions. Prince Pojarsky
looks like an Oriental, as he is dressed in the costume which was worn
by the boyards or noblemen down to the time of Peter the Great. The
peasant class are in their holiday dress; the women wear _sarafans_ and
_kokoshniks_ which are quite like those worn by many of them at the
present time, while the men are mostly in girdled _caftans_, just as we
see thousands of them daily. French fashions have taken a hold among the
nobility and wealthy people of Russia generally, but have no effect on
the peasantry. The common people will probably adhere to their present
costume until ordered by Imperial decree to adopt a new one.


"We spent nearly the whole time of the wait between the first and second
acts in contemplating this picture, and found plenty to occupy us. We
have already mentioned the Minin-Pojarsky Monument, which stands near
the gate of the Kremlin, and reminds the people of an important event in
their national history. Between the monument and the painting, the
Russians are not likely to forget the patriotism of the cattle-dealer
and the Prince."

From the theatre our friends went straight to the hotel and to bed,
tired enough with their day's exertions, but amply repaid for all their

Next morning they were off in good season, or rather Frank and Fred
were, as the Doctor decided to remain at the hotel, while the youths
devoted the forenoon to sights that he did not especially care for.
Having been in Moscow before, he was willing to leave some of the stock
sights out of his programme.

Their first visit was to the bazaar, which bears the name of "_Kitai
Gorod_" or "Chinese Town." The bazaar is often said to be so called
because of the great number of Tartars doing business there--the
descendants of the Mongols, who so long held Moscow in their hands.

According to some writers this belief is erroneous. They assert that,
originally, all of Moscow was inside the Kremlin; but as the necessity
came for extending the city, an order was given by Helena (mother of
John the Terrible, and Regent during his minority) for enclosing a large
space outside the Kremlin, which was to be named after her birthplace,
Kitaigrod, in Podolia. Its walls were begun in 1535 by an Italian

"We went," said Frank, "through the Gostinna Dvor of Moscow, which fills
an enormous building in the Kitai Gorod, and is in some respects more
interesting than that of St. Petersburg, though practically of the same
character. The display of Russian goods is about like that in the
capital city, though there is possibly a greater quantity of silver
work, Circassian goods, and similar curiosities peculiar to the country.
Much of the money-changing is in the hands of Tartars; where the
changers are not of the Tartar race, they are generally Jews. Russian
Tartars and Jews use the _abacus_ in counting, and they work it with
wonderful rapidity. We saw it in St. Petersburg, but it was not so much
employed there as in Moscow. The abacus has undergone very little change
in two or three thousand years. It was introduced by the Tartar
conquerors of Russia, and promises to remain permanently in the Empire.

"What a quantity of silks, embroideries, silverware, and the like are
piled in the bazaar! and what an array of clothing, household goods,
furniture, and other practical and unpractical things of every name and
kind! It was the Bazaar of St. Petersburg over again, with the absence
of certain features, that suggested Western Europe and the addition of
others belonging to the Orient. The second-hand market was encumbered
with old clothes, pots, pans, boots, furniture, and odds and ends of
everything, and we were so pestered by the peddlers that we went through
the place pretty quickly.

"The guide took us to Romanoff House, which was built near the end of
the sixteenth century, and was the birthplace of Michael, the first Czar
of the present reigning family. Of the original house only the walls
remain; the interior was destroyed by the French, who plundered the
building and then set it on fire, and only the great thickness and
solidity of the walls preserved them.

"Romanoff House, as we saw it to-day, is an excellent example of the
Russian house of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and in this
respect it is very interesting. The last restoration was made in
1858-59, and the Government has spent quite an amount of money in
putting it in order.

"It is four stories high, and built around a court-yard from which the
rooms on the ground-floor are entered. In the basement are cellars for
storing provisions, and on the floor above it are the kitchens,
temporary store-rooms, and the like. In the next story are the rooms
where the prince lived; they include a reception-room, rooms for
servants, several smaller rooms, and also some secret recesses in the
walls where silver plate and other valuables were kept. The rooms are
adorned with utensils of former periods, together with many articles of
silver and other metals that belonged to the Romanoff family long ago.

"The upper story is called the _terem_, a word which is equivalent to
the Turkish _harem_. The terem was reserved to the women and children,
but not so rigidly as is the harem among the Moslems. Beds, bedsteads,
playthings, and articles of clothing are among the curiosities in the
terem of Romanoff House. Among them are the slippers of the Czar and the
night-gown of the Czarina, which are kept in a box at the foot of the
bed according to the old custom.

"Romanoff House is in the Kitai Gorod, and from it we went to the place
where Peter the Great witnessed the execution of many of his rebellious
_streltzi_, or guards. Perhaps you would like to hear the story?


"I believe we have already mentioned something about the strained
relations between Peter and his sister Sophia, and how she plotted his
assassination, from which he escaped by riding away in the night. Peter
shut Sophia in a convent before going on his tour to Holland and England
to learn the art of ship-building and obtain other information to aid
him in the development of the Russian Empire. He distributed his troops
in the best way he could think of, and confided the administration of
affairs to his most trusted officers.

"But even then he was constantly fearful of trouble. He knew the
ambition of his sister, and the opposition that many of the old nobility
had to his reforms, and he was well aware that many officers of the army
did not favor his plans. Consequently, when news of the rebellion
reached him at Vienna he was not entirely unprepared, and hastened
homeward as fast as horses could carry him.

"The conspiracy included many nobles, officers, and others, together
with the immediate advisers of his sister. The clergy were on the side
of the conspiracy; they opposed the reforms, and preferred keeping
things as they had been, rather than adopt the ways of Western Europe.
It is said at present that the Russian Government would change the
calendar from old style to new style, and make it conform to the rest of
the civilized world, but for the opposition of the Church. The priests
assert that it would cause a great deal of confusion with the saints'
days, and therefore they refuse their approval of the measure.

"The streltzi had been distributed at points far removed from Moscow.
Under pretence of coming to get their pay, they marched to the city,
where they were met by General Gordon, an English officer who commanded
the Government troops at the time. Gordon defeated the streltzi, and
then by torturing some of the prisoners learned the history of the
conspiracy. It was to place Sophia on the throne in place of Peter, and
a great many persons were implicated in the scheme. News of the
occurrence was sent to Peter at Vienna, and hastened his return as


"On arriving in Moscow, he made the most searching inquiry, and by
torturing some of those who had fallen into his hands he obtained the
names of many others. There is no doubt that innocent persons were
implicated, as the victims of torture are apt to tell anything, whether
true or false, in order to escape from their pain. Those implicated were
immediately arrested and put to death, many of them with torture.
Nobles, ladies of rank, officers and soldiers, comprised the list. On
the spot where we stood to-day hundreds of the streltzi were beheaded,
and altogether several thousands of people were killed. Peter himself
took part in the executions, if report is true. Once, at a banquet, he
ordered twenty of the prisoners to be brought in, and a block arranged
for the fearful ceremony. Then he called for a glass of wine. After
drinking it, he beheaded the victim, who had been placed on the block,
and then he called for another victim and another glass of wine. It is
said that he was just one hour in performing the twenty executions; and
after he had finished he went in person to the great square in front of
the Kremlin, where other executions were going on.

"While he was witnessing one of these executions, one of the prisoners
who was about to lose his head came forward as coolly as though he were
entering a dining-hall. 'Make way for us,' he said, as he kicked the
fallen heads from his path--'make way here, make way.'

"Just as the man lay down upon the block and the executioner raised his
axe, Peter ordered the prisoner to be liberated. He pardoned him on the
spot, remarking that there was good stuff in a man who could walk so
gallantly to his own execution. Peter's prediction was correct; and who
do you suppose the man was?

"His name was Orloff. He was a faithful adherent of Peter for the rest
of his life, and rose to the command of his armies. He was the founder
of the Orloff family, which has ever since been prominent in Russian
matters, and continues so down to the present day. Various members of
the family have been distinguished in land and naval warfare, and in
diplomacy and home affairs. One of them was the intimate friend and
adviser of Catherine II. He was a man of gigantic stature and great
personal courage, and is said to have strangled with his own hands the
unfortunate emperor Peter III., in order to place the disconsolate widow
Catherine on the throne.

[Illustration: CATHERINE I.]

"Catherine II. should not be confounded with Catherine I. It was
Catherine II., surnamed 'The Great,' to whom I have just referred, as
the conspirator who gained the throne by the murder of her husband.
Catherine I. was the widow of Peter the Great, and mother of the Empress
Elizabeth. She had great influence over the founder of the Empire, and
though not always controlling his violent temper, she did much towards
suppressing it on many occasions.

[Illustration: CATHERINE II.]

"While we are in sight of Romanoff House let us run over the list of
those who have held the throne since the first of this family ascended
it. Here they are:

  "1. Michael Feodorovitch (first of the Romanoffs).
  "2. Alexis Mikailovitch (son of Michael).
  "3. Feodor Alexeivitch (son of Alexis).
  "4. Ivan Alexeivitch (brother of No. 3).
  "5. Peter Alexeivitch (Peter I., or, "The Great").
  "6. Catherine I. (widow of Peter I.).
  "7. Peter II. (grandson of Peter I.).
  "8. Anna (niece of Peter I.).
  "9. Ivan III. (imprisoned in his infancy, and afterwards assassinated).
  "10. Elizabeth (daughter of Peter I.).
  "11. Peter III. (great-grandson of Peter I.).
  "12. Catherine II.
  "13. Paul I. (son of Catherine II.).
  "14. Alexander I. (son of Paul I.).
  "15. Nicholas I. (brother of Alexander I.).
  "16. Alexander II. (son of Nicholas I).
  "17. Alexander III. (son of Alexander II.).

"It is a circumstance worthy of note that in the thirty-seven years
between the death of Peter the Great and the accession of Catherine the
Great, Russia had three emperors and three empresses; the emperors
reigned, but cannot be said to have ruled, only three and a half years
altogether, while the empresses held the throne for the rest of the
time. Catherine was Empress from 1762 till 1796; so that during the
eighteenth century the Russian crown was worn by women for nearly
seventy years.


"The heir to the throne at present is too young to have made his mark in
any way; and besides, he has had no opportunity, even if he were of age.
His name is Nicholas; he is the eldest son of Alexander III., and when
he ascends the throne he will be known as Nicholas II. He was born in
1868, and is said to be a young man of great promise.

"Four at least of the seventeen rulers named above were murdered, and
there were suspicions of poisoning in the cases of two others.
Consequently the description of the Government of Russia as 'despotism
tempered by assassination' is not so very far from the truth.

"It is sometimes said that the Romanoff family is more German than
Russian, in consequence of the marriages of the emperors with German
princesses. Peter the Great was pure Russian; his son Alexis, father of
Peter II., married a German princess, and their daughter Anne married a
German duke. Anne and the German duke were the parents of Peter III.,
the husband of Catherine II.; Peter III. and Catherine were the parents
of Paul, who married a German princess, and the example has been
followed by all the emperors. The Russian poet Pushkin used to represent
in an amusing way the Germanizing of the Imperial family, which was as

"He placed in a goblet a spoonful of wine for the Czarevitch Alexis and
a spoonful of water for his German wife. Then he added a spoonful of
water for Anne's German husband, a third for Catherine II., and a
fourth, fifth, and sixth for the German wives of Paul, Nicholas, and
Alexander II. Were the poet alive to-day, he would add a seventh for
the Danish wife of Alexander III., and an eighth for the wife of the
young Nicholas, whoever she may be.

"However little Russian blood may be running at present in the veins of
the Romanoff family, there is no question about the thoroughly Russian
character of the persons most concerned. Born and bred in Russia, it
would be strange if the men were otherwise than national in their
feelings; and as for the women who have been married into the Imperial
family, they seem to have left everything behind them when they came to
make their homes in Muscovy. There was never a more thorough Russian
than Catherine II. When she came to the Imperial court at the age of
fifteen she immediately went to work to learn the language, and in
after-life she used to say that if she knew of a drop of blood in her
veins that had not become Russian she would have it drawn out.

"Before becoming the wives of the men of the Imperial family, all
foreign princesses must be baptized and taken into the Russian Church.
The ceremony is a very elaborate one, and is made a state affair. The
members of the Imperial family are present, together with many high
officials, who appear as witnesses, and there can be no exceptions to
the rule that requires the Emperor's bride to be of his religion.
Family, home, religion, everything must be given up by the woman who is
to become an Empress of Russia.

"Well, we will leave Romanoff House and the Kitai Gorod, and go to see
something else. Our guide suggests the Church of the Saviour, which has
only recently been completed. It was built to commemorate the retreat of
the French from Moscow. Our guide, whose arithmetic is a good deal at
fault, says they have been working at it for more than a hundred years.

"Though not so quaint as the churches we have seen, it is certainly the
finest in the city. It is in the form of a Greek cross, and the central
cupola, eighty-four feet in diameter, rises three hundred and
forty-three feet above the ground. In front of the church there are
statues of the Russian generals of the early part of the century; the
outside is adorned with bronze reliefs, which are strangely divided
between Scriptural subjects and the war of 1812. The interior of the
building is finished with highly polished porphyry, lapis-lazuli, and
other costly stones, and there is a profusion of paintings ornamenting
the walls. We spent half an hour or more at the church, and were loath
to leave it.

"In addition to its many churches of the Greek faith, Moscow is like St.
Petersburg in containing churches representing all the religions of a
Christian city, together with synagogues for the Jews and mosques for
the Tartars. Some Chinese who once lived in Moscow had a pagoda, where
they worshipped idols as in their own country, but our guide says there
are no Chinese here at present. Of course we had not sufficient time for
visiting all the churches of Moscow, and told the guide to take us only
to those which were really remarkable. We saw perhaps a dozen in
addition to those I have named. They were interesting to us who saw
them, but I omit a description lest it might prove tedious.

"We went to the Museum, which has a library of one hundred and fifty
thousand volumes, a collection of minerals, and a great number of
paintings, engravings, and similar things. It did not impress us as much
as did the Museum of St. Petersburg, but perhaps this is due to the fact
that we were a good deal wearied after our long hours of sight-seeing,
and were more desirous of a rest than anything else.


"One of the curiosities of the place was a skinned and stuffed man in a
glass case. It reminded us of the cases in which the dress-makers
exhibit the latest styles of feminine apparel; and the figure, though
dead, was more 'life-like' than the wax models to which we are
accustomed. It is the real skin of a man who once lived and moved and
was of goodly stature.

"From the Museum we went to the _Manège_, or riding-school, which is
claimed to be the largest building in the world without any supporting
pillars. Look at the figures of its measurement: length, 560 feet;
width, 158 feet; height, 42 feet.

"Perhaps some of the great railway-stations of Europe or America can
surpass these measurements, but we certainly don't know of one that can.
The space is large enough for two regiments of cavalry to perform their
evolutions; and in the winter season, when the weather is too severe
for out-door exercise, this riding-school is in constant use. It is
heated by stoves ranged around the sides of the room, and is ornamented
with numerous trophies of war, and representations of men in armor. The
roof is low and rather flat, and even when the sun is shining the light
is poor.

"The Suhareff Tower, to which we next went, was chiefly interesting as a
reminder of Peter the Great. At present it is utilized as a reservoir
for supplying the city with water, and it performs its duty very well.
It was formerly the north-western gate of the city, and a regiment of
streltzi was kept here under command of Colonel Suhareff. When the
streltzi revolted, in 1682, Suhareff's regiment remained faithful, and
escorted Peter and his mother and brother to the Troitsa Monastery.

"In grateful remembrance for their devotion, Peter caused this tower to
be built and named after the colonel who commanded at the time. The
architect tried to make something resembling a ship, but did not succeed
very well. Peter used to have secret councils of state in this tower,
and it was here that comedies were performed in 1771 by the first troupe
of foreign actors that ever came to Russia. It is also said--"

Here the journal stopped rather abruptly. Frank and Fred were summoned
to go to the "_Troitska Traktir_" for dinner, and as they were both
hungry and curious the journal was laid aside.

We have had the description of a Russian dinner in the account of what
they saw in St. Petersburg. The dinner in Moscow was much like the one
already described, but the surroundings were different. The waiters
were in snowy frocks and trousers, and the establishment was so large
that it was said to employ one hundred and fifty waiters in the dining
and tea rooms alone.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN BEGGARS.]

Many of the patrons of the place were taking nothing but tea, and the
_samovar_ was everywhere. Frank and Fred thought they had never seen
waiters more attentive than at this traktir. They seemed to understand
beforehand what was wanted, and a single glance was sure to bring one of
them to the table. They did a great deal more than the waiters do in
Western Europe. They offered to cut up the food so that it could be
eaten with a fork, and they poured out the tea, instead of leaving the
patron to pour for himself. Frank observed that nearly every one who
entered the place said his prayers in front of the holy picture. There
is a picture in every room of the establishment, so that the devout
worshipper is never at a loss.

Another day they went to the "_Moskovski Traktir_" a large restaurant
similar to the Troitska, and containing an enormous organ which is said
to have cost more than fifty thousand dollars. The Russians are very
fond of music of the mechanical sort, and their country is one of the
best markets of the Swiss makers of organs and music-boxes. In the best
houses all through Russia expensive instruments of this kind can be
found, and sometimes the barrel-organs are large enough to fill a
respectably-sized room with machinery and fittings, and an entire house
with sound. Probably the most costly mechanical musical instruments are
made for Russians, and some of them give the effect of a whole
orchestra. While the instrument in the traktir was in operation, both
the youths said they could have easily believed the music to have been
produced by a dozen skilled performers.

As they left the Moskovski Traktir the guide suggested that they would
go to the restaurant of the Old Believers. Fred thus describes the

"I must begin by saying that the Old Believers are a Russian sect who
prefer the version of the Bible as it was up to the time of Nikon,
rather than the one he introduced. The Government persecuted them
greatly in past times, and even at present they are subjected to many
restrictions. They are scattered through the Empire, and are said to
number several millions, but the exact statistics concerning them are

"In addition to their adhesion to the old form of the Scriptures they
abhor smoking, refuse to shave their beards, attach particular sanctity
to old ecclesiastical pictures, and are inveterate haters of everything
not thoroughly Russian. They despise the manners and customs of Western
Europe, which they consider the synonyme of vices, and associate as
little as possible with those who do not share their belief. In the
country they form communities and villages by themselves, and in the
cities they live in the same quarter as much as possible. They are an
honest, industrious people, and thoroughly loyal subjects of the

"In the traktir of the Old Believers we found the waiters wearing dark
caftans instead of white ones, and the room was filled with Russians of
noticeably long beards. Smoking is not allowed here under any
circumstances; and as nearly all Russians who are not Old Believers are
confirmed smokers, this curious sect has the place all to itself. We
were politely treated by the waiters, and, at the advice of the guide,
ventured to eat a _blinni_, for which the place is famous. It was so
good that we repeated the order. Of course we had the inevitable
_samovar_, and found the tea the best that any restaurant has thus far
supplied. This traktir has an excellent reputation for its tea and
cookery; the bill of fare is not large, but everything is of the best

"There is a Tartar restaurant where horse-flesh is said to be served
regularly; but whether this is true or not we did not try to find out.
The place is kept by a Russian, so that the assertion is open to some
doubt. Any one can go to the Tartar restaurant, but it is not frequented
by Russians. The Tartars do not associate freely with the Russians,
though there is no hostility between them. They seclude their wives
after the Moslem fashion, and a Russian gentleman tells me that he has
rarely had a glimpse of a Tartar woman, though he has lived near these
people ever since he was born."


For a general view of Moscow our friends took a drive to the Sparrow
Hills, the spot whence Napoleon took his first and also his last look
upon the city he came so far to conquer.

On the way thither they stopped at the Gardens, which are the property
of the Galitsin family, and also at a small palace or villa which is the
property of the Empress. These interruptions delayed them, so that it
was near sunset when they reached the Sparrow Hills and had the city in
full view. As they looked at the sunlight reflected from the hundreds of
gilded domes, and the great city spread over the undulating ground, they
realized what must have been the feelings of the French soldiers as they
gazed upon Moscow after their long and perilous journey to the heart of

There is still higher ground from which to look upon the city at the
Simonoff Monastery, which has a belfry more than three hundred feet
high. The monastery dates from 1390. It was once the most important
church establishment in Russia, and possessed immense areas of land and
as many as twelve thousand serfs. It was earnestly defended against the
Poles in 1612, but was captured and plundered by them. It was a
quarantine hospital in the plague of 1771, and a military one from 1788
to 1795.

The French burned several of its buildings, but they were soon restored.
The extent of the place will be understood when it is known that there
are six churches inside the walls. Our friends passed some time there
looking at the antique silver, gold, and other ornaments, and the costly
vestments which have been handed down from ancient times. They climbed
to the top of the belfry, and had a view of the city which they are not
likely to forget immediately.

The visit to the Simonoff Monastery was a preliminary to an excursion to
the Troitska Monastery, which will be described in the next chapter.

[Illustration: GALLERY IN THE PALACE.]



The Troitska (Trinity) Monastery is about forty miles from Moscow, and
reached by railway in little more than two hours. Our friends took an
early start, intending to see the monastery and return the same day
which is by no means difficult, as there are three trains each way every
twenty-four hours. Fred had spent the previous evening in reading up the
history of the place they were to visit. As soon as they were seated in
the train he gave the following summary to his companions:

"The monastery was founded in 1342 by St. Sergius, a son of a Russian
nobleman of Rostof, who was famed for his intelligence and piety. The
Princes of Muscovy used to ask his advice in their contests with the
Tartars, as well as in other matters. Dmitry of the Don sought his
blessing before going to the battle of Kulikova, where he defeated the
Tartars; he was accompanied by two monks, disciples of Sergius, who
fought by Dmitry's side during the memorable battle. In consideration of
the great services thus rendered, the monastery received grants of land
and became very rich. St. Sergius died in 1392, and it is said that he
remained a simple monk to the last.

"In 1408 the Tartars laid the monastery waste, and scattered the monks.
They reassembled about fifteen years later, and the monastery was
re-established. It has never since been recaptured, though it was
besieged by thirty thousand Poles in 1608. The monks made a vigorous
defence, and the siege was finally raised by a Russian force which came
to their assistance. The French started from Moscow for the monastery in
1812, but only went about half way. The tradition is that the saint
appeared miraculously, and covered the road leading to the monastery
with such an array of soldiers in black that the French did not dare to
attack them.

"While the Poles were in possession of Moscow in 1612, the monastery
aided the inhabitants with food and money. The Poles again sent an army
to conquer the place, but it was repulsed by the monks without any
assistance from the Russian soldiers. The plague and the cholera, which
have both visited Moscow, have not entered Troitska, and consequently
the place is much venerated for its sanctity.


"There is a legend that when the saint first came to the spot he met a
huge bear in the forest; the bear rushed forward to destroy him, but
suddenly paused, and from that moment the saint and the bear were
friends. For the rest of their days they lived together, and when the
saint died the bear remained on the spot, and gave evidences of the most
earnest grief. This story is implicitly believed by the orthodox
Russians, and the gentleman from whose writings I have taken it says he
heard it from the lips of a Russian lady, and narrated so artlessly that
it would have been painful to have expressed any doubt of its truth."

Other legends of the monastery, and incidents showing its prominence in
Russian history, whiled away the time till the station at Troitska was
reached. After a substantial breakfast at the railway-station, the party
proceeded to the famous edifice, which is more like a fortress than a
religious establishment. Its walls have a linear extent of nearly a
mile; they are twenty feet thick, and vary in height from thirty to
fifty feet. They would offer little obstruction to modern artillery, but
it is easy to see that they could make a stout resistance to such cannon
as the Poles possessed three centuries ago. There are towers at the
angles, eight in all, and one of them is surmounted by an obelisk which
bears a duck carved in stone, in remembrance of the fact that Peter the
Great used to shoot ducks on a pond near the monastery.

For what they saw at Troitska we will refer to Frank's journal:

"There were crowds of beggars along the road from the railway-station to
the gate of the monastery. It seems that the place is an object of
pilgrimage from all parts of Russia, and the beggars reap a goodly
harvest from those who come to pray at the shrine of the saint. Before
the railway was opened, the high-road from Moscow seemed to pass through
a double hedge of beggars, and the traveller was never out of hearing of
their plaintive appeals for charity.


"We were cordially welcomed to the monastery, and one of the monks, who
spoke French, accompanied us through the place. There are ten churches
within the walls, the oldest being the Church of the Trinity, and the
largest that of the Assumption. The shrine of St. Sergius is in the
former. It is an elaborate piece of workmanship, of pure silver,
weighing nine hundred and thirty-six pounds, and is so constructed that
the relics of the saint are exposed. Near the shrine is a painting of
the saint, that was carried in battle by Peter the Great and the Czar
Alexis, and there is a record on a silver plate of other battles in
which it was used.

[Illustration: PITY THE POOR.]

"There are other pictures of the saint displayed on the walls of the
church. The whole interior of the building is covered with ornaments in
massive silver and gold, and it is no wonder the French made an effort
to plunder the monastery when they learned of the treasures it
contained. There is a representation of the Last Supper, in which the
figures are of solid gold, with the exception of the Judas, which is of
brass. The images are covered with pearls and precious stones in great
profusion. In some cases they are so thickly spread that the metal can
hardly be seen.

"In the Church of the Assumption is a two-headed eagle, which
commemorates the concealment of Peter the Great under the altar during
the insurrection of the streltzi. They showed us a well that was dug by
St. Sergius, and discovered after its locality had been unknown for
nearly three hundred years. Near the church is a tower two hundred and
ninety feet high, and containing several bells, one of them weighing
sixty-five tons. Russia is certainly the country of gigantic bells.

"A description of all the churches at Troitska would be tedious,
especially as we have spoken of the two of greatest interest. The
sacristy is in a detached building, and contains more curiosities than I
could describe in a dozen pages. There are mitres, crowns, crosses, and
other ornaments that have been given to the monastery by the various
rulers of Russia or by wealthy individuals, many of them set with jewels
of remarkable size and beauty. A copy of the Gospels, given by the Czar
Michael in 1632, is in heavy covers, ornamented with designs in enamel;
in the centre of the design on the front cover is a cross made with
rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, and there is a similar though smaller
cross on the back.

"The robes worn by the priesthood are as numerous and costly as those we
saw at Moscow, and so are the ornaments that accompany them. The pearl
head-dress which Catherine II. wore at her coronation is preserved here,
and serves as an ornament on a priestly robe. There is a crown presented
by Elizabeth, and an altar-cloth from John the Terrible. And so we could
go on through a long list of magnificent gifts from kings and emperors,
and an equally long array of vestments worn by high dignitaries of the
Church on state occasions.

"The piety of the pilgrims is shown by their adoration, not of these
jewelled crowns and diadems, but of the wooden utensils and coarse
garments which belonged to the founder of the monastery. These relics
are distributed among the glass cases which contain the costly mementos
we have mentioned, with the evident intention of setting forth as
clearly as possible the simple ways of his life.


"One of the curiosities they showed us was a natural agate, in which
there is the figure of a monk bowing before a cross. The cross is very
clearly defined, and so is the cowled figure kneeling before it, though
the latter would hardly be taken as representing anything in particular
if regarded by itself. We examined it carefully to see if there was any
deception about it, but could not detect it if there was. The monk, the
cross, and the rock on which the cross stands appear to be wholly formed
by the natural lines of the agate. The stone is about four inches high,
and oval in shape; on one side it is rather dull and opaque, but it is
bright on the other, and distinctly shows the eyes of the monk.


"The monks of Troitska wear black caftans topped with high black hats
without brims; black veils hang down over their shoulders, and nearly
every monk wears his hair as long as it will grow. We saw them at dinner
in their refectory, where one of the number read the service while the
rest went on with their eating and drinking; they were talking freely
among themselves, and did not seem to listen at all to the reader. In
general they appear to be well fed and cared for, and, so far as we
could observe, their life is not a rigorous one. They offered carvings
in wood, ivory, and mother-of-pearl, and we bought several of these
things to bring away as curiosities. Among them was a paper-knife, with
the handle representing St. Sergius and the bear in the forest. The work
was well done, and the knife will make a pretty ornament for somebody's
desk in America.

"When we entered the refectory the monks invited us to dine with them,
and we regretted that we had already breakfasted at the railway-station.
There is a lodging-house for travellers attached to the monastery, and
comparing favorably with a Russian hotel of the rural sort. Nothing is
charged for the rooms, but the lodger who can afford it must pay for his
food, and in addition he is expected to drop something into the
contribution-box which the monks will show him before his departure. The
cooking is said to be excellent, and the table as well supplied as any
in Moscow. They have a pilgrim's table, where one may dine free of
charge, but the food is simple and limited in quantity.

"There is a studio of painting in the monastery, where the monks and
their pupils, forty or fifty in all, were busily at work copying from
religious subjects of both Greek and Latin origin. They are not confined
to church paintings, as we saw portraits of the Emperor and other
members of the Imperial family, and several battle-scenes in which
Russian arms have figured. There is a very good painting representing
the attack of the Poles upon the monastery, and another illustrating the
defence of Sebastopol during the Crimean War.


"The monastery was enormously rich at one time, not only in the
treasures it possessed, but in grants of land and serfs which had been
given by the Government. In 1764 it had one hundred and six thousand
male serfs, and its lands covered many thousands of acres. Though losing
its serfs, it has not been without compensation, and the monastery is
handsomely supported, partly by an annual donation from the Government,
and partly by the gifts of pious Russians."

Doctor Bronson and the youths returned to Moscow in the evening, as
they had planned, and on the next day made their preparations for
continuing their journey.

Their next place of destination was Nijni Novgorod, where they wished to
attend the great fair, which was then in progress. They decided to go by
the express train, which leaves Moscow in the evening and reaches Nijni
Novgorod in the morning. The distance is about two hundred and seventy
miles, and there is very little to see on the way.


The only place of consequence between Moscow and Nijni is Vladimir,
named after Vladimir the Great. It has about fifteen thousand
inhabitants, and is the centre of a considerable trade. Anciently it was
of much political importance, and witnessed the coronations of the Czars
of Muscovy down to 1432. Its Kremlin is in a decayed state, and little
remains of its former glory, except a venerable and beautiful cathedral.
Our friends thought they could get along with the churches they had
already seen, and declined to stop to look at the Cathedral of

On arriving at Nijni they were met at the station by a commissioner from
the Hotel de la Poste, to which they had telegraphed for rooms. In the
time of the fair it is necessary to secure accommodations in advance if
one is intending to remain more than a single day. Tourists who are in a
hurry generally come from Moscow by the night train, spend the day at
Nijni, and return to Moscow the same evening. Thus they have no use for
a hotel, as they can take their meals at the railway-station or in the
restaurants on the fair grounds.

"This is practically the last of the great fairs of Europe," said the
Doctor to his young companions as the train rolled out of Moscow.
"Leipsic still maintains its three fairs every year, but they have
greatly changed their character since the establishment of railways.
They are more local than general, and one does not see people from all
parts of Europe, as was the case forty or fifty years ago. The fairs of
France and Germany have dwindled to insignificance, and now the only
really great fair where Europe and Asia meet is the one we are about to

Frank asked how long these fairs had been in existence.

"Fairs are of very ancient origin," the Doctor replied; "that of Leipsic
can be distinctly traced for more than six hundred years. The word
'fair' comes from the Latin _feria_, meaning day of rest, or holiday,
and the fairs for the sale of goods were and still are generally
connected with religious festivals. The Greeks and Romans had fairs
before the Christian era; fairs were established in France in the fifth
century and in England in the ninth, and they were common in Germany
about the beginning of the eleventh century, when they were principally
devoted to the sale of slaves.

"Coming down with a single bound to the great fair of Russia, we find
that there was an annual gathering of merchants at Nijni more than five
hundred years ago. Long before that time there was a fair in Kazan, then
under Tartar rule, but Russian merchants were prohibited from going
there by order of John the Terrible. The fair of Nijni was removed to
Makarieff, seventy miles down the river, in 1641, where it remained a
long time. The monks of Makarieff controlled the fair until 1751, when
it passed into the hands of the Government, and has remained there ever

"The fair at Makarieff was held on low ground near the town. Owing to an
inundation in 1816, the Government restored the fair to Nijni, and
decreed that it should be held annually between the 27th of July and the
22d of September. The ordinary population of Nijni is about forty
thousand; two hundred and fifty thousand merchants, laborers, and
others come to the fair, so that for two months of the year nearly
three hundred thousand people are assembled here."

"How are they all accommodated with lodgings and food?" one of the
youths asked.


"The permanent town of Nijni Novgorod," said the Doctor, "is separated
from Fair-town, if we may so call it, by the River Oka, which here joins
the Volga. The fair is held on a tongue of land between the Volga and
the Oka, and Fair-town and Nijni proper are connected by bridges of
boats. It is a regular town or city, built for the purposes of trade. It
has its governor, police force, fire brigade, and all the paraphernalia
of a city, and the Government collects by means of a tax about fifty
thousand dollars for the support of the organization."

"Then it is a city with a busy population for two months of the year,
and a deserted town for the other ten?"


"Exactly so," was the reply; "Fair-town at Nijni in season and out of
season will remind you of the difference between Coney Island or Long
Branch in July and in January.

"We'll drop the subject till to-morrow," said the Doctor, and with this
suggestion the conversation was suspended.

On their arrival at Nijni, where they expected to remain two or three
days, the party went to the hotel as already stated, and then made a
hasty survey of the stock sights of the place. They saw the Kremlin,
which is a place of considerable strength, and contains the Governor's
residence, the military barracks, law-courts, telegraph station, and
other public buildings. There is a fine monument to Minin and Pojarsky,
and in a church not far off is the tomb of the patriotic cattle-dealer.

Our friends climbed to the top of Minin's Tower (_Bashnia Minina_),
where they had a magnificent view of the surrounding country, including
the valleys of the Volga and Oka for a long distance, the permanent town
and its Kremlin, the site of the fair, with its miles of streets, and
its thousands of boats and barges tied to the river-bank. Frank recalled
the view from the hill near Hankow, at the junction of the Han and
Yang-tse in China, and pointed out many features of similarity. Fred
said he was reminded of the junction of the Ganges and Jumna at
Allahabad, and an appeal to the Doctor brought out a reference to the
union of the Alleghany and Monongahela at Pittsburg.

The permanent town was quickly disposed of, as the youths were impatient
to inspect the great fair. For an account of what they saw we will again
refer to their journals.

"What a cloud of dust there is here," said Frank, "and they say the dust
turns to mud, and deep mud, too, after a heavy rain. They make a
pretence of watering the streets when the weather is dry, but the work
is not very well done; and besides, the vast number of people walking
about keeps the ground in very active occupation.

"Nearly all the houses are of brick or iron, and great care is taken to
prevent fires. The lower stories of the houses are used for shops, and
the upper for storage, or for the residence of those who have hired the
buildings. The sewerage system is said to be excellent, the sewers being
flushed several times daily by water pumped from the river.

"The Governor's house is in the centre of this fair-town. Under it is a
bazaar for the sale of goods from all parts of Europe and Asia, and we
naturally took this house for the centre of trade. Along the streets and
avenues there are shops of all kinds, and we seemed to be in the bazaars
of all the Oriental countries we have ever visited, together with the
shops and stores of all the Western ones. The list of the goods we saw
would almost be a list of all the articles of trade throughout the
civilized and uncivilized world, and we hesitate to begin. Name anything
that you want to buy and the guide will take you to where it is sold.

"The mode of dealing is more Oriental than Occidental, as the merchants
in any particular kind of goods are clustered together as in the bazaars
of the East. For a mile or more there are warehouses filled only with
iron, and very judiciously they are on the bank of the river, to save
labor in handling and transportation. The tea-merchants are together,
and so are the dealers in Bokharian cotton, Tartar sheepskins, Siberian
furs, and other things on the long list we do not intend to write out in

"Restaurants of every name and kind are here, good, bad, and
indifferent. The best is under the Governor's house, and we recommend it
to any of our friends who follow in our footsteps and visit Nijni. There
are Russian, Armenian, and Catholic churches, and there are mosques and
pagodas, so that every visitor may suit himself in religious matters.

"As for the people we confess to some disappointment. The great majority
are Russians, as a matter of course, but it is rather greater than we
had looked for. We had thought we would see all the countries of Asia
represented by their national dress, together with English, French,
Germans, and other people of Western Europe. All were there, it is true,
but not in the numbers we had expected.

[Illustration: TARTAR MERCHANT.]

"Kirghese, Bokhariots, Turcomans, and other people of Central Asia, were
to be seen here and there, and so were Kalmuck Tartars, Armenians,
Persians, and an occasional Chinese. But sometimes we could walk around
for an hour or so without seeing anybody but Russians, or hearing any
language except the one to which we have become accustomed since our
arrival at St. Petersburg.


"We bought a few souvenirs of the place; but, so far as we could
observe, the prices were quite as high as in the Gostinna Dvor of St.
Petersburg or Moscow. It requires a great deal of bargaining, and a
knowledge of prices beforehand, to avoid being cheated, and even then
you can never be sure that you are fairly treated. The mode of dealing
is emphatically Oriental, and a great deal of time is spent in
dickering. Nobody seems to understand the advantages of fixed prices.

"It is said that the annual business at the fair of Nijni Novgorod
amounts to three hundred millions of dollars, though it has somewhat
diminished of late years. Much of the dealing is on credit, the goods
being delivered at one fair and paid for at the next. Over a pot of tea
transactions will be made that cover many thousands of dollars, and
neither party has a scrap of paper to show for them. Collections through
the courts would be next to an impossibility, and therefore personal
honor is at a high premium. The merchant who fails to meet his
engagements would be excluded from the fair, and thus deprived of the
means of making new negotiations.

"The Government requires the bakers to report each day the amount of
bread they have sold, and thus a rough estimate of the number of people
present is obtained.

"There are two other fairs held at Nijni, but they are of comparatively
little consequence. One, early in July, is devoted to horses; the other,
in January, is for the sale of timber, wooden-ware, and boxes. The
latter is held on the ice of the Oka. In January, 1864, the ice gave way
and a great number of people and horses were drowned."

Two or three days were spent at the fair, and then our friends engaged
passage on a steamboat to descend the Volga. The youths were surprised
at the number and size of the steamers navigating this river, and still
more surprised to find that many of them were of American pattern. The
first passenger steamers on the Volga were built by Americans, and were
found so well adapted to the work required of them that the system has
been continued. Some of the boats are of the Mississippi model, while
others resemble those of the Hudson River. At first they had only
side-wheel steamers, but in the last few years several light-draft
stern-wheelers have been built (also by Americans) and found especially
useful in threading among the numerous sand-bars at the period of low

Many boats of great power are used for towing barges up and down the
river, and find plenty of employment during all the time the Volga is
free from ice. Altogether, about five hundred steamboats of all classes
are engaged in the navigation of the Volga.

It is sixteen hundred miles from Nijni to Astrachan, and the voyage
usually takes five or six days. The boats do not run at night, on
account of the difficulty of navigation, which is worse than that of the
Lower Mississippi, and more like the Missouri than any other American
stream. The fare (first class) on the best steamers is about twenty-five
dollars, exclusive of meals, which will cost from twelve to twenty
dollars more. Competition occasionally reduces the figures considerably,
but, as a general thing, the Russians are too shrewd to conduct their
business at a loss in order to injure that of a rival.

"We are on a fine boat, which reminds me of the very one that carried us
from St. Louis to Memphis," writes Fred in his journal. "She is called
the _Nadeshda_ ("Hope"); and that reminds me it was the _Hope_ on which
I went from Memphis to Natchez, when Frank and I travelled down the
Mississippi. Her captain speaks English, the steward speaks French, and
we have learned enough Russian to get along very well with the servants
without the aid of an interpreter. The cabins are large, clean, and
comfortable, and altogether we expect to make a comfortable voyage.

"We left Nijni about noon, and the captain says we shall be twenty-four
hours getting to Kazan, where he will stop long enough for us to see the
place. As I write, we are passing Makarieff, formerly the seat of the
great fair, but now of little importance.

"There are many boats and barges floating with the current in addition
to the huge tows which are managed by the steamboats. The captain says
that before steam navigation was introduced there was a great deal of
towing by horse-power; and how do you suppose it was done?


"There was an immense barge, with powerful windlasses or capstans, which
were operated by horses walking in a circle as in the old-fashioned
cider-mills. A huge cable, all the way from a quarter of a mile to two
miles in length, would be sent up stream, and either anchored in the
channel or fastened to a tree on shore. When all was ready the horses
were set in motion, and the towing-barge, with all the boats and barges
attached to it, slowly ascended against the current. Progress was very
slow, but it was safe, as there was no danger from exploding boilers or
overheated furnaces. As many as two hundred horses were sometimes
employed by single barges.


"Our captain says that back from the river are many villages of
Cheramess, a people of Tartar origin, who preserve many of their ancient
customs. They are loyal subjects of the Government, and in nearly all
their cottages one will find the portraits of the Emperor and Empress.
In accordance with their custom of veiling women, they hang a piece of
thin gauze over the portrait of the Empress.

"The summer road between Kazan and Nijni is on the south bank of the
river; the winter road is on the ice, and is marked with green boughs
placed in a double row, so that the road cannot be missed. These boughs
are placed by the Administration of Roads, and no one can travel on the
ice of the river until it has been officially declared safe. The south
bank is quite abrupt, while on the north the country frequently
stretches off in a level for a long distance. Most of the towns along
the banks are said to have been founded by John the Terrible in his
expedition for the capture of Kazan.

"We reached Kazan as promised soon after noon, and had the rest of the
day for seeing the place. We were all ready when the boat touched the
shore, and were off as soon as we secured a carriage. The city is about
five miles from the river, but we found the drive to it not at all
uninteresting. We passed through a suburb where a mosque and a church
standing close together symbolized the friendly relations between the
Russian and Tartar inhabitants.

"Kazan is a handsome city with about sixty thousand inhabitants, of whom
one-third are Tartars. We drove through the Tartar quarter, and found it
very much like the Russian, with the exception of the people in the
streets and the signs on the shops. The buildings have the same general
appearance, and were probably built by Russian architects. John the
Terrible destroyed a large part of the city soon after its capture. He
levelled everything in the Kremlin, including the tombs of the Tartar
kings, and since his day the city has been swept by fire no less than
three times. Consequently there is very little of the ancient
architecture; a portion of the Tartar wall of the Kremlin remains, and
that is about all.

"Kazan is famous for its manufactures of leather, soap, candles, and
other things, and there are said to be nearly two hundred factories in
and around the city. It is specially celebrated for its tanneries, and
annually turns out large quantities of 'Russia leather.'

[Illustration: TARTAR BAKER'S SHOP.]

"We hadn't time to visit the University of Kazan, which has about five
hundred students, and ranks first in the Empire for instruction in
Oriental languages and literature. It has Persian, Arabic, Chinese, and
other Oriental professors, and we were told that a student might study
any one of twenty-six languages within its walls.

"Of course we could not neglect the cathedral, where is preserved a
miraculous picture, which was found unscathed in the midst of the ashes
after a great conflagration. On its head is a diamond crown, presented
by Catherine II. Near the town is a pyramidal monument in memory of
those who fell during the siege and capture of the city.

"Just at dusk we returned to the _Nadeshda_, where we found a
substantial supper waiting for us, and made the acquaintance of a
fellow-countryman, Mr. Hegeman, who was to be our companion for the
remainder of the voyage. He was familiar with Russia, having lived in
the country nearly twenty years, and travelled in all parts of it. He
was well informed on every subject, and gave us a great amount of
valuable statistics and descriptions. We talked until quite late in the
evening; and when he joined us at breakfast the next morning the boat
was steaming down the Volga and nearing the mouth of the Kama, where
several passengers were to leave us.

"'They are going to Perm,' said the captain of the _Nadeshda_, 'and some
of them are on the way to Siberia.'

"We asked if this was the way to Siberia, and the captain explained that
it was one of the routes. 'Steamers ascend the Kama to Perm,' said he,
'and from Perm there is a railway to Ekaterineburg, which is on the
Siberian side of the Ural Mountains. The line has been extended to
Tumen, three hundred miles farther, and ultimately it will be pushed on
till it reaches Irkutsk, on the shores of Lake Baikal, and close to the
frontier of China.'

"How we wished we could make the journey through Siberia! Over the Ural
Mountains, across the Steppes, down the Amoor, and out into the waters
of the Pacific Ocean! What a magnificent tour, and what strange things
to see on the way!

"Mr. Hegeman heard our wish, and said he would tell us all about the
trip across Siberia as soon as we were under way again. As the
_Nadeshda_ steamed down the Volga he gave us an account, which we have
tried to preserve as nearly as possible in his own words."



"My first visit to the Russian Empire," said Mr. Hegeman, "was made from
San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean. I sailed out of the Golden Gate
in the direction of Kamtchatka, and after a voyage of thirty days we
sighted the summit of Avatcha Mountain, a magnificent volcano that
serves as a landmark to vessels approaching Avatcha Bay. This bay is one
of the finest I have ever seen. I do not think it surpassed by the
famous bays of Naples or Rio Janeiro."

[Illustration: A SIBERIAN VILLAGE.]

Doctor Bronson nodded assent to Mr. Hegeman's opinion. He had been in
Avatcha Bay, which he briefly described to the youths while Mr. Hegeman
was lighting a cigar.


"It is about ten miles across, and nearly circular," said the Doctor,
"and its entrance from the ocean is nearly a mile in width. Avatcha
Mountain is directly in front of the entrance, so that a navigator
entering the bay has little more to do than steer straight towards the
volcano and keep his vessel midway between the two sides of the
entrance. Around the bay there are six or eight little harbors,
completely landlocked. On one of these harbors is Petropavlovsk (Port
of St. Peter and St. Paul), the principal place of trade in Kamtchatka.
Once it had a population of two or three thousand. It was attacked by
the allied fleets in the Crimean War, and suffered severely. After the
war the naval headquarters were removed to Nicolayevsk, at the mouth of
the Amoor."

[Illustration: A HERD OF REINDEER.]

"There is an interesting bit of history connected with the attack upon
Petropavlovsk," Mr. Hegeman remarked, as the Doctor paused.

"In the autumn of 1854 a combined fleet of six English and French ships
attacked Petropavlovsk, and were twice beaten off by some land batteries
and a Russian frigate moored in the harbor. Their commanders determined
to make an assault by land with a strong force of sailors and marines.
They attempted to take the town in the rear, but the Russian
sharp-shooters created a panic among them, and drove the assailants over
a steep bank about two hundred feet high.

"The English admiral committed suicide in consequence of his
disappointment, and the fleet sailed away. Next year seventeen ships
came there together, as the allies had determined to conquer the town at
all hazards. The Russians abandoned the place and retired over the
hills, but they left five or six hundred dogs behind them. The allied
fleet remained at anchor for an entire day without venturing to land,
as it was supposed that there must be a very large garrison to keep so
many dogs."

"The baying of the dogs kept them at bay," whispered Frank to Fred.

"Yes," replied the latter, "kept them anchored in the bay."

"There was only one man, an American merchant, in the place when the
allies landed. He remained to protect his own property, and had the
American flag above his establishment. The allies burned all of the
Government buildings and stores, but did not injure anything else."

Frank asked how they happened to have so many dogs in a small place like

"Dogs are the beasts of burden of the country," was the reply, "and
without them the people would have much difficulty in getting about. The
dogs of Kamtchatka are much like the Eskimo dogs in appearance,
character, and qualities, and are employed for the same purposes. They
draw sledges over the snow and ice in winter, and are capable of great
speed and endurance. With a light load they can travel fifty miles a day
for a week or more, and on some occasions they have been known to make a
single trip of one hundred miles and more without resting. They are
harnessed in pairs with a leader, and a team consists of anywhere from
three to twenty-one dogs. A great deal depends on the leader, and he is
always chosen from among the most intelligent of the dogs. An ordinary
dog is worth from five to ten dollars, while a leader readily brings
from forty to fifty dollars.


"The best travelling I ever heard of with a dog-team," continued Mr.
Hegeman, "was when a courier was sent to carry to Petropavlovsk the
announcement of the Crimean War. Without changing teams he went from
Boltcheresk to Petropavlovsk (one hundred and twenty-five miles) in
twenty-three hours!"

One of the youths asked what the dogs lived upon.

"They live almost entirely upon fish," was the reply, "and they eat it
in any condition--fresh, dried, or half decayed. Salmon are very
abundant in Kamtchatka, and the cheapest thing for feeding the dogs. One
fish a day is the ordinary allowance for a dog; but while he is on a
journey he receives only half his usual ration. The natives all say that
these animals travel better half fed than when fully nourished, and many
persons do not give them anything whatever for an entire day before they
are to start on a journey."

Many anecdotes about the dogs of Kamtchatka were given, and Frank and
Fred were so interested in the subject that they forgot to note down
what was said. When questioned about it afterwards, Frank said he
learned that it requires much experience to drive a dog-team; that the
man who is to drive must feed his own dogs and make them know he is
their master; that they will run away whenever they have the
opportunity; and they have a treacherous, thieving disposition. They are
brave in large numbers, but always cowardly when alone. Epidemics among
them are frequent, and sometimes whole tribes of natives are thus
deprived of their dogs and unable to move about.

"For further canine particulars," said Frank, "we refer you to 'The
Voyage of the _Vivian_ to the North Pole and Beyond.' The youths who
made that remarkable journey had considerable practical experience with
dogs, and they personally visited Kamtchatka on their way to the Pole."

"Kamtchatka has about seven thousand inhabitants altogether," said Mr.
Hegeman. "Twelve or fifteen hundred are Russians, and the rest belong to
aboriginal tribes. They are chiefly engaged in hunting and fishing;
there is very little agriculture in the country, as the climate is too
cold to permit the cultivation of grain or garden vegetables. Kamtchatka
is chiefly useful for its fur products. Five or six thousand sables are
killed there every year, and considerable numbers of ermine, foxes, and
other fur-bearing animals. Bears are numerous and dangerous, and so are
wolves, which are very fierce in winter, though not at all troublesome
in the summer-time. Earthquakes are not unfrequent in Kamtchatka, but
they do little damage, and are looked upon more as amusements than
anything else.


"From Kamtchatka I went in a ship to Ghijigha, on the Okhotsk Sea,"
continued Mr. Hegeman. "Ghijigha is very much like Petropavlovsk, and
has the same sort of population--a mixture of Cossacks, peasants, and
natives. It is at the head of a narrow bay, and its light-house is
nothing more than an octagonal hut with a fire on the roof. Many of the
inhabitants are the descendants of exiles who were sent to the country
down to about the middle of this century.

[Illustration: ERMINE-TRAP.]

"In the time of Catherine the Great, many Poles were sent to Kamtchatka,
and it is a curious circumstance that the first voyage from that country
to a foreign port was made under the Polish flag. Several Poles seized a
small ship in the harbor and put to sea. They had no nautical knowledge,
and no instruments for navigation, but managed to reach Loo Choo, and
afterwards the port of Macao, in safety.

"At Ghijigha there were more dogs and more fish. I had my choice to go
by land to the mouth of the Amoor River, or by sea. I chose the latter
course; if I had gone by land I should have divided my time between
riding on reindeer, riding after dogs, or going on foot."

Fred thought it would be very nice to ride on a reindeer, and earnestly
wished he could try it.


"I think a very short trial would satisfy you," replied Mr. Hegeman; "at
any rate it was enough for me. You have a saddle which is simply a pad
without stirrups, and must maintain your balance by means of a stick
that you rest on the ground as the animal walks. An inexperienced man
falls off a dozen times an hour for the first few days, and even old
travellers get a good many tumbles in the course of twenty-four hours.
The saddle is directly over the shoulders of the beast, as it would
break his back if placed where we ordinarily put the saddle on a horse.
Consequently you are shaken at every footstep--an excellent thing for a
dyspeptic, but not agreeable to a man in good health.

[Illustration: THE REINDEER.]

"Between the Okhotsk Sea and the Arctic Ocean the wealth of the country
is in reindeer. Some natives own as many as forty thousand of these
animals, and herds of a thousand or more are not at all rare. The
natives wander from place to place in search of pasturage. In summer the
deer eat the mosses and shrubbery that spring up all over the country,
and in winter they scrape away the snow to feed on the moss beneath it.
The native uses the reindeer to ride upon or to draw his sledge; he eats
the flesh of the animal, and makes clothing and tent-covering of his
skin. In fact he cannot get along without the reindeer any more than
could the native of Newfoundland exist without the codfish.

"But I was willing to let the natives have a monopoly of the reindeer
for riding purposes, and took passage in a ship for the Amoor River.

"The Amoor is the greatest river of Siberia, and flows into the Pacific
Ocean. It is navigable twenty-three hundred miles from its mouth, and
receives several important streams from the south. In one part of its
course it makes a great bend to the south, where it flows through
magnificent forests containing several trees peculiar to the tropics.
The tiger roams up to the south bank of the river at this point, and the
reindeer comes down to it on the north; occasionally the tiger crosses
the river and feeds upon the reindeer--the only place in the world where
these two animals come together naturally."

"What a funny idea!" exclaimed Frank. "To think of tigers in Siberia!"

"Tigers are found elsewhere in Siberia," continued their informant. "In
the museum at Barnaool, in the Altai Mountains, I saw the skins of two
large tigers that were killed in a Siberian farm-yard not far from that
place, where they had come to kill one of the farmer's oxen.
Tiger-hunting is a regular sport with the Russian officers in that part
of Manjouria belonging to Siberia, and over a considerable part of the
region bordering upon China and Persia. But to return to the Amoor.


"I remained several days at Nicolayevsk, the capital of the Maritime
Province of Siberia, and a place of considerable importance. From there
I ascended the river on a Russian steamboat, passing through the country
of several tribes of people. There were Goldees, Gilyaks, and Manyargs,
and others whose names would be like Greek to you, and therefore I will
not bother you to remember them. They live by hunting and fishing, and
have permanent villages on the banks of the river, in places where the
fishing is best. In the fishing season they always have large quantities
of fish hung out to dry, and consequently you can generally smell a
native village before you see it.

[Illustration: SCENERY ON THE AMOOR.]

"The boat landed near a Gilyak village, and I went to see how the
natives lived. They were not particularly civil; in fact they hardly
recognized our presence, but kept at work in the preparation of the
morning's catch of fish as though nobody was looking on. There were a
dozen or more wolfish-looking dogs, and we came near being bitten by the
brutes. The natives made a pretence of driving the dogs off, but were
not half as earnest as we were on the subject.

[Illustration: GILYAK WOMAN.]

[Illustration: GILYAK MAN.]

"They have some interesting customs and superstitions. They are pagans
in religious matters, and worship idols and animals, and they have a
reverence for the tiger, eagle, bear, and cat. They keep eagles in
cages, and when they can catch a bear or tiger they use him for a
religious ceremony, which ends with the animal being slaughtered. His
flesh is eaten under the impression that it gives strength and courage
to the eaters. They will not allow fire to be carried out of their
houses, through fear of evil consequences, and they formerly had the
custom of killing those who came to visit them. The more amiable he was,
the greater was the chance of his being murdered."

Fred asked how it could be explained.

"Very easily, when you know the reason," was the reply. "They believe
that the spirits of the dead remain where they left the body, and guard
and protect the spot. When a man whom they liked was about to leave,
they did not hesitate to kill him for the sake of retaining his spirit
among them. A Russian priest was killed in this way, and the Government
made the Gilyaks understand that they must put an end to the practice.


"The Gilyaks have small fields and gardens, and do a little agriculture,
but their great reliance is upon the river, which supplies them with
fish for food and clothing."

"How can fish supply clothing?" Frank asked, with a look of surprise.

"Easily enough," was the reply. "The Gilyaks and other people of the
Amoor take the skins of fishes, beat them till the scales fall off,
dress them with oil till they are pliable, and then fashion them into
garments. I have seen some very good coats and jackets made of
fish-skins. The prettiest Gilyak girl I saw (and she had no great beauty
to boast of) wore a coat of fish-skin that was gathered closely in at
the neck and held around the waist by a girdle. A few yards away you
couldn't distinguish it from cloth.

[Illustration: GOLDEE CHILDREN.]

"The Gilyaks row their boats by pulling alternately on the oars, while
the Goldees, who are higher up the river, pull the oars simultaneously.
The houses of the Goldees are superior in every way to those of the
Gilyaks. They are warmed by means of wooden pipes passing beneath
benches on three sides of the room, and serving as seats by day and beds
at night. Like the Gilyaks, the Goldees live chiefly by fishing, but
they give more attention to agriculture, and many of them have cows and
horses. One day we passed a village where a large fleet of boats was
engaged in fishing for salmon and sturgeon. Two men tried a race with
the steamboat, and fairly beat us for a short distance, though we were
making nine or ten miles against the current.

"The Russians have established villages along the Amoor at intervals of
twenty or thirty miles, where the steamboats are supplied with wood.
Some of these villages are close to the native ones, and the people live
in perfect harmony. At one of our stopping-places I suggested that I
would like to see the inside of a Goldee house, and the captain kindly
accompanied me to the native village.

[Illustration: A GOLDEE MAN AND WOMAN.]

"Guided by a Russian peasant, we picked our way among the drying fish,
and reached the door. It was quite late in the evening, and all the
people had gone to sleep. With some difficulty we roused the owner of
the place, and persuaded him to admit us. Our guide carried a torch of
birch bark, and as he held it aloft the sight revealed to us was a
strange one.

"Twenty or thirty persons were asleep on the benches, or huddled
together to stare at the intruders. The captain explained that the
Goldees keep their houses very warm, and sleep with little clothing; and
certainly it did not seem as if the whole party had bedding enough for
one-quarter their number. There was a smouldering fire in the middle of
the room, a large kettle, set in brickwork, was at one side, and the
rafters were hung with nets and fishing implements. A vicious-looking
dog stood growling in front of us, and needed only a word from his
master to turn his growls into bites. I had no inclination to stay long,
particularly as the atmosphere was by no means pure, and it did not seem
exactly polite to rouse a gentleman in the night and compel him to open
his house simply to gratify a stranger's curiosity.

"For a thousand miles or more the Amoor forms the dividing line between
Russia and China, the former country being on the northern bank, and the
latter on the southern. There is a Chinese town of some twenty thousand
inhabitants at one point, and smaller towns and villages both above and
below it.

"The whole valley of the Amoor was in the possession of the Chinese
until 1853, when it was conquered by the Russians in a campaign that
lasted less than two months, and was unaccompanied with loss of life.
General Mouravieff, then Governor-general of Eastern Siberia, organized
an expedition and sent it down the river in boats. The Chinese were
wholly unprepared for it, and the Russians had everything their own
way. Then colonists were sent to form the villages I have mentioned,
and Russia was so firmly established that she could not be disturbed.

"And now, as you have doubtless studied the geography of Asia, will you
tell me how the Amoor is formed?"


"Certainly," answered Fred. "It is formed by the rivers Argoon and
Shilka, just as the Ohio is formed by the Alleghany and Monongahela. The
Argoon comes in from the south, and the Shilka from the north. Genghis
Khan was born in the valley of the Argoon, and the armies that went to
the Tartar conquest of Europe were originally mustered on the banks of
that stream."


"The answer is correct," was the reply. "The spot where the rivers unite
is called '_Oust-strelka_' ("Arrow-mouth"), owing to the shape of the
tongue of land between the streams. The scenery is interesting, as the
banks of the Argoon are steep, and the hills as far as one can see them
are covered to their summits with dense forests.

"Our steamboat turned into the Shilka, and, after making a few
unimportant landings, finished its voyage at Stratensk, twenty-three
hundred miles above Nicolayevsk. The river voyage was at an end, and
from this point to St. Petersburg was a land journey of five thousand
miles. Horse-power was to be my mode of conveyance for more than four
thousand miles--a prospect by no means pleasant.

"It was about the middle of October when I arrived at Stratensk, and
bade farewell to river navigation in Siberia. By the advice of Russian
friends I planned to go to Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia,
before the snows fell, and there wait for the winter roads to become
good enough for sledging.

"Irkutsk is about fourteen hundred miles from Stratensk, and there is a
good wagon-road--at least it is called good in Siberia--connecting the
two points. The road makes a detour around the southern end of Lake
Baikal, and quite a distance is saved by crossing the lake on a steamer.
I was told that I might have to wait a day or two to connect with the
steamer, as it is not very regular in its movements.

"I had made the acquaintance of a Russian officer while ascending the
Amoor, and long before reaching Stratensk it was arranged that we would
travel together to the first provincial capital, where I intended
stopping a few days. There I hoped to find some one else who was going
in my direction, and thus would have the advantages of the companionship
of some one who knew the language, and also to share the expense. It
costs no more for two persons than for one, as the hire of horses and
carriages is just the same, exactly as when you hire a cab in London or
New York.


"From one end of Siberia to the other there is a post-road, with
stations from ten to twenty miles apart, and there are similar roads
leading from the great route to the towns north and south. A traveller
must have a _paderojnia_, or road-pass, which he obtains from the Chief
of Police at his starting-point. He pays at the rate of half a cent a
mile for this road-pass, and it entitles him to the number of horses
named in the document. For these horses he pays a rate fixed by law,
usually two cents a mile for each horse. Ordinarily a traveller can get
along comfortably with two horses, but if the roads are bad, three, and
sometimes more, are necessary."

Frank asked if the horses must be paid for at the time the paderojnia is

"Not at all," was the reply. "The money is paid at each station to the
_smotretal_, or station-master. It is paid in advance, or may be given
to the driver at the end of the ride."

"A stranger must run a great risk of being cheated," said Fred; "the
station-master could make the distance out much greater than it really
is, and thus turn a dishonest penny very often."

"By no means can he do so," Mr. Hegeman answered, "if the stranger is on
his guard. At every station there is an official certificate framed and
hung up, showing the distance to the next station in both directions;
the most enterprising efforts of the smotretal to cheat the traveller
can be frustrated by a study of this document.

"And now for the means of conveyance," continued Mr. Hegeman. "Every
station is required to keep a certain number of horses and drivers, and
it must also have a stipulated number of wheeled carriages for summer,
and sledges for winter use. The wheeled carriage is called a _telega_;
it is a rough sort of a wagon on wooden springs, and gives a great deal
of jolting to the mile. A ride of a thousand miles in a telega may be
guaranteed to cure a very bad case of dyspepsia or kill the patient, and
in some cases it might do both. The horses are driven at a breakneck
speed, and the traveller finds himself tossed from side to side till he
is bruised like a rolled orange. The telega is changed, along with the
horses, at every station; the traveller and his baggage must be
transferred, as the carriage and horses return to the station whence
they came."

"It must be very disagreeable to make these changes," remarked one of
the youths, "especially at night or in a storm."

[Illustration: A TARANTASSE.]

"It is, indeed," was the reply; "and to obviate this the Russians have a
vehicle called a _tarantasse_, which is larger, better made, and in
every way more comfortable than the telega. A traveller going on a long
journey, and able to afford the expense, buys a tarantasse at starting,
and sells it at the end of his ride. He thus avoids the necessity of
changing at every station; and if he has a servant to attend to the
payments and other matters, he can sleep through the night with
comparative comfort.

"We started from Stratensk in a telega, as we could not find a
tarantasse for sale or hire, and changed at the next station. Luckily
for us, the smotretal had a tarantasse, which we hired as far as
Stratensk, about sixty miles from our starting-point. It was old, and
somewhat rickety, but it was better than nothing at all, and we gladly
engaged it.

"There are three classes of paderojnia for the Russian post-roads. The
highest is for Government couriers and great officials; the second for
officials not on Government business; and the third for civilian
travellers. My companion had a courier's pass, while I had a paderojnia
of the second class; consequently his was the best to use.

"A traveller with a courier's pass is never detained for want of
horses, while others must take their chances. The second-class passport
takes precedence over the third, and in a very summary way at times.

"Suppose Smith has a second-class paderojnia, and Jones one of the third
class. Smith reaches a station and finds Jones with a team ready to
start. If there are no more horses, the station-master detaches Jones's
horses and gives them to Smith; Jones must wait until he can be
supplied; it may be an hour, a day, or a week.


"Three horses must always be kept ready for couriers, and the changes
made very quickly. If all the horses belonging to a station are out when
a lower-class traveller arrives, he must wait till a team returns and
has rested. If he is willing to pay something extra rather than wait, he
can be accommodated; the smotretal will obtain horses from the villagers
at whatever advance on the regular price that he thinks the traveller
will stand. Here is where the station-master has a chance to make
something, and he usually makes it.

"The horses are small and shaggy, but they are capable of great speed
and endurance. They are never blanketed, even in the coldest weather,
and their hair is thick and soft like the fur of a fox. Sometimes they
kept up a steady gallop from one station to another, and did not seem to
suffer by the speed. Frequently they travelled ten miles an hour, and
when we were going down hill they did better than that. The way to go
from one hill to another is to dash down the slope and across the level
at full gallop, and thus obtain an impetus for mounting the next. Many
of the hollows have corduroy bridges over the little streams that flow
through them, and when we crossed these bridges at full gallop the
tarantasse or telega received a very lively shaking."

Turning to Doctor Bronson, Mr. Hegeman suggested that the former should
tell the youths about the search in Siberia for Sir John Franklin and
his crew.

The Doctor smiled as he recalled the story, which he gave with a
preliminary explanation:

"The Russians apply the term 'equipage' to any kind of vehicle, whether
on wheels or runners. The same word is used in Russian as in French to
denote the crew of a ship.

"A few years after the disappearance of Sir John Franklin, the English
Admiralty requested the Russian Government to ascertain if any traces of
that officer and his party had been found on the coast of Siberia. A
general order was sent to all officials in Siberia to make inquiries
about the 'English Captain John Franklin and his equipage.' In due time
came reports that nothing could be found, except in a single instance,
where a petty official wrote as follows:

"'I have made the proper inquiries. I can learn nothing about the
English captain, John Franklin, but in one of my villages there is an
old sleigh that no one claims, and perhaps it is his equipage.'"


"To return to the road," said Mr. Hegeman, when the laugh created by the
story had subsided. "We carried one, and sometimes two bells on the yoke
of our shaft-horse, to indicate that we were travelling by post; every
humbler vehicle was required to give us not only half but the whole of
the road--at any rate, it was expected to do so. Sometimes we had it,
and sometimes we did not; if the drivers of the approaching vehicles
were awake they usually turned out, but very often they were asleep, and
their horses had their own way. When this happened, our driver brought
his whip-lash heavily across the sleeper as he passed him. The driver of
a post-carriage has the right to thrash a common driver who does not get
out of his way, and rarely lets the opportunity pass."

Fred suggested that in this way he probably obtained some revenge for
the kicks and cuffs he received from his superiors. The rest of the
party assented to the idea of the youth. Doctor Bronson remarked that
the most cruel of the slave-drivers of the Southern States of America in
former times were the negro slaves who were placed in authority over
their fellows, and he thought the same rule held good throughout the
world in general.


"It had been raining before we arrived at Stratensk, and consequently we
found a great deal of mud on the roads. Several times we were mired, and
had to send to neighboring farm-houses for additional horses, and twice
we removed all our baggage and put our own shoulders to the wheel to get
out of trouble. One of these performances was during a shower, and did
not improve our condition or temper. I was ready to vote Siberian
travelling a first-class nuisance, and felt downhearted at the immense
distance that lay between me and the railway-station at Nijni Novgorod.

"To make things worse, our Cossack servant had placed our pillows and
blankets on the wet ground, and piled heavy baggage on top. For this
stupidity my companion, the captain, remonstrated in very strong
language, but all that he said could not dry our property. At the next
station we stopped for dinner; while we were eating our meal the
dampened articles were somewhat improved by being placed in front of the
kitchen fire.

"Once while descending a hill at full speed a wheel of the tarantasse
came off, but no damage was done beyond bringing us to a very sudden
stop. The two axles of the vehicle were about twelve feet apart, and
connected by a pair of stout poles which had a great deal of 'spring' in
them. Properly made, a tarantasse is by no means an uncomfortable
vehicle to ride in, provided, of course, you are travelling over good

"What did you get for dinner at the station?" Frank asked.

"We had the _samovar_, with some tea and sugar, from our own stock, and
then we had boiled eggs and bread. They had some cold mutton, of which I
ate liberally, as I had an appetite like a tiger, but my friend would
hardly touch it. He told me that mutton was rarely eaten by the
Russians, and during my journey through Siberia I do not remember seeing
it on the table, except in a few of the way-side stations. This was all
the more singular when there were great flocks of sheep in the country
where we were travelling. The sheep belong principally to the Bouriats,
a Mongol people who were the occupants of the country before the
Russians went there.

"Eggs and bread are the only articles of food you can rely upon getting
at the stations, and sometimes even the eggs are wanting. Bread is made
from rye flour rather than from wheat, and its complexion is darker than
that of the Boston brown bread of America. It is the bread of the
peasant from one end of the Empire to the other, and a good many of the
nobility prefer it to white bread. For my own part I never liked the
black bread of Russia, but often ate it for lack of anything else.

"Up hill and down dale we went, and on the second morning of our journey
the broad and beautiful valley of the Nertcha River lay before us. Two
or three miles above the point where the Nertcha joins the Shilka lies
the town of Nertchinsk, a well-built place with five or six thousand
inhabitants. It has an air of wealth and solidity, and large fortunes
have been made there by men interested in gold-mining. We entered the
town through an arched gate-way, and drove to the house of a rich
gold-miner with whom my friend was well acquainted. Hardly had we thrown
off our wrappings before the _samovar_ was steaming on the table. We
were urged to stay to dinner, and, much to my satisfaction, the
invitation was accepted by my companion."

"Haven't I read about Nertchinsk as a place of exile?" said one of the

"Quite likely you have," was the answer. "Nertchinsk and its gold-mines
have a prominent place in the history of Siberian exile. Would you like
to hear about it?"

"Of course we would," the youths eagerly responded. It was agreed that
the journey through Siberia should be suspended until the new subject
was disposed of.




"There are many errors in the popular mind of England and America
concerning the system of exile to Siberia," said Mr. Hegeman, as he
settled into a chair to begin his discourse on this interesting subject.

"One error is that exiles are treated with such cruelty that they do not
live long; that they are starved, beaten, tortured, and otherwise forced
into an early death.

"No doubt there have been many cases of cruelty just as there have been
in prisons and other places of involuntary residence all over the globe
and among all nations. Exiles are prisoners, and the lot of a prisoner
depends greatly upon the character of his keeper, without regard to the
country or nation where he is imprisoned. Siberia is no exception to the
rule. With humane officials in power, the life of the exiles is no
worse, generally speaking, than is that of the inmates of a prison in
other lands; and with brutal men in authority the lot of the exile is
doubtless severe.

"In the time of the Emperor Nicholas there was probably more cruelty in
the treatment of exiles than since his death; but that he invented
systems of torture, or allowed those under him to do so, as has been
alleged, is an absurdity.

"Let me cite a fact in support of my assertion. After the revolution of
1825, just as Nicholas ascended the throne, two hundred of the
conspirators were exiled to hard labor for life. They were nearly all
young men, of good families, and not one of them had ever devoted a day
to manual occupation. Reared in luxury, they were totally unfitted for
the toil to which they were sentenced; and if treated with the cruelty
that is said to be a part of exile, they could not have lived many

"The most of them were sent to the mines of Nertchinsk, where they were
kept at labor for two years. Afterwards they were employed in a
polishing-mill at Chetah and on the public roads for four or five years,
and at the end of that time were allowed to settle in the villages and
towns, making their living in any way that was practicable. Some of them
were joined by their wives, who had property in their own right (the
estates of the exiles were confiscated at the time of their banishment),
and those thus favored by matrimonial fortune were able to set up fine


"Some of the Decembrists, as these particular exiles were called, from
the revolution having occurred in December, died within a few years, but
the most of them lived to an advanced age. When Alexander II. ascended
the throne, in 1856, all the Decembrists were pardoned. Some of them
returned to European Russia after thirty-one years of exile, but they
found things so changed, and so many of their youthful companions dead,
that they wrote back and advised those who were still in Siberia to stay
there. My first visit to Siberia was in 1866, forty-one years after the
December revolution. At that time there were ten or twelve of the
Decembrists still living, all of them venerable old men. One was a
prosperous wine-merchant at Irkutsk; another had made a fortune as a
timber-merchant; others were comfortable, though not wealthy; and two or
three were in humble, though not destitute circumstances. Now, if they
had been treated with the cruelty that is alleged to be the lot of all
Siberian exiles, do you think any of them would have reached such an
advanced age?"

Silence gave assent to the query. After a short pause, Frank asked what
was the social standing of these exiles, the Decembrists.


"It was nearly, though not quite, what it was in European Russia before
their exile," was the reply. "They were received in the best Siberian
families, whether official or civilian, and were on terms of friendship
with the officials in a private way. They were not invited to strictly
official ceremonies, and this was about the only difference between
their treatment and that of those who were not exiles. Of course I refer
to the time when they were settled in the towns, after their term of
forced labor was ended. Before that they were just like any other
prisoners condemned to the same kind of servitude.

"There were two of the Decembrists (Prince Troubetskoi and Prince
Volbonskoi) whose wives were wealthy, and followed their husbands into
exile. When relieved from labor and allowed their personal liberty,
these princes came to Irkutsk and built fine houses. They entertained
handsomely, were visited by the officials, went very much into society,
and in every way were as free as any one else, except that they were
forbidden to leave Siberia. Nicholas was not of a forgiving disposition,
and not till he died were the Decembrists free to return to St.

[Illustration: A TOWN BUILT BY EXILES.]

"A bit of social gossip adds to the interest of the Siberian life of
Prince Volbonskoi. There was some incompatibility of temper between the
prince and his wife, and for a long time they were not particularly
friendly. She and the children and servants occupied the large and
elegantly furnished house, while the Prince lived in a small building in
the court-yard. He had a farm near the town, and sold to his wife such
of the produce as she needed for household use."

Fred wished to know how many kinds of people are sent to Siberia.

"There are three classes of exiles," was the reply: "political,
religious, and criminal offenders. The political ones include Nihilists
and other revolutionists, and of course there is a great majority of
Poles among this class; the religious exiles are certain sects of
fanatics that the Government wishes to suppress; and the criminal ones
are those who offend against society in all sorts of ways. None of them
are ever called 'prisoners' or 'criminals' while in Siberia, and it is
not often you hear them termed 'exiles.' In ordinary conversation they
are called 'unfortunates,' and in official documents they are classed as
'involuntary emigrants.'

"There are about ten thousand 'involuntary emigrants' going every year
from European Russia to Siberia. These include criminals of all kinds, a
few religious offenders of the fanatical sort, and some Nihilists and
other revolutionists. At every revolution in Poland the number of exiles
for the next few years is greatly increased. After the revolution of
1863 twenty-four thousand Poles were sent to Siberia, and other
revolutions have contributed a proportionate number."

"Do they all have the same kind of sentence, without regard to their
offences?" one of the youths asked.


"Not at all," was the reply. "The lowest sentence is to three years'
banishment, and the highest is to hard labor for life. Sentences vary
all the way between these two categories--for five, ten, fifteen, or
twenty years' banishment, without labor, or for the same number of years
with labor. A man may be sentenced to a given number of years'
banishment, of which a certain designated portion shall be to hard
labor, or he may be sentenced for life, with no hard labor at all. The
punishment is varied greatly, and, from all I hear, the sentence is
rarely carried out to its fullest degree. The time of exile is not
lessened until a general pardon liberates entire classes, but the
severity of the labor imposed is almost always lightened.


"Then, too, the exiles are distributed throughout the country, and not
allowed to gather in large numbers. The object of the exile system is to
give a population to Siberia, and not to cause the death of the banished
individual. Every effort is made to induce the exile to forget the
causes that brought him to Siberia, and to make him a good citizen in
his new home. His wife and children may follow or accompany him into
exile at government expense, but they cannot return to European Russia
until he is personally free to do so. This permission is denied in the
cases of the worst criminals who are sentenced to hard labor and must
leave their families behind.

"Figures I was glancing at this morning show that in one year 16,889
persons were sent to Siberia, accompanied by 1080 women and children
over fifteen years old, and by 1269 under that age. Of the whole number
of exiles mentioned, 1700 were sentenced to hard labor, and 1624 were
drunkards and tramps. The status of the rest is not given, but they were
probably sentenced to various terms of deportation without labor.

"I should say further, in regard to this family matter, that an exile is
regarded as a dead man in the place from which he is sent, and his wife,
if she remains in Europe, is legally a widow, and may marry again if she
chooses. The wifeless man in Siberia is urged to marry and become the
head of a family, and whenever he marries, the Government gives him a
grant of land and aids him in establishing a home. As long as an exile
conducts himself properly, and does not try to escape, he does not find
existence in Siberia particularly dreadful, provided, of course, he has
not been sent to hard labor, and the officers in charge of him are not
of a cruel disposition."

Frank asked what work was done by those sentenced to hard labor, and how
the men lived who were simply exiles and had not a labor sentence


"Those sentenced to _katorga_, or hard labor, are employed in mines or
on roads, and in mills and factories of various kinds. Several years ago
an order was issued that exiles should no longer be kept at work in
mines, but I am told on pretty good authority that this humane decree
has been revoked since the rise of Nihilism. In the mines of Nertchinsk,
in the latter part of the last century and the early part of the present
one, the labor was fearful. The prisoners were in pairs, chained
together; they were often kept working in mud and water for fourteen or
sixteen hours daily; their lodgings were of the poorest character, and
their food was nothing but black bread and occasionally a little cabbage
soup. The great mortality in the mines attracted the attention of the
Government, and the evils were remedied.

"Down to the end of the last century, criminals condemned to the mines
were marked by having their nostrils slit open, but this barbarity has
not been practised for a long time.

"Those sentenced to lighter labor are engaged in trades, such as making
shoes, clothing, or other articles. Those who are simply exiled without
labor can work at their trades, if they have any, precisely as they
would do at home. If they are educated men they may practise their
professions, give instruction to young people, or find employment with
merchants as book-keepers or other assistants in business. Some years
ago the permission for exiles to engage in teaching anything else than
music, drawing, and painting was revoked, when it was discovered that
some of them had been using their opportunities to spread revolutionary
doctrines. Whether this order is yet in force I do not know.

"The next thing to hard labor in Siberia is the sentence to become 'a
perpetual colonist.' This means that the exile is to make his living by
tilling the soil, hunting, fishing, or in any other way that may be
permitted by the authorities; he must be under the eye of the police, to
whom he reports at regular intervals, and he must not go beyond certain
limits that are prescribed to him.

"The perpetual colonist has a grant of land, and is supplied with tools
and materials for building a house; he receives flour and other
provisions for three years, and at the end of that time he is supposed
to be able to take care of himself. Where he is sent to a fertile part
of the country, his life is not particularly dreadful, though at best it
is a severe punishment for a man who has been unaccustomed to toil, and
has lived in luxury up to the time of being sent to Siberia. Many of
these colonists are sent to the regions in or near the Arctic circle,
where it is almost continuous winter, and the opportunities for
agriculture are very small. Only a few things can be made to grow at
all, and the exile doomed to such a residence must depend mainly upon
hunting and fishing. If game is scarce, or the fishing fails, there is
liable to be great suffering among these unhappy men.

"The friends of an exile may send him money, but not more than
twenty-five roubles (about $20) a month. As before stated, the wife of
an exile may have an income separate from that of her husband, and if
she chooses to spend it they may live in any style they can afford.

"Many criminal and political exiles are drafted into the army in much
the same way that prisons in other countries are occasionally emptied
when recruits are wanted. They receive the same pay and treatment as
other soldiers, and are generally sent to distant points, to diminish
the chances of desertion. Most of these recruits are sent to the
regiments in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and a good many are found in
the Siberian regiments.

"All money sent to exiles must pass through the hands of the officials.
It is a common complaint, and probably well founded, that a goodly part
of this money sticks to the hands that touch it before it reaches its
rightful owner. The same allegation is made concerning the allowances
of money and flour, just enough to support life, that are given to
exiles who are restricted to villages and debarred from remunerative


"Did you personally meet many exiles while you were in Siberia?" Frank

"I saw a great many while I was travelling through the country," Mr.
Hegeman answered, "and in some instances had conversations with them. At
the hotel where I stopped in Irkutsk the clerk was an exile, and so was
the tailor that made an overcoat for me. Clerks in stores and shops, and
frequently the proprietors, were exiles; the two doctors that had the
largest practice were 'unfortunates' from Poland, and so was the
director of the museum of the Geographical Society of Eastern Siberia.
Some of the isvoshchiks were exiles. On one occasion an isvoshchik
repeated the conversation which I had with a friend in French, without
any suspicion that he understood what we were saying. Hardly a day
passed that I did not meet an 'unfortunate,' and I was told that much of
the refinement of society in the Siberian capital was due to the exiles.
In talking with them I was careful not to allude in any way to their
condition, and if they spoke of it, which was rarely the case, I always
managed to turn the conversation to some other subject.


"When on the road I met great numbers of exiles on their way eastward.
Five-sixths of them were in sleighs or wagons, as it has been found
cheaper to have them ride to their destinations than to walk. Those on
foot were accompanied by their guards, also on foot; there was a wagon
or sleigh in the rear for those who were ill or foot-sore, and there
were two or more men on horseback to prevent desertions. Formerly all
prisoners were obliged to walk to their destinations. The journey from
St. Petersburg to Nertchinsk required two years, as it covered a
distance of nearly five thousand miles."

"Do they sleep in the open air when on the road, or are they lodged in
houses?" inquired Fred.

"There are houses every ten or fifteen miles, usually just outside the
villages," was the reply. "In these houses the prisoners are lodged. The
places are anything but inviting, as the space is not large. No attempt
is made to keep it clean, and the ventilation is atrocious. In winter it
is a shelter from the cold, but in summer the prisoners greatly prefer
to sleep out-of-doors. Sometimes the guards will not grant permission
for them to do so, owing to the danger of desertion, but the scruples of
the guards may be overcome by a promise obtained from all that no
attempt will be made to escape, and that everybody shall watch everybody

[Illustration: A SIBERIAN VALLEY.]

"From fifty to two hundred exiles form a batch or convoy. They are sent
off once or twice a week, according to the number that may be on hand.
All the convoys of exiles go to Omsk, in Western Siberia, and from there
they are distributed throughout the country--some in one direction and
some in another. Those that travel on foot rest every third day, and the
ordinary march of a day is about fifteen miles; those in carriages are
hurried forward, only resting on Sundays, and not always then."

"Do the guards of a convoy go all the way through with the prisoners?"

"No, they do not; they go from one large town to another. In the large
towns there are prisons which serve as depots where exiles are
accumulated, and the distribution of prisoners is generally made from
these points. The officers and soldiers in charge of a convoy take their
prisoners to one of these depots and deliver up their charges; receipts
are given for the number of men delivered, just as for so many boxes or
bales of goods. The guard can then return to its starting-point, and the
prisoners are locked up until the convoy is ready for the road again.

"The guards are responsible for their prisoners, both from escape and
injury. If a man dies on the road his body is carried to the next
station for burial, so that the station-master and others may certify to
the death; and if a man is killed while attempting to escape, the same
disposition must be made of his body.

"Some years ago a Polish lady who was going into exile fell from a boat
while descending a river. She had a narrow escape from drowning, and the
officer in charge of her was very much alarmed. When she was rescued
from the water, he said to her, 'I shall be severely punished if you
escape or any accident happens to you. I have tried to treat you kindly,
and beg of you, for my sake, not to drown yourself or fall into the
river again.'"

"But don't a good many escape from Siberia, and either go back to their
homes or get to foreign countries?"

"The number of escapes is not large," Mr. Hegeman answered, "as the
difficulties of getting out of the country are very great. In the first
place, there is the immense distance from the middle of Siberia to
Moscow or St. Petersburg, or, worse still, to Poland. Nobody can hire
horses at a station without showing his paderojnia, and this is only
issued by the police-master, who knows the name and probably the face of
every exile in his district. Even if a man gets a paderojnia by fraud,
his absence would soon be discovered, and his flight can be stopped by
the use of the telegraph.

"If an exile should try to get out of the country by going northward he
would be stopped by the shores of the Arctic Ocean. If he goes to the
south he enters China, or the inhospitable regions of Central Asia,
where it is difficult, if not impossible, for a European to travel

"Occasionally some one escapes by way of the Amoor River, or the ports
of the Okhotsk Sea; but there are not many ships entering and leaving
those ports, and the police keep a sharp watch over them to make sure
that they do not carry away more men than they bring. I once met in
Paris a Pole who had escaped from Siberia by this route. By some means
that he would not reveal to me, he managed to get out of the Amoor
River and cross to the island of Saghalin. The southern half of the
island was then in possession of the Japanese, and he lived among them
for several months. Then he got on board an American whaling-ship, and
worked his passage to San Francisco, where he found some countrymen, who
helped him on his way to Paris.


"I know another man, a Russian nobleman, who escaped from Siberia and
went back over the route by which he had come. For convenience I will
call him Ivanoff, though that was not his name. He accomplished it in
this way:

"He had concealed quite a sum of money about his person, which the
guards failed to find after searching him repeatedly. His offence was
political, and he was sentenced to twenty years' exile. While his convoy
was on the road between Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk, he arranged to change
names with Petrovitch, a criminal who had been sentenced to three years'
banishment, and was to remain near Irkutsk. Ivanoff was to go beyond
Lake Baikal, whence escape is much more difficult. For one hundred
roubles the criminal consented to the change, and to take his chances
for the result.

"The substitution was made at the depot in Irkutsk, where the names
were called off and the new convoys made out. The convoy for the
trans-Baikal was first made up, and when Ivanoff's name was read the
burglar stepped forward and answered the question as to his sentence.
The officers who had accompanied them from Krasnoyarsk were not present,
and so there was no great danger of the fraud being discovered; the
convoy was made up, the new officers moved off, and that was the last my
friend saw of his hired substitute.


"Ivanoff (under his new name of Petrovitch) was sent to live in a
village about twenty miles from Irkutsk, and required to report twice a
week to the police. He found employment with a peasant farmer, and
managed to communicate with a friend in Irkutsk, though not without much
difficulty. The peasant used to send him to market with the produce of
the farm, as he found that Ivanoff could obtain better prices than
himself; the fact was he generally sold to his friend, who purposely
overpaid him, and if he did not find his friend he added a little to the
amount out of his own pocket. Ivanoff and his friend haggled a great
deal over their transactions, and thus conversed without arousing

"Things went on in this way for some months, and the good conduct of the
apparently reformed criminal won him the favor of the police-master to
whom he was required to report. His time of reporting was extended to
once a week, and later to once a month. This gave him the chance of

"By a judicious use of his money he secured the silence of his employer
and obtained a paderojnia of the second class. The day after reporting
to the police he went to fish in the Angara, the river that flows past
Irkutsk and has a very swift current. As soon as he was missed his
employer led the search in the direction of the river. The coat, basket,
and fishing-rod of the unfortunate man lay on the bank; it was easy to
see that he had been standing on a stone at the edge of the water, and
the stone having given way the river had swallowed Ivanoff, and carried
his body away towards the Arctic Ocean. Some money was in the pocket of
the coat, and was appropriated by the officers.

[Illustration: IVANOFF'S CAVE.]

"But instead of being drowned, Ivanoff was safely concealed in a cave
under a large rock in the forest. He had found it on one of his hunting
excursions, and had previously conveyed to it a quantity of provisions,
together with some clothing supplied by his friend in Irkutsk. There he
remained for a fortnight; then he went to Irkutsk, and started on his

"People leaving Irkutsk frequently drive to the first station in their
own vehicles, and there hire the carriages of the posting service. So
one evening Ivanoff rode out to the station in a carriage hired in front
of the hotel. He did not tell me, but I suspect that his friend supplied
the carriage, and possibly handled the reins himself.

"At the station he boldly exhibited his paderojnia and demanded horses,
and in a few minutes he was on the road. Safe? Well, he could never tell
whether he was safe or not, as the telegraph might at any moment flash
an order for his detention.

"On and on he went. He pretended to be, and really was, in a great
hurry. He was liberal to the drivers, but not over-liberal, lest he
might be suspected. Suspicion would lead to inquiry, and inquiry would
be followed by arrest. But he obtained the best speed that could be had
for a careful use of money, and was compelled to be satisfied.

"Several times he thought he had been discovered, and his feelings were
those of intense agony. At one of the large stations the smotretal came
to him with an open telegram which said a prisoner was missing, and
orders had been sent along the line to watch for him.

"Ivanoff took the telegram and read it. Then he noted down the
description of the fugitive (happily not himself), and told the
smotretal to take no further trouble till he heard from him, but to keep
a sharp watch for all new arrivals. 'Unless I telegraph you from the
next town,' said he, 'you may be sure that he has not passed any of the
intervening stations.'

"He went on, and heard no more of the matter. At another point he fell
in with a Russian captain going the same way as himself. The captain
proposed they should travel together, for the double purpose of
companionship and economy. Much as he disliked the proposal, he was
forced to accede, as a refusal might rouse suspicion.

"Luckily for him, his new friend was garrulous, and did most of the
talking; but, like most garrulous people, he was inquisitive, and some
of his queries were decidedly unpleasant. Ivanoff had foreseen just
such a circumstance, and made up a plausible story. He had just come to
Siberia, and only three days after his arrival was summoned back by the
announcement of his father's death. His presence was needed in St.
Petersburg to arrange the financial affairs of the family.


"By this story he could account for knowing nobody in Siberia; and as he
was well acquainted with St. Petersburg he could talk as freely as one
might wish about the affairs of the capital. He was thrown into a cold
perspiration at one of the stations, where his garrulous companion
proposed, as a matter of whiling away the time after breakfast, that
they should examine the register for the record of their journeys
eastward. Ivanoff managed to put the idea out of his head, and ever
after made their stay at the stations as short as possible.

"Imagine Ivanoff's feelings when one day the other said,

"'Exiles sometimes escape by getting forged passports and travelling on
them. Wouldn't it be funny if you were one? Ha! ha! ha!'

"Of course Ivanoff laughed too, and quite as heartily. Then he retorted,

"'Now that you mentioned it, I've half a mind to take you to the next
police-station and deliver you up as a fugitive. Ha! ha! ha! Suppose we
do it, and have some fun with the police?'

"Thereupon the serious side of the affair developed in the mind of Mr.
Garrulity. He declined the fun of the thing, and soon the subject was
dropped. It was occasionally referred to afterwards, and each thought
how funny it would be if the other were really a fugitive.

"They continued in company until they reached Kazan. There they
separated, Ivanoff going to Nijni Novgorod and Moscow, and from the
latter proceeding by railway to Smolensk and Warsaw. From Warsaw he went
to Vienna. As soon as he set foot on the soil of Austria he removed his
hat and, for the first time in many months, inhaled a full breath of air
without the feeling that the next moment might see him in the hands of
the dreaded police. He was now a free man."

"And what became of his companion?"

"When they separated at Kazan, the latter announced his intention of
descending the Volga to Astrachan. It was fully a year afterwards that
my friend was passing a café in Paris, and heard his assumed name called
by some one seated under the awning in front of the establishment.
Turning in the direction of the voice, he saw his old acquaintance of
the Siberian road.

"They embraced, and were soon sipping coffee together. Ivanoff talked
freely, now that he was out of danger of discovery, and astonished his
old acquaintance by his volubility. At length the latter said,

"'What a flow of language you have here in Paris, to be sure. You never
talked so much in a whole day when we were together as in the hour we've
sat here.'

"'Good reason for it,' answered Ivanoff. 'I had a bridle on my tongue
then, and it's gone now. I was escaping from a sentence of twenty years
in Siberia for political reasons.'

"'And that's what made you so taciturn,' said the other. 'I was escaping
from the same thing, and that's what made me so garrulous. When we met
at that station I feared you might be on the lookout for me; and much as
I hated doing so, I proposed that we should travel together.'

"They had a good laugh over the circumstances of their journey, where
each was in mortal terror of the other. The one was talkative and the
other silent for exactly the same reason--to disarm suspicion.

[Illustration: SIBERIAN PEASANTS.]

"I could tell you other stories of escaping from exile, but this one is
a fair sample of them all. Of those who attempt to leave the country not
one in twenty ever succeeds, owing to the difficulties I have mentioned,
and the watchfulness of the police. The peasants of Siberia will
generally help an escaping exile, but they do not dare to do it openly.
Many of them put loaves of bread outside their windows at night, so that
the runaways can come and obtain food without being seen. They plant
little patches of turnips near the villages for the same reason, and
call them gifts to the 'unfortunates.' Whenever the soldiers find any of
these turnip-patches they destroy them, in order to hinder the progress
of fugitives.

"There is said to be a secret road or path through Siberia known only to
the exiles; it is about two thousand miles long, avoids all the regular
lines of travel, and keeps away from the towns and villages. It winds
over plains and among the mountains, through forests and near the
rivers, and is marked by little mounds of earth, and by notches cut in
the trees.

"Those who travel this road must undergo great hardship, and it is said
that not more than half who undertake it are ever heard of again. They
perish of starvation or cold, or may venture too near the villages in
search of food, and fall into the hands of the police. The path must be
travelled on foot, as it is not sufficiently broad for horses; and when
any part of it is discovered by the soldiers the route must be changed.
The exiles have means of communicating with each other, and no matter
how closely the authorities may watch them, an occurrence in one
Siberian prison will soon be known at all others in the country."

Frank asked Mr. Hegeman if he had ever seen any prisoners in Siberia
wearing chains?

[Illustration: SIBERIAN MILK-WOMEN.]

"Many of them," was the reply, "especially in the prisons in the towns,
and at the places where they are kept at hard labor. The simple exiles
are not required to wear chains; it is only those condemned to hard
labor for a long term of years that are thus oppressed. By an old law of
Russia the chains must not weigh more than five pounds; there is a belt
around the waist, and from this belt a chain extends to an iron band
around each ankle. The clanking of the chains, either on the road or in
the prisons, has a most horrible sound.

"The continued use of this relic of barbarism is strenuously opposed by
a great many Russians. With the exception of the 'ball and chain,' which
is a form of military punishment everywhere, no other Christian nation
now requires its prisoners to wear chains continually. If the Emperor of
Russia would issue a decree that henceforth no prisoner shall be put in
chains except for specially unruly conduct or other good cause, and
abolish altogether the present regulations about chains, he would take a
long advance step for his nation."

Doctor Bronson and the youths agreed with him. Fred was about to ask a
question when one of the stewards made the announcement, "_Obed gotovey,
gospoda!_" ("Dinner is ready, gentlemen!")

Siberia and its exiles were forgotten for the time, as the party
adjourned to the dining-saloon of the steamer.

[Illustration: SIBERIA IN SUMMER.]



When the conversation about Siberia was resumed, Frank suggested that
there must be a great many people in that country who were descended
from exiles, since it had been for a long time a place of banishment,
and the exiles were accompanied in many cases by their families.

"Your supposition is correct," said Mr. Hegeman; "the descendants of
exiles are probably more numerous to-day than are the exiles themselves.
Eastern Siberia is mainly peopled by them, and Western Siberia very
largely so. All serfs exiled to Siberia under the system prevailing
before the emancipation became free peasants, and could not be restored
to their former condition of servitude.

"Many descendants of exiles have become wealthy through commerce or
gold-mining, and occupy positions which they never could have obtained
in European Russia. When I visited Irkutsk I made the acquaintance of a
merchant whose fortune ran somewhere in the millions. He had a large
house, with a whole retinue of servants, and lived very expensively. He
was the son of an exiled serf, and made his fortune in the tea-trade.

"Many prominent merchants and gold-miners were mentioned as examples of
the prosperity of the second and third generations from exiles. Of those
who had made their own fortunes in the country the instances were by no
means few. One, an old man, who was said to have a large fortune and a
charming family of well-educated children, was pointed out as an
illustration of the benefits of exile. Forty years before that time he
was sent to Siberia by his master out of the merest caprice. In Siberia
he obtained fortune and social position. Had he remained in Europe he
would probably have continued a simple peasant, and reared his children
in ignorance.


"The advantages of Siberia are further shown by the fact that a great
many exiles decline to return to European Russia after their terms of
service are ended. Especially is this the case with those who are doing
well financially, or have families with them, either from their old
homes or by marriage in Siberia. I talked with several intelligent
Poles, who said they did not intend returning to Poland. 'We were drawn
unwillingly into the acts that caused our banishment,' they said, 'and
may suffer again in the same way if we go home; in Siberia there are no
disturbing influences around us, and we prefer to stay here.' On the
other hand, the love of home is very strong with many exiles, and they
take the first opportunity of leaving the country of their banishment."

Fred asked if they had the same system of serfdom in Siberia before the
emancipation as in European Russia.

"At the time of the emancipation," said Mr. Hegeman, "there was only one
proprietor of serfs in all Siberia; he was the grandson of a gentleman
who received a grant of land, with serfs, from Catherine II. None of the
family, with a single exception, ever attempted to exercise more than
nominal authority, and that one was murdered in consequence of enforcing
his full proprietary rights.


"Siberia was a land of freedom, so far as serfs were concerned. The
system of serfdom never had any foothold there. The Siberians say that
the superior prosperity enjoyed by the peasants of their part of Russia
had a great deal to do with the emancipation measures of Alexander II.
The Siberian peasants were noticeably better fed, clothed, and educated
than the corresponding class in European Russia, and the absence of
masters gave them an air of independence. Distinctions were much less
marked among the people, and in many instances the officials associated
familiarly with men they would have hesitated to recognize on the other
side of the Ural Mountains."

"It sounds odd enough to talk about Siberia as a land of freedom," said
Fred, "when we've always been accustomed to associate the name of the
country with imprisonment."

Just then the steamer stopped at one of its regular landings; and as she
was to be there for an hour or more, the party took a stroll on shore.
There were only two or three houses at the landing-place, the town which
it supplied lying a little back from the river, upon ground higher than
the bank.

It happened to be a holiday, and there was quite a group at the
landing-place. The peasants were in their best clothes, and several
games were in progress. Frank and Fred hardly knew which way to turn, as
there were several things they wished to see all at once.


Some girls were in a circle, with their hands joined; they were singing
songs which had a good deal of melody, and the whole performance
reminded the youths of the "round-a-ring-a-rosy" game of their native
land. Close by this group were two girls playing a game which was called
_skakiet_ in Russian. They had a board balanced on its centre, and a
girl stood on each end of the board. The maidens jumped alternately into
the air, and the descent of one caused her companion to go higher each
time. Mr. Hegeman said it was a favorite amusement in the Russian
villages. It required a little practice, as the successful performer
must maintain a perfectly upright position. Two girls who are skilled at
the game will sometimes keep up this motion for fifteen or twenty
minutes without apparent fatigue.

Among the men there were wrestling-matches, which were conducted with a
good deal of vigor. Frank observed that some of the wrestlers received
very ugly falls, but did not seem to mind them in the least. The Russian
peasantry are capable of rough handling. They are accustomed to it all
their lives, and not at all disturbed by anything of an ordinary
character. They resemble the lower classes of the English populace more
than any other people.

The women are more refined than the men in their amusements. Singing and
dancing are very popular among them, and they have quite a variety of
dances. A favorite dance is in couples, where they spin round and round,
until one of the pair drops or sits down from sheer fatigue.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE FESTIVAL.]

As our friends strolled near the river-bank they came upon a group of
women engaged in one of these dances. Three or four of the by-standers
were singing, and thus supplied the music; two women stood facing each
other in the centre of the group, each with her hands resting on her
hips. One of the singers raised her hands, and at this signal the
whirling began.

When this couple was tired out another came forward, and so the dance
was kept up. Fred thought the dress of the dancers was not particularly
graceful, as each woman wore stout boots instead of shoes. They had
already observed that the old-fashioned boot is not by any means
confined to the sterner sex among the Russian peasantry.

Some of the women wore flowers in their hair, but the majority of the
heads were covered with handkerchiefs. Doctor Bronson explained to the
youths that a woman may wear her hair loosely while she is unmarried,
but when she becomes a wife she wraps it in a kerchief, or encloses it
in a net.

Naturally this explanation by the Doctor led to a question about
marriage customs in Russia.

"Courtship in Russia is not like the same business in America," remarked
the Doctor, in reply to the query. "A good deal of it has to be done by

"How is that?"

"When a young fellow wishes to take a wife, he looks around among the
young women of his village and selects the one that best pleases him.
Then he sends a messenger--his mother, or some other woman of middle
age--to the parents of the girl, with authority to begin negotiations.
If they can agree upon the terms of the proposed marriage, the amount of
dowry the bride is to receive, and other matters bearing on the subject,
the swain receives a favorable report. Sometimes the parents of the girl
are opposed to the match, and will not listen to any proposals; in such
case the affair ends at once, the girl herself having nothing to say in
the matter. Quite likely she may never know anything about it.

"The whole business is arranged between the elders who have it in
charge. The custom seems to be largely Oriental in its character, though
partaking somewhat of the marriage ways of France and other European

"Supposing the negotiations to have resulted favorably, the young man is
notified when he can begin his visits to the house of his beloved. He
dresses in his best clothes (very much as an American youth would do
under similar circumstances), and calls at the appointed time. He
carries a present of some kind--and the long-established custom requires
that he must never make a call during his courtship without bringing a
present. One of the gifts must be a shawl."

"In that case," said Fred, "the young men are probably favorable to
short courtships, while the girls would be in no hurry. If every visit
must bring a present, a long courtship would heap up a fine lot of

"That is quite true," Doctor Bronson replied, "and instances have been
known where the match was broken off after the patience and pocket of
the suitor were exhausted. But he has a right to demand a return of his
presents in such an event."

"And, as has happened in similar cases in America," Frank retorted, "he
does not always get them."

"Quite true," said the Doctor, with a smile; "but the family playing
such a trick would not find other suitors very speedily. Human nature is
the same in all countries, and even the young man in love is shy of
being defrauded.


"But we will suppose everything has gone favorably," the Doctor
continued, "and the suitor has been accepted. As a matter of fact,
Russian courtships are short, only a month or two, and possibly for the
reason you suggested. A day is fixed for the betrothal, and the ceremony
takes place in the presence of the families of both the parties to the
engagement. The betrothal is virtually a marriage ceremony, as it binds
the two so firmly together that only the most serious reasons can
separate them. The betrothal ceremony is at the house of the bride's
parents, and is followed in due course by the wedding, which takes place
in church.

"Custom requires that the bride shall supply a certain quantity of
linen and other household property, while the husband provides the
dwelling and certain specified articles of furniture. Between them they
should be able to set up house-keeping immediately, but there are
probably many cases where they cannot do so. Among well-to-do people the
bride provides a dozen shirts, a dressing-gown, and a pair of slippers
for her husband; she is supposed to spin the flax, weave it into cloth,
and make the shirts; but, as a matter of fact, she buys the material,
and very often gets the garments ready-made.

"For a day or two before the wedding, all the dowry of the bride is
exhibited in a room set apart for the purpose; a priest blesses it with
holy water, and friends call to gaze upon the matrimonial trophies.
Among the middle and upper classes the bridegroom gives a dinner to his
bachelor friends, as in some other countries, the evening before the
wedding; the bride on the same evening assembles her companions, who
join in singing farewell to her. The bridegroom sends them a liberal
supply of candy, cakes, bonbons, and the like, and they indulge in quite
a festivity.

"Among the peasants the companions of the bride accompany her to the
bath on the evening before the wedding, and both going and returning she
is expected to weep bitterly and loudly. An English lady tells how she
heard a Russian girl, who was about to be married, giving vent to the
wildest grief, while her companions were trying to cheer her by singing.
The lady felt very sorry for the poor maiden, and rejoiced when she
passed out of hearing.

"A little later in the evening the lady went with a friend to call at
the bride's cottage, and entered quite unannounced. The bride was
supping heartily, her face full of expressions of joy; the Englishwoman
was startled and still more surprised when the girl asked,

"'Didn't I do it well?'

"It then came out that the weeping was all a farce, though there may be
cases where it is not so.


"On the day of the wedding the bride and groom do not see each other
until they meet in church. After the ceremony the whole party goes to
the house of the bride's parents, where a reception is held in honor of
the event. When it is over, the young couple go to their own home, if
they have one; the next morning all the parents and relatives go and
take coffee with the newly married; then there are dinner-parties at the
houses of both pairs of parents; other parties and dinners follow, and
sometimes the feasting is kept up for a week or more. It is a trying
ordeal for all concerned, and there is general rejoicing when the
festivities are over.

"Among the peasantry it is the custom, at least in some parts of
Russia, for the bride to present a whip to her husband the day after
the wedding. This whip is hung at the head of the bed, and, if report is
true, it is not unfrequently used."

"I remember seeing a whip hanging at the head of the bed in some of the
houses we have visited," said Fred, "and wondered what it was there

"The curious thing about the matter is," the Doctor continued, "that a
good many wives expect the whip to be used. The same lady I just
referred to says that one of her nurse-maids left her to be married. A
short time after the marriage she went to the _nachalnik_, or justice of
the peace, of her village, and complained that her husband did not love
her. The nachalnik asked how she knew it, and the young wife replied,

"'Because he has not whipped me once since we were married!'


"Among the peasantry the married couple goes to the house of the owner
of the estate to receive his blessing. He comes to the door and welcomes
them as they bow in front of him till their foreheads nearly touch the

The steamer's whistle recalled the party, and in a little while they
were again on their voyage. Mr. Hegeman resumed the story of his ride
through Siberia as soon as all were seated in their accustomed places.

"I think we were at Nertchinsk," said he, "when we turned aside to the
mines where the exiles were formerly employed."

"Yes," replied Fred; "you had just arrived at the house of the friend of
your companion, and accepted an invitation to remain for dinner."

"That was it, exactly," responded the traveller. "We had an excellent
dinner, and soon after it was over we continued on our journey. We sent
back the tarantasse which we had hired from the station-master, and
obtained a larger and better one from our host.

"Two nights and the intervening day brought us, without any incident
worth remembering, to Chetah, the capital of the province of the
trans-Baikal. It is a town of four or five thousand inhabitants, and
stands on the Ingodah River, a tributary of the Shilka. Below this point
the river is navigable for boats and rafts, and it was here that General
Mouravieff organized the expedition for the conquest of the Amoor. A
considerable garrison is kept here, and the town has an important place
in the history of Siberian exile. Many of the houses are large and well
built. The officers of the garrison have a club, and ordinarily the
society includes a good many ladies from European Russia.

"I stopped two or three days at Chetah, and my courier friend continued
his journey. Finding a young officer who was going to Kiachta, on the
frontier of Mongolia, I arranged to accompany him, and one evening we
started. I think I have before told you that a Siberian journey nearly
always begins in the evening, and is continued day and night till its
close. The day is passed in making calls, and usually winds up with a
dinner at somebody's house. After dinner, and generally pretty late in
the evening, the last call is made, the last farewells are spoken, and
you bundle into your vehicle and are off.


"From Chetah the road steadily climbed the hills, and my companion said
we would soon be over the ridge of the Yablonnoi Mountains, and in the
basin of the Arctic Ocean. From the eastern slope of the mountains the
rivers flow through the Amoor to the Pacific Ocean; from the western
slope they run into Lake Baikal, and thence through the outlet of that
lake to the great frozen sea that surrounds the pole. The cold rapidly
increased, and when we crossed the ridge it seemed that the thermometer
went ten degrees lower in almost as many minutes.

"The country through which we passed was flat or slightly undulating,
with occasional stretches of hills of no great height. There are few
Russian villages, the principal inhabitants being Bouriats, a people of
Mongol origin, who are said to have been conquered by the hordes of
Genghis Khan five hundred years ago. They made considerable resistance
to the Russians when the latter came to occupy the country, but ever
since their subjugation they have been entirely peaceful.

[Illustration: A BOURIAT VILLAGE.]

"Some of the Bouriats live in houses like those of the Russians, but the
most of them cling to the _yourt_ or _kibitka_, which is the peculiar
habitation of the nomad tribes of Central Asia. Even when settled in
villages they prefer the yourt to the house, though the latter is far
more comfortable than the former.

"We changed horses in a Bouriat village, where a single Russian lived
and filled the office of station-master, justice of the peace, governor,
secretary, and garrison. I took the opportunity of visiting a yourt,
which proved to be a circular tent about eighteen feet in diameter, and
rounded at the top like a dome. There was a frame of light trellis-work
covered with thick felt made from horse-hair; at the highest point of
the dome the yourt has an open space which allows the smoke to pass out,
at least in theory. A small fire is kept burning in the middle of the
floor during the day, and covered up at night; the door is made of a
piece of felt of double or treble thickness, and hanging like a curtain
over the entrance.

"I had not been two minutes inside the yourt before my eyes began to
smart severely, and I wanted to get into the open air. The pain was
caused by the smoke, which was everywhere through the interior of the
tent, but did not seem to inconvenience the Bouriats in the least. I
noticed, however, that nearly all their eyes were red, and apparently
inflamed, and doubtless this condition was caused by the smoke.

"A family of several persons finds plenty of space in one of these
tents, as they can be very closely packed. The furniture is principally
mats and skins, which are seats by day and beds by night. They have pots
and kettles for cooking, a few jars and bottles for holding liquids,
sacks for grain, half a dozen pieces of crockery, and little else. A
wooden box contains the valuable clothing of the family, and this box,
with two or three bags and bundles, forms the entire wardrobe

"My attention was drawn to a small altar on which were tiny cups
containing oil, grain, and other offerings to the Deities. The Bouriats
are Buddhists, and have their lamas to give them the needed spiritual
advice. The lamas are numerous, and frequently engage in the same
callings as their followers. By the rules of their religion they are not
permitted to kill anything, however small or insignificant. Whenever a
lama has a sheep to slaughter he gets everything ready, and then passes
the knife to his secular neighbor.

"The Bouriats are not inclined to agriculture, but devote most of their
energy to sheep-raising. They have large flocks, and sell considerable
wool to the Russians. Their dress is a mixture of Russian and Chinese,
the conveniences of each being adopted, and the inconveniences rejected.
They decorate their waist-belts with steel or brass, shave the head, and
wear the hair in a queue, but are not careful to keep it closely
trimmed. With their trousers of Chinese cut, and sheepskin coats of
Russian model, they presented an odd appearance. The women are not
generally good-looking, but there is now and then a girl whose face is
really beautiful.

"We were called from the yourt with the announcement '_Loshadi gotovey_'
("Horses are ready"), and were soon dashing away from the village. Our
driver was a Bouriat; he handled the reins with skill and the whip with
vigor, and in every way was the equal of his Russian competitor. For two
or three hundred miles most of our drivers were Bouriats, and certainly
they deserve praise for their equestrian abilities. At many of our
stopping-places the station-masters were the only Russians, all the
employés being Bouriats."

Frank asked whether the Bouriats had adopted any of the Russian manners
and customs, or if they still adhered to their Mongol ways.

[Illustration: A WANDERING PRIEST.]

"They stick to their customs very tenaciously," was the reply, "and as
for their religion, the Russian priests have made no progress in
converting them to the faith of the Empire. Two English missionaries
lived for many years at Selenginsk, which is in the centre of the
Bouriat country, and though they labored earnestly they never gained a
single convert.

"Buddhism is of comparatively recent origin among these people. Two
hundred years ago they were _Shamans_, or worshippers of good and evil
spirits, principally the latter, and in this respect differed little
from the wild tribes of the Amoor and of Northern Siberia. About the end
of the seventeenth century the Bouriats sent a mission to Lassa, the
religious capital of Thibet, and a stronghold of Buddhism. The members
of this mission were appointed lamas, and brought back the paraphernalia
and ritual of the new faith; they announced it to the people, and in an
astonishingly short time the whole tribe was converted, and has remained
firm ever since.

"We spent a day at Verckne Udinsk, which has a church nearly two hundred
years old, and built with immensely thick walls to resist the
earthquakes which are not uncommon there. In fact there was an
earthquake shock while we were on the road, but the motion of the
carriage prevented our feeling it. We only knew what had happened when
we reached the station and found the master and his employés in a state
of alarm.

"The Gostinna Dvor contained a curious mixture of Russians and Bouriats
in about equal numbers, but there was nothing remarkable in the goods
offered for sale. An interesting building was the jail, which seemed
unnecessarily large for the population of the place. A gentleman who
knew my companion told us that the jail was rapidly filling up for
winter. 'We have,' said he, 'a great number of what you call tramps in
America; in summer they wander through the country, and live by begging
and stealing, but in winter they come to the jails to be lodged and fed
until warm weather comes again. After spending the cold season here they
leave in the spring--as the trees do.'

"He further told us there was then in the jail and awaiting trial a man
who confessed to the murder of no less than seventeen people. He had
been a robber, and when in danger of discovery had not hesitated to kill
those whom he plundered. On one occasion he had killed four persons in a
single family, leaving only a child too young to testify against him."

Fred wished to know if robberies were common in Siberia.

"Less so than you might suppose," was the reply, "when there is such a
proportion of criminals among the population. They are mostly committed
in summer, as that is the season when the tramps are in motion. The
principal victims are merchants, who often carry money in large amounts;
officers are rarely attacked, as they usually have only the money needed
for their travelling expenses, and are more likely than the merchants
to be provided with fire-arms and skilled in their use. My companion and
myself each had a revolver, and kept it where it could be conveniently
seized in case of trouble. We never had any occasion to use our weapons,
and I will say here that not once in all my journey through Siberia was
I molested by highwaymen.


"When we left Verckne Udinsk we crossed the Selenga, a river which rises
in Chinese Tartary, and after a long and tortuous course falls into Lake
Baikal, whence its waters reach the Arctic Ocean. There was no bridge,
and we traversed the stream on a ferry. The river was full of floating
ice, and the huge cakes ground very unpleasantly against the sides of
the craft which bore ourselves and our tarantasse. The river was on the
point of freezing; there was just a possibility that it would close
while we were crossing, and keep us imprisoned until such time as the
ice was thick enough to bear us safely. As this would involve a
detention of several hours where the accommodations were wretched, the
outlook was not at all pleasant.

"All's well that ends well; we landed on a sand-bank on the other side,
and after a little delay the boatmen succeeded in getting our carriage
on shore without accident. About six miles from the river the road
divided, one branch going to Irkutsk and the other to Kiachta, our
destination. Away we sped up the valley of the Selenga. The road was not
the best in the world, and we were shaken a good deal as the drivers
urged their teams furiously.

"On this road we met long trains of carts laden with tea. Each cart has
a load of from six to ten chests, according to the condition of the
roads, and is drawn by a single horse. There is a driver to every four
or five carts, and he has a bed on the top of one of his loads. The
drivers were nearly always asleep, and their horses showed a good deal
of intelligence in turning out whenever they heard the sound of our
bells. If they did not turn out they received a reminder from the whip
of our driver, who always had an extra stroke for the slumbering

Frank asked where these carts were going.

"They were going to Irkutsk," said Mr. Hegeman, "and from that city the
most of the tea they carried was destined for European Russia."

"Oh, now I remember," said Frank; "Doctor Bronson told us about the tea
importation from China, and how it all came overland down to 1860, with
the exception of one cargo annually."

"Many persons still prefer the tea brought by land, as the herb is
thought to be injured by passing over salt-water, although packed in
air-tight chests. At the time I speak of, not less than a million chests
of tea were taken annually from Kiachta to European Russia, a distance
of four thousand miles. To Kiachta it came on the backs of camels from
the tea districts of China, so that camels and horses in great number
were employed in the transport of tea.

"Each chest is covered with rawhide, which protects it from rain and
snow, and from the rough handling and shaking it receives. Across
Siberia it is carried in carts in summer, and on sledges in winter. The
horse-caravans travel sixteen hours out of every twenty-four, and the
teams rarely go faster than a walk. The teams are the property of
peasants, who make contracts for the work at a certain price per chest.

"For the latter part of the way the road was hilly and sandy, and our
progress was slow. About nine in the evening we reached Kiachta; and as
there is no hotel there, we went to the police-master to obtain

"Not at the police-station, I hope," said Fred.

"Not at all," Mr. Hegeman responded, with a slight laugh. "In many towns
of Siberia there is not sufficient travel to make hotel-keeping
profitable, and consequently there are no hotels. By custom and law the
inhabitants are required to receive travellers who may require
accommodation, and all such lodging-places are registered with the
police. For this reason we went to the police-master and received the
name of the citizen who was to be honored with our company.


"It was about ten o'clock when we reached the house, accompanied by two
soldiers who brought the mandate of the office and showed us the way.
Everybody was in bed, and it required a good deal of knocking to rouse
the servants and afterwards the master, who came to the door in his
night-shirt. He stood shivering while our explanations were made, and
did not seem to realize his ludicrous appearance until we were admitted
to the mansion and our baggage was landed."

Frank inquired if it was often necessary in Siberian towns to obtain
lodgings in this way, and whether they were paid for?

"It was only the lateness of the hour and the fact that neither of us
had ever been in Kiachta that compelled us to apply to the
police-master. Travellers are unfrequent in Siberia, and the few
strangers that go through the country are cordially welcomed. Officers
are entertained by their fellow-officers, and merchants by their
fellow-merchants. Lodgings obtained as we obtained ours are paid for
exactly as they would be at a hotel. We were invited to move the next
day, but were so well lodged that we chose to stay where we were.

"The morning after our arrival we delivered our letters of introduction
and made numerous calls, the latter including a visit to the
_Sargootchay_, or Chinese Governor of Mai-mai-chin. Which of you has
read enough about the relations between China and Russia to tell me
about these two places--Kiachta and Mai-mai-chin?"

Frank was the first to speak, which he did as follows:

"Kiachta and Mai-mai-chin were built in 1727 for the purposes of
commerce--Mai-mai-chin meaning in Chinese 'place of trade.' The towns
are about a hundred yards apart, one thoroughly Russian and the other as
thoroughly Chinese. From 1727 to 1860 nearly all the trade between the
two empires was conducted at this point, and the merchants who managed
the business made great fortunes. Women were forbidden to live in
Mai-mai-chin, and down to the present day the Chinese merchants keep
their families at Urga, two or three hundred miles to the south. The
same restriction was at first made upon the Russian merchants at
Kiachta, but after a time the rule was relaxed and has never since been
enforced. Until quite recently, strangers were forbidden to stay
over-night in Kiachta, but were lodged at Troitskosavsk, about two miles

"I should say right here," remarked Mr. Hegeman, "that my friend and
myself were really lodged in Troitskosavsk and not in Kiachta. The
latter place had about a thousand inhabitants, and the former four or
five thousand. At a distance only Kiachta is mentioned, just as a man
may say he lives in London or New York when his home is really in a
suburb of one of those cities."

"I have read somewhere," said Fred, "that the Russian and Chinese
Governments stipulated in their treaty that the products and
manufactures of each country should be exchanged for those of the other,
and no money was to be used in their commercial transactions."

"That was the stipulation," said Doctor Bronson, "but the merchants soon
found a way to evade it."

"How was that?"


"The balance of trade was greatly in favor of China, as the Russians
wanted great quantities of tea, while they did not produce or
manufacture many things that the Chinese could use. Furs were the
principal articles of Russian production that the Chinese would take,
but their demand for them was not enough to meet the Russian demand for
tea. The treaty forbade the use of gold or silver coin under severe
penalties, but somebody discovered that it did not prohibit articles of
Russian manufacture being made of those metals. So they used to melt
gold and silver coin, and cast them into Chinese idols which were sold
by weight. The Government prohibited the melting of its coin, and then
the merchants bought their crude gold and silver directly from the
miners. With this source of supply always at hand they were able to
supply 'articles of Russian manufacture' without difficulty. As late as
1860 every visitor to Kiachta was searched, to make sure that he had no
gold coin in his possession."




"You have been in China, I believe," said Mr. Hegeman, during the pause
that followed the story of how the Russian and Chinese merchants
circumvented the stipulations of the treaty.


"Oh yes," Frank responded. "We were at Peking, which is, I think, only
eight hundred miles from Kiachta. We went from Peking to the Great Wall
of China, so that we were less than seven hundred miles from the point
where you called on the Sargootchay. You can learn about our journey in
'The Boy Travellers in Japan and China.'"

"I shall read the book with great pleasure," was the reply, "now that I
have met the youths whose travels are described in it. As you have seen
the Chinese at home, and know their manners and customs, I won't take
your time by telling you what I saw in Mai-mai-chin, which is just like
any other Chinese city in nearly every respect.

"I may add that it is said to be the cleanest town in all China. It is
only half a mile square, carefully laid out, and its streets are swept
daily. Only the merchants and their employés, with a small garrison of
soldiers, are allowed to live there, and consequently there is no poor
population such as you always find in the other cities of the Empire."

"That must be a great relief," Fred remarked. "Wherever we went in China
we saw so much degradation and suffering that it destroyed a great deal
of the pleasure of the journey."

"I didn't see a beggar in Mai-mai-chin," continued Mr. Hegeman, "nor
anybody who looked like one. There were plenty of laborers employed in
handling the tea and other merchandise, but they all appeared to be well
cared for. Outside the town there was quite a camp of Mongolians with
their camel-trains, which are employed in the transportation of goods
across the great desert of Gobi.

"The Sargootchay invited me to dinner, and I went there with the
Governor of Kiachta and some of his officers. The Sargootchay was
polite, and we tried to talk, but had a good deal of difficulty in doing
so on account of the numerous translations.

"What I thought in my own language I said in French to one of my Russian
friends. He spoke in Russian to his Russian-Mongol interpreter, who
spoke in Mongol to the Mongol-Chinese interpreter of the Sargootchay.
Remarks and responses thus had to pass through four tongues to reach
their destination.

[Illustration: THEATRE AT MAI-MAI-CHIN.]

"The dinner was probably like what you had at Peking or Canton, and so I
will not take the time to describe it. After dinner we went to the
theatre, where we sat under a canopy and witnessed a performance which
included, among other things, a procession of fictitious wild beasts.
That they were very fictitious was shown by the accident of the tiger's
mask falling off and revealing the head of an astonished man.

[Illustration: THE TIGER.]

"The thermometer was below the freezing-point, and as the theatre was in
the open air, I was very glad that the performance was short.

"From Kiachta I returned to Verckne Udinsk, and then proceeded to
Irkutsk by way of Lake Baikal. This lake is said to be the largest body
of fresh water in Asia. It is four hundred miles long by about fifty
broad, and is fourteen hundred feet above the level of the sea. The
quantity of water flowing into it is said to be ten times as much as
passes from it by its outlet, the Angara River. What becomes of the
other nine-tenths is a mystery that has puzzled many scientific men;
none of them have been able to establish a theory which the others have
not completely upset.

"I crossed the lake in a steamboat, and during the voyage listened
eagerly to the description of the winter passage which is made on the
ice. I will give it as nearly as I can remember in the words of my
informant, a gentleman who filled the position of Superintendent of
Public Instruction in Eastern Siberia:


"'The lake does not freeze over until quite late in the autumn, and when
it does the whole surface is congealed in a single night. In a few days
the ice is from three to six feet thick, and perfectly transparent. The
first time I crossed it was from the western to the eastern shore. The
former is mountainous, while the latter is low and flat. As we began our
ride the land on the other side was quite invisible, and it seemed to me
very much like setting out in a sleigh for a voyage from Queenstown to
New York. When I leaned over and looked downward, it was like gazing
into the depths of the ocean. It was not until I alighted and stood on
the firm ice that I could dispel the illusion that we were gliding over
the unfrozen surface of the lake, as the natives believe its guardian
spirit walks upon the waters without sinking beneath them.

"'At night every star was reflected as in a mirror, and I saw the
heavens above me, beneath me, and all around. As the rising moon lighted
up the faint horizon of ice and sky, I could half believe I had left the
world behind me, and was moving away through the myriads of stars
towards the centre of another solar system distinct from our own.'

"The natives have many superstitions concerning the Baikal," Mr. Hegeman
continued. "In their language it is the 'Holy Sea,' and they consider it
sacrilege to call it a lake. It is very deep, soundings of two thousand
feet having been made without finding bottom. It is more like a sea than
a lake in some of its peculiarities; gulls and other ocean birds fly
over it, and it is the only body of fresh water on the globe where the
seal abounds. There are banks of coral in some parts of it, in spite of
the high northern latitude and the constant coldness of the water. The
natives say that nobody is ever lost in the lake; any one drowned in
its waters is thrown up on the shores."

"It must be a long drive from one side of the lake to the other," one of
the youths remarked.

"It is, indeed," was the reply. "Formerly they had a station on the ice
in the middle of the lake, which was removed at the approach of spring.
One season the ice broke up unexpectedly, and the entire station, with
all its men and horses, was swallowed up. Since that time no station has
been kept there in winter, and the entire journey across, about
fifty-five miles, is made without a change. The horses are carefully
selected, and as the road is magnificent they go at great speed,
stopping only two or three times for a rest of a few minutes.


"The western shore is mountainous, and in places very picturesque. There
are steep cliffs that come down to the water, and in some of these
cliffs you find caverns and arches which recall the pictured shores of
Lake Superior. Earthquakes are not unfrequent, and many persons believe
that the lake occupies the crater of an extinct volcano whose internal
fires are determined to keep themselves in remembrance. A village on the
shore of the lake was destroyed by one of the shocks. Half of it was
carried below the level of the water, and the other half thrown up to a
considerable height above its former position.

"So much for this remarkable lake. From the western shore to Irkutsk
(about forty miles) the road follows near the bank of the Angara, which
is very swift. The river does not freeze until after the lake has been
covered with ice, and for two or three miles below the point where it
emerges from the lake it never freezes even in the severest winters.
There is a great rock in the stream at this point which is regarded with
superstition by the aboriginal inhabitants. They perform religious
ceremonies when passing it, and formerly it was a place of sacrifice.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of men, women, and children have been tossed
from this rock to be drowned in the swift current flowing below it.

"It had been my original plan to reach Irkutsk on wheels, and remain
there till the winter roads were formed, so that I could continue from
that city in a sleigh. A snow-storm began an hour before I reached the
city, and indicated that I had made a very good calculation; it cleared
up soon after we passed the gate-way, and for several days thereafter
the weather was delightful. My reception was most cordial; Americans
were rare visitors in the capital of Eastern Siberia, and I was the
first that many of the people had ever seen."

One of the youths remarked that he believed Irkutsk was a city of
considerable size and importance.

[Illustration: PART OF IRKUTSK.]

"It is the largest city in Siberia," said Mr. Hegeman, "and has a
population of about thirty-five thousand. The Governor-general of
Eastern Siberia lives there. He has many officers attached to his staff.
There are many wealthy citizens. The houses are large, well built, and
furnished, and the style of living is liberal.

"The winter opens with a long list of balls, parties, dinners, concerts,
and other festivities, which are kept up until the coming of the Lenten
season. Every family keeps open house through the winter, and it is
customary to drop in whenever one chooses, and take tea at eight
o'clock. There is no formality about the matter. One of the ladies of
the house presides at the _samovar_, and the others of the party are
scattered around the parlors wherever it is most convenient or agreeable
to be. My recollections of Irkutsk are of the most pleasant sort, and I
greatly regret the place is so far away that one cannot easily revisit


"Since I was there Irkutsk has suffered by a fire that destroyed more
than half the buildings, and caused a vast amount of distress. For a
time it was thought the city would not be rebuilt, but I hear that it is
being restored very rapidly, and in a few years will be more attractive
than it was before the conflagration.[5]

[5] The fire occurred on July 6th and 7th, 1879. About thirty-six
hundred buildings were destroyed, of which one hundred and more were of
stone or brick, and the rest of wood. Six Russian churches were burned,
and also two synagogues, one Catholic and one Lutheran church; five
bazaars, the meat-market, museum, club-house, custom-house, and other
public edifices were consumed. The loss was about fifteen millions of
dollars, and many persons formerly in good circumstances were rendered
penniless. The wealthy inhabitants who escaped loss or ruin gave
liberally to relieve the general distress, and the Government made
substantial provision for the unemployed.

[Illustration: DRESSED FOR THE ROAD.]

"When the winter roads were reported in a condition for travelling I
began my preparations for leaving Irkutsk on a sleigh-ride of thirty-six
hundred miles. The thermometer went to twenty degrees below zero soon
after the first fall of snow, and my Russian friends told me to prepare
for forty below. Under their advice I employed a tailor who knew his
business, and when his work was completed my room resembled a clothing
store of modest proportions. Here is what I bought: A sheepskin coat
with the wool inside; the garment fell below my knees, was without a
collar, and buttoned tight around the neck. It was intended for wearing
outside my ordinary suit of clothing. Outside of this was what the
Russians call a _dehar_; it was made of deer-skin, with the hair
outward, and as I walked it swept the floor like a lady's ball-dress.
The sleeves were six inches longer than my arms, and very inconvenient
when I wished to pick up any small article; the collar was a foot wide,
and when turned up and brought around in front completely concealed my
head. Then I had a fur cap, circular in shape and with lappets for
covering the ears. A lady made, from a piece of sable-skin, a mitten for
my nose.

"For my foot-gear I discarded my leather boots. Outside of my ordinary
socks I had a pair of squirrel-skin socks with the fur inside, sheepskin
stockings with the wool inside and reaching to the knee, and outside of
these were deer-skin boots, with the hair outside, and reaching up
nearly to the junction of my lower limbs. Added to these garments for
excluding cold was a robe of sheepskins with the wool on, and backed
with heavy cloth. It was seven feet square, and something like a dozen
skins were required for making it. At one end it was shaped into a sort
of bag for receiving the feet."

Fred suggested that such a costume must be very inconvenient for
walking, and it must be no easy matter to enter and leave a sleigh when
thus wrapped for a cold night.

"You are quite right," said Mr. Hegeman; "it is the work of a minute or
more to turn over at night and change one's position, excepting, of
course, when the sleigh turns over first."

"Did that happen often?"

"Fortunately not," was the reply, "but the few experiences of this kind
that I had were quite sufficient. One night we were upset while going at
full speed down a hill. I was asleep at the time, and without the least
warning found myself in a mass of baggage, hay, furs, and snow. My first
thought was that an earthquake had hit us, and it was several seconds
before I realized what had happened. One of the horses broke loose and
ran away; the driver mounted the other and went after the fugitive, and
for half an hour my companion and myself were left alone with the sleigh
and its contents. We kept ourselves busy trying to get things to rights,
and as we had only the light of the stars to work by, we did not get
along rapidly.

"We found one of the shafts and also a fender broken; otherwise the
vehicle had suffered no material damage. But I'm getting ahead of the

"I arranged to leave Irkutsk with some Russian friends who were going to
Krasnoyarsk, the next provincial capital. After getting my furs, the
next thing was to buy a sleigh, and again I took advice.

[Illustration: A VASHOK.]

"There is a sleigh called a _vashok_, which is much like a small
omnibus. It has doors at the side and is very capacious, but it has the
disadvantage that you are completely enclosed in it, and can see nothing
of the country you are passing through. A better vehicle is the
_kibitka_, a sort of tarantasse on runners, and suggestive of the
American chaise in the arrangement of its front. There is a hood which
can be lowered and fastened to an apron rising from the wooden box, in
which your feet are pushed when you enter the vehicle. By day you can
see the country and enjoy the fresh air, and at night or in storms you
close the hood and are very well protected from the weather. Ladies and
invalids prefer the vashok, while healthy men have a decided liking for
the kibitka.

[Illustration: MY KIBITKA.]

"At the rear of the kibitka there is usually a frame of poles, covered
with a net of half inch rope. It is a convenient receptacle for extra
baggage, and also serves to break the force of horses running against
the sleigh from behind.

"The driver of the vashok sits on a seat much like that of an ordinary
carriage, while on the kibitka he is seated on the boxed front, with his
feet hanging over the side. The position is one that requires constant
vigilance to prevent falling off. The driver of a vashok might possibly
sleep a little without danger, but not so the driver of a kibitka.

"My kibitka was made in European Russia, and was said to have travelled
six thousand miles before I owned it. In my possession it went
thirty-six hundred miles, and was certainly good for several thousand
more. In the whole ride it cost me about five dollars for repairs,
principally to the shafts and fenders. I gave eighty roubles for the
sleigh in Irkutsk, and sold it at Nijni Novgorod for ten.

[Illustration: FAREWELL TO IRKUTSK.]

"The day of my departure was spent in making farewell calls and getting
the baggage in readiness. A Russian gentleman was to accompany me in my
sleigh; two ladies, mother and daughter, were to be in another; and two
servants of the ladies, a man and a maid, were to be in a third. The
ladies lived in Irkutsk, and we were to dine at their house and start
from it. At the appointed time we went there.

"There was a gay party at the dinner, and when it was over the starting
signal was given. All present seated themselves around the parlor, and a
few moments were given to silent prayer, the travellers asking, and the
others wishing for them, a safe journey. On rising, all who professed
the religion of the Eastern Church made the sign of the cross before the
_ikon_, or holy picture, and bowed towards it. Every true Russian
scrupulously observes this ceremony before starting on a journey,
whether by land or water.

"The Angara sweeps gracefully around two sides of Irkutsk, and many of
the houses are on the bank. There is a swinging ferry to connect the
opposite shores; the boat is at the end of a strong cable, anchored
nearly a mile up the stream, and it is swung across through the force of
the current against its sides. Starting for Moscow it is necessary to
cross the river, and I was told there would be some friends at the ferry
to see me off. We had a good deal of seeing off, as nearly a dozen
sleighs, filled with friends of my companions, were to accompany us to
the first station.

"When we reached the bank it was the close of the day; in fact, dusk was
about coming on. The ferry-boat was coming from the other shore. I
looked, and saw it was dressed in flags and Chinese lanterns; I looked
again, and there were American flags!--four American flags and one
Russian. It was the first time my national standard had ever been
hoisted at Irkutsk.

"There was a lump in my throat and a film over my eyes as I raised my
cap and tried to give three cheers. My voice proved to be husky, and the
effort was not crowned with distinguished success. It was a surprise
planned by several of my Russian friends; when it was all over, I
remembered how one of the ladies had asked me several days before how
the American flag was made, and obtained from me a drawing showing the
arrangement of stripes and stars. There wasn't an American flag in
Irkutsk, and they had caused these to be made for the occasion."

"What a hospitable people they must be at Irkutsk!" said Frank. Fred
echoed the sentiment, and so did Doctor Bronson. The latter said it was
only those who had been a long time from home who could appreciate the
feeling that comes over a man when he sees his country's flag thus

"After many expressions of good-will and good wishes for everybody, and
hand-shakings without number, our sleighs were driven on the ferry-boat,
and we swung across the Angara. At the first station we made a merry
party till a late hour; then the friends who came to see us off returned
to Irkutsk, while we travellers took to our sleighs and went comfortably
to sleep, while our horses dashed gayly over the smooth road.

"For the first fifty miles after leaving Irkutsk the road follows the
bank of the Angara; at times we were close to the dark waters, and never
far away from them. A dense fog, or frost-cloud, lay on the river; the
night was cold, and the moisture congealed on everything where it could
find a resting-place. In the morning every part of my sleigh save the
running portion was white with hoar-frost. Each little fibre projecting
from the canvas and matting that formed the cover had been turned to a
stalactite or a stalagmite, and the head of every nail and bolt
resembled oxydized silver. Horses were white without regard to their
natural color, and even the garments of the drivers had come in for
their share of the congelation.

[Illustration: WORK OF THE FROST-KING.]

"Many times afterwards I had occasion to remark the beauties of the work
of the frost-king. Houses and fences were cased in ice, its thickness
varying with the condition of the weather. Trees and bushes were covered
with crystals, and in the morning sunlight they sparkled as though
coated with diamonds. Sometimes the trees resembled fountains caught and
frozen when in full action. The pictured delineations of the frost had
all the varieties of the kaleidoscope, but without its colors.

"During the night I slept well, in spite of several severe thumps
received from sleighs going in the other direction. Russian sleighs are
so built that two of them can run together with considerable force
without serious consequences. Look at the picture of a vashok and you
will understand it.

"The runners are about thirty inches apart, and generally shod with
iron. On each side there is a fender, which consists of a stout pole
fastened to the forward end of the runner, and extending downward and
outward to the rear, where it is about two feet from the runner and held
by strong braces. On a level surface it is just clear of the snow, but
when the vehicle tips ever so little the fender sustains the weight and
prevents an overturn. When two sleighs moving in opposite directions
come together, the fenders slip against each other like a pair of
fencing foils.

"Occasionally the shock of meeting is so severe that the fenders are
broken. An accident of this kind happened one day to my kibitka, the
fender on one side being completely torn off. At the next station I
summoned a carpenter and had the missing fender restored and made
stronger than it was before."

Frank asked how the traveller's baggage was carried in a Siberian

"Baggage is spread over the bottom of the sleigh," said Mr. Hegeman, in
reply to the question. "Wooden and other solid trunks must be discarded,
and in their place the Russians have what they call _chemidans_. The
chemidan is made of soft leather, very broad and flat, and must not be
filled with fragile articles. For ladies' bonnets and other crushable
things there are chemidans which more resemble the packing-case of a
framed picture than anything else; they fit easily into the bottom of a
sleigh or tarantasse, and are strong enough to bear the weight of the
traveller. Baggage is spread over the bottom of the vehicle, and the
chinks and crevices are filled with straw or hay to make as level a
surface as possible. Over this is spread a rug of sheepskins. There is
no seat as in an ordinary vehicle, but you sit there very much as you
would on the carpet in the corner of a room. Each traveller has a corner
of the sleigh, and wedges himself into a comfortable position by means
of pillows; he may lie down, recline, or sit bolt upright as he

"Did you carry your provisions for the road, or could you rely upon the
stations to furnish them?" Fred inquired.


"We could rely upon the stations for the _samovar_ with hot water, and
for bread and eggs," was the reply, "the same as in the tarantasse
journey I have already described, but everything else that we wanted had
to be carried along. We had our own tea and sugar, likewise our
roast-beef, cabbage-soup, and _pilmania_."

"What is pilmania?"

"The best thing imaginable for this kind of travelling. It consists of a
piece of cooked meat--beef or mutton--about the size of a grape,
seasoned and wrapped in a thin covering of dough, and then rolled in
flour. We had at starting nearly a bushel of these dough-covered
meat-balls frozen solid and carried in a bag. When we reached a station
where we wished to dine, sup, or breakfast, we ordered the _samovar_,
and said we had pilmania, before getting out of the sleigh. A pot of
water was immediately put on the fire and heated to the boiling-point;
then a double handful of our pilmania was dropped into the pot, the
water was brought to the boil again and kept simmering for a few
minutes. The result was a rich meat-soup which Delmonico could not

"The bag containing the frozen pilmania seemed to be filled with
walnuts. Our cabbage-soup was in cakes like small bricks, and our
roast-beef resembled red granite. We carved the beef with a hatchet,
and then thawed out the slices while waiting for the _samovar_. We had
partridges cooked and frozen. With all the articles I have named for
dinner, what more could we wish, especially when we had appetites
sharpened by travelling in the keen, pure air of Siberia?"

"Wasn't there danger, while you were in the stations eating your meals,
that things would be stolen from the sleigh?" was the next interrogatory
by one of the youths.

[Illustration: MAIL-DRIVER AND GUARD.]

"I had fears of that before starting," was the reply, "but my friends
assured me that thefts from vehicles on the post-roads were very rare.
There were always several employés of the station moving about, or
engaged in harnessing or unharnessing the teams, so that outsiders had
little chance to pilfer without being discovered. The native Siberians
have a good reputation for honesty, and the majority of those exiled for
minor offences lead correct lives. According to my experience, the
Siberians are more honest than the inhabitants of European Russia. After
passing the Ural Mountains we always employed somebody to watch the
sleigh while we were at meals in the station, which we did not do while
in Siberia.

"The gentleman who rode with me was an officer in the Russian service;
he, like myself, carried a second-class paderojnia, but the ladies had
only a third-class one. On the second day of our journey, just as we had
finished dinner and our teams were ready to start, it was announced that
the post with five vehicles was approaching. We donned our furs very
quickly, while our servants gathered up our part of the dinner
equipment. Leaving enough money on the table to pay for what we had
received from the station, we bundled into our vehicles and hastened
away. There was no danger of our losing the two teams which had been
secured on the second-class paderojnias, but we were not at all certain
about the other. If there had not been sufficient horses at the station
for the post, our third team would have been taken from us, and we might
have waited for hours before obtaining horses. The best way of solving
the problem was to be out of the way when it came up for solution. As
the man said of a railway accident, 'Presence of mind is good, but
absence of body is better.'


"We obtained excellent speed from the horses where the roads were good,
as we gave a fee to the drivers at the end of their routes,
proportioning it according to the character of their service. My sleigh
generally took the lead, and we always promised a liberal gratuity for
extra rate of progress. The regulations require that vehicles not on
Government service shall go at a pace of ten versts (six and two-third
miles) an hour, provided the roads are in good condition. If a driver
just came up to the regulations and no more, we gave him eight or ten
copecks; if he was accommodating and energetic, we increased his
gratuity accordingly. Fifteen copecks was a liberal reward, twenty
munificent, twenty-five princely, and thirty imperial. We went at
breakneck pace where the roads permitted, and often where they did not.
Occasionally we stimulated the drivers to a race, and then our progress
was exciting, as well as dangerous.

"The post was carried twice a week each way, and we frequently
encountered it. The bags contained merchandise in addition to letters
and newspapers, as the Government does a sort of express business
through the post-office, to the great convenience of the public. This
accounted for the large number of vehicles employed. Travellers may
purchase tickets and have their carriages accompany the post, but in so
doing they are liable to a good many extortions. Each convoy is
accompanied by a postilion or guard, who is responsible for its
security; he is usually a soldier, and must be armed to repel robbers.
Sometimes these postilions were so stuck around with pistols that they
resembled travelling arsenals, and must have been very dangerous to

Frank asked how many horses were required for the service of the post at
each station.

"The rules require each station-master to keep ten troikas, or thirty
horses, ready for use; many stations had forty or fifty horses each, and
the villages could generally supply any reasonable demand after those in
the station were exhausted. Fourteen _yemshicks_ (drivers) are kept at
every station; they are boarded by the smotretal, and receive about four
dollars each a month, in addition to whatever gratuities they can pick
up. When the post was expected they generally whispered that fact to our
man-servant, so that we could get away as soon as possible. They
preferred our service to that of the post, as we could be relied upon
for gratuities, while none were obtainable from the inanimate bags of
the Government mail.

"Our good road lasted for two days and into the early hours of the
third; then the snow became very thin, and at times we were dragged over
bare ground for considerable distances. From very cold the weather
turned to warm, and threatened to spoil our provisions as well as the

"Winter is by far the best time for travelling in Siberia, though at
first thought one would suppose the summer preferable. In summer the
weather is hot, there are clouds of dust when no rain falls, and long
stretches of mud when it does; there are swarms and swarms of
mosquitoes, flies, and all sorts of winged things that trouble traveller
and horses to a terrible degree. There is one kind of fly that drives
the horses into a frenzy, so that they sometimes break away from the
carriages or become unmanageable. A Russian gravely told me that this
Siberian horsefly could bite through an iron stove-pipe without hurting
his teeth, but I'm inclined to doubt it.


"Then, too, there are many streams to be crossed by fording or ferrying,
and often there are long delays at the ferries. Fresh provisions can
only be carried for a day or two at most, and a traveller must load his
vehicle with a liberal stock of canned goods or run the risk of a very
hard time. The frost seals up the rivers, causes the mosquitoes, flies,
dust, mud, and kindred annoyances to disappear, and preserves your
provisions for an indefinite period, except when a 'thaw' comes on. If
you ever make a journey through Siberia, by all means make it in winter.

"The last hundred miles of our ride, from Irkutsk to Krasnoyarsk, was
made over more bare ground than snow. In some places we had five or six
horses to each carriage, and even then our progress was slow.
Fortunately it became cold again, but the sky was cloudless; we longed
for snow to cover the ground and improve the condition of the roads.

"The last morning we took breakfast at a station fifty versts from
Krasnoyarsk, and learned that for the last thirty versts before reaching
the city there was absolutely no snow. Very curiously the snow extended
up to the door of the station, and disappeared not more than a yard
beyond it! Looking one way there was bare ground; looking the other the
road was good for sleighing.


"Over cakes and tea we arranged our programme, which resulted in the
ladies leaving their vashok until their return to Irkutsk, and riding
into town on a telega. My sleigh and the other were unloaded, the
baggage was piled into telegas, the sleighs were mounted on wagons which
we hired from the peasants, and with very little trouble the whole
difficulty was adjusted. Altogether we were not at the station more than
an hour, and at least half that time was taken for lunch."

Fred asked how it happened that there was good sleighing in one
direction and hardly any snow in the other.

"It is a climatic peculiarity," Mr. Hegeman explained, "and is not
confined to that locality. You remember I mentioned Chetah, the first
provincial capital as you go west from the Amoor River. At Chetah very
little snow falls in the winter, and sometimes for the entire year
wheels must be used. Krasnoyarsk is in the valley of the Yenisei River,
and they told me that very little snow falls within twenty miles of the
town, and in some winters none at all. I must leave the scientific men
to explain it.

"I heard a story at Krasnoyarsk of an Englishman who was travelling
alone through Siberia a few winters before the time of my visit. Finding
no snow there on his arrival, he decided to wait until it fell, and the
roads would be good enough for him to proceed. He waited days and days,
but no snow. The days grew into weeks, and the weeks into months, but
still no snow. He remained sullenly at the hotel or wandered about the
streets; the hotel-keeper did not enlighten him, as he was a good
customer, and the stranger did not seek counsel of any one else. He
might have been there to this day had he not met in the hotel a
fellow-countryman who was travelling eastward. The latter explained the
climatic conditions of the place to his long-detained compatriot, and
then the latter made arrangements for proceeding on his journey.

"Before I forget it," continued Mr. Hegeman, "let me say that the
Russians have several songs in which the delights of sleighing are
described. Here is one of them, which may possibly need the explanation
that the duga is the yoke over the shaft-horse's neck, and Valdai is the
place where the most famous bells of Russia are cast. You already know
that a troika is a team of three horses harnessed abreast--

  "'Away, away, along the road,
    The fiery troika bounds;
  While 'neath the duga, sadly sweet,
    The Valdai bell resounds.

  "'Away, away, we leave the town,
    Its roofs and spires, behind,
  The crystal snow-flakes dance around
    As o'er the steppe we wind.

  "'Away, away, the glittering stars
    Shine greeting from above;
  Our hearts beat fast as on we glide,
    Swift as the flying dove.'

"I will tell you of a sleigh-ride in which there is less poetry than in
the song I have quoted.

"An English gentleman was stopping with some Siberian friends, and one
day it was proposed to take a ride in a sledge. The Englishman had
taken his seat and the driver was about mounting to his place, when the
horses made a sudden start and dragged the reins from the driver's

[Illustration: A DANGEROUS RIDE.]

"All that the Englishman could do was to hold on, and this he did to the
best of his ability. The horses made straight for a ravine two or three
hundred feet deep; the unfortunate passenger and his friends thought he
was going to certain death, but as they reached the edge of the ravine
the horses whirled about and ran in the opposite direction.

"The sledge in turning was swung over the abyss, and hung for an instant
in the air; the team ran two or three miles before it was stopped by one
of the horses stumbling among some logs. Severely bruised and with his
hand half crushed, the Englishman got out of the sledge, and concluded
he had had all the riding he desired for that day at least."



Frank asked what was meant by the word Krasnoyarsk: was it derived from
a river, a mountain, or did it belong to an individual?

"_Krasnoe_," said Mr. Hegeman, "means 'red,' and Krasnoyarsk gets its
name from the red cliffs of the Yenisei on which it stands. All around
the town the soil is of a reddish hue, and so are the hills that form
the horizon in every direction. The Yenisei is a fine river, one of the
largest in Siberia, and where it passes Krasnoyarsk it is fully half a
mile wide. In summer there are two or three steamboats running to the
Arctic Ocean from a point a little below Krasnoyarsk; rapids and shoals
prevent their coming up to the town. The tributaries of the river are
rich in gold deposits, and many of the residents have grown wealthy by

"Krasnoyarsk has a population of about twelve thousand, and in a general
way is a sort of pocket edition of Irkutsk. It is the capital of the
province of Yeniseisk, and the centre of trade for a wide extent of
country. Markets, churches, and buildings in general are like those of
Irkutsk, and there is an appearance of prosperity throughout the place."

Fred asked how it happened that the names of nearly all the towns in
Siberia ended in "sk." They had been hearing about Irkutsk, Yeniseisk,
Selenginsk, and he didn't know how many others.

Dr. Bronson came to the young man's relief as follows:

"I think you learned in St. Petersburg that the termination 'sk' is
equivalent to 'of' in English?"

"Certainly," replied Fred, "I learned that 'vitch' means 'son of.' Paul
Ivanovitch, for example, being Paul, son of Ivan. I understand also that
Alexandrovsky was named after Alexander, Petrovski after Peter,
Nicolayevsk after Nicholas, and so on through the list of Russian saints
and emperors. But I've not heard of any distinguished personages with
the names I've just quoted belonging to towns or cities."


"These Siberian names really assist the memory in a geographical way,"
the Doctor answered, "as they tell us where the town is located.
Selenginsk is on the Selenga River; Irkutsk is on the Irkut, where it
empties into the Angara; Yeniseisk (province) is in the valley of the
Yenisei, and the town of that name is on the river's bank. In the same
way Omsk is on the Om, Tomsk on the Tom, Tobolsk on the Tobol, Irbitsk
on the Irbit, and Kansk on the Kan. The list could be extended to great

"I must make a note of that," said Fred, "as it will be of use to
students of geography in the schools at home. But what hard words they
are to pronounce!"

"They are not as difficult as they seem at first sight," said the
Doctor. "The chief difficulty comes from our knowing they are Russian,
and expecting they will twist our tongues. Three consonants together are
terrible--in Russian; in English they are easy enough."

"I quite agree with you," said Mr. Hegeman. "After I went to America, on
my return from Siberia, many of my friends complained of the
jaw-breaking names of the places I had visited, and declared they never
could speak them. A lady of my acquaintance tried in vain to pronounce
Irkutsk; its three consonants, _t_, _s_, and _k_, were too much for her,
but she had not the slightest difficulty in asking me about the fasts
and feasts of the Church. The _s_, _t_, and _s_ of 'fasts' and 'feasts'
are consonants, and just as difficult of pronunciation as the others;
but the one set is Russian and the other 'English, you know.'

"Let me suggest an easy way of wrestling with the Russian terminals
_tsk_, _nsk_, _msk_, and the like:

"If you're struggling with Irkutsk take the word 'coot,' which is
perfectly familiar to you. Put an _s_ to it and make 'coots,' and then a
_k_ to that and make 'cootsk' or 'kutsk.' With the prefix _er_ you have
the capital of Eastern Siberia before you.

"In the same way dispose of Kansk by building up the word 'can' till you
have reached the end. The other terminals which seem so difficult may be
rendered perfectly innocuous to the organs of speech if kindly and
intelligently treated.

"To return to Krasnoyarsk and its snowless district.

"A description of the place, its buildings, markets, and other features
would be nearly a repetition of that of Irkutsk, but on a smaller scale.
In the market I was particularly interested in the character and
abundance of the fish offered for sale. Among them were pike, sturgeon,
perch, and others with which I was familiar, and there was one fish
which closely resembled the smelt. Another that I had never before seen
had a bill resembling that of a duck and a long and thin body. All these
fishes came from the Yenisei or its tributaries; some of them dwell
permanently in the river, and others ascend in the summer from the
Arctic Ocean.

"There is a fish called _omulli_ by the Russians, and evidently a member
of the trout family. It lives in the smaller streams of Siberia, and
furnishes a caviar that is greatly prized. The omulli's caviar is of a
golden color, and quite in contrast with the black caviar made from the
roe of the sturgeon.

"The Yenisei at Krasnoyarsk has a swift current, and resembles the
Mississippi at St. Louis, according to the descriptions they gave me. Of
course I could not verify the statement, as the river was frozen over at
the time of my visit. The width and volume of the Yenisei gave interest
to a story which was told by one of the residents:


"One of the good citizens of Krasnoyarsk had been attending a wedding on
the other side of the river, and started for home rather late at night,
with the intention of reaching the ferry about daylight. He was in a
telega drawn by two horses; on the way from the wedding he fell asleep,
and the horses took their own course. When they reached the river they
were doubtless hungry, and impatient to return to their stable. The
ferry-boat was on the other side, and the animals did not choose to
wait. They plunged in and started across; the telega, being wholly of
wood, had sufficient buoyancy to keep it afloat, but the occupant was
awakened by the cold bath. Though frightened half to death, he had the
good sense to lie perfectly still and make the best of the situation;
the hardy beasts took him safely over, but he never cared to repeat the
adventure. The few individuals that saw him coming in the early daylight
could hardly believe their eyes; and one, at least, thought it was
Neptune in his chariot ascending the waters of the Yenisei."

"Another illustration of the excellence of the horses of Siberia," said
Fred. "I long to travel in that country, and have the experience of
riding behind them."

Frank asked Mr. Hegeman if there were any high mountains in the
neighborhood of Krasnoyarsk.


"There are not," was the reply, "only some low hills and rounded peaks
that do not rise to the height and dignity of mountains. I believe most
geographers are agreed on applying the term 'mountain' only to
elevations of fifteen hundred feet and more, everything below that
figure being called a hill. Under this restriction there are no
mountains on the road through Siberia between Lake Baikal and the Ural
range. Most of the country is flat and uninteresting; sometimes it is a
perfectly level plain, and in other places it is undulating like a
rolling prairie in Kansas or Nebraska. Along the rivers it is broken by
ranges of hills, but as soon as you go back from the rivers you come to
the plain again.

"Hour after hour, and day after day, we rode over this monotonous
country, the landscape, or rather snowscape, presenting very little to
attract the eye. This feature of the country makes the Siberian journey
a dreary one, not unlike the journey from the Missouri River to the
Rocky Mountains before the days of the transcontinental railway."

Fred asked if this level part of Siberia was treeless like many portions
of our Western country.

"There is a vast amount of treeless land," said Mr. Hegeman, in response
to the inquiry, "but it is not all of that sort. There are many forests
of birch, pine, spruce, and larch. In some localities birch is the only
wood for building purposes, in others larch, and in others pine or
spruce. Other Siberian trees are willow, fir, poplar, elm, and maple.
Central and Southern Siberia are well wooded, but the farther we go
towards the north the fewer trees do we find. The plains bordering the
Arctic Ocean are treeless; the poplar disappears at 60° north latitude,
the birch at 63°, and the pine and larch at 64°."

"I thought I had read about a species of cedar that grows over the
plains to the far North," said the Doctor, "and that it serves to make
that region habitable by furnishing fuel for the natives."

"I was about to mention the trailing cedar," said Mr. Hegeman. "The
Russians call it _kedrevnik_, and some of the native tribes regard it as
a special gift of Providence. It spreads on the ground like a vine, and
has needles and cones similar to those of the cedar; the trunks are
gnarled and twisted, very difficult to cut or split, but vastly
preferable to no wood at all. Thousands of miles of country are covered
with the trailing cedar, and in winter it is found by digging in the

"On leaving Krasnoyarsk," continued Mr. Hegeman, "I travelled with a
gentleman who had been northward to the shores of the Arctic Ocean
during the previous summer, he accompanying me in my sleigh, while his
own was occupied by a servant and a goodly amount of baggage. For thirty
miles there was no snow, and so we mounted our sleighs on wagons and
sent them to the beginning of the snow road, while we followed in a
telega a few hours after their departure. We overtook them just at the
beginning of the snow road, and were glad enough to change from the
telega. The vehicle had no springs, and we were shaken in it worse than
if tossed in a blanket. The frozen ground was rough, and reminded me of
a nutmeg-grater on a Brobdingnagian scale.

"We had started with the intention of overtaking the sleighs before
sunset, but our slow progress over the rough roads had so delayed us
that the evening was well advanced before our destination was reached.
The transfer of baggage was made in the moonlight; one or two small
articles disappeared in the operation, but whether stolen or
accidentally lost we never knew.

[Illustration: JUMPING AN "OUKHABA."]

"In Irkutsk I had been told that a new sensation awaited me in the
Siberian _oukhaba_, and I found it on the first night's travelling after
leaving Krasnoyarsk. What do you suppose it was?"

Both the youths shook their heads and said they didn't know, while
Doctor Bronson preserved a discreet silence.

"The oukhaba of the Siberian road," Mr. Hegeman explained, "is the
equivalent of the 'hog-wallow' of the American one; the former is formed
in the snow, and the latter in the bare ground. It is caused by the snow
lying in drifts or ridges when it is blown by the wind, and also by the
roads being worn with much travel. The road is a succession of ridges
and hollows; the drivers go at full speed, without the slightest regard
to the pitching and tossing of the sleigh, and the result is a severe
trial of one's nerves. The motion causes a rush of blood to one's head,
and develops what the Russians call 'the road-fever.'

"I did not escape the road-fever, and to this day I shudder when
thinking of this part of my experience, the most disagreeable feature of
the journey. My body was sore and stiff; at every jolt it seemed as
though the top of my head would fly off; sleep was next to impossible;
and when I did manage to slumber, my dreams were something frightful. My
temper was spoiled, and a quarrel might have been created with anything
and anybody without the least effort. The fever runs its course in two
or three days, but may last longer; as long as the roads are bad the
inexperienced traveller is liable to it. Sometimes the sleigh made a
clear jump of five or six feet, and the wonder was that the vehicle did
not go to pieces and leave us hopelessly wrecked."

Fred asked if any wolves were seen in this part of the journey or
elsewhere in Siberia.

"Occasionally we saw wolves," was the reply, "but not often. There are
plenty of wolves in Siberia, but they have enough to live upon in the
game that abounds everywhere, so that they are not likely to attack
travellers. Siberian and American wolves are much alike, but the former
are said to be larger and fiercer than their American cousins.

"I can tell you some wolf stories, but they do not belong to Siberia. It
is only in Western Russia and in Poland that travellers are attacked by
wolves, and then only in the severest winters, when game is very scarce
and hunger has made the animals desperate."

"Please tell us one of those stories," said Frank. "I have read accounts
of men being chased by wolves, but have just now forgotten what they

The request was echoed by Fred, and Mr. Hegeman kindly gratified their

"To begin with," said he, "the horses are the object of attack and not
the men in the vehicle; but of course when the horses are overpowered
the wolves make no distinction and devour everything edible. When
desperate they will venture to the farm-yards to kill sheep and cattle.
Their favorite article of food, other than wild game, is a pig, and the
squealing of a pig is an appeal that no hungry wolf can resist.


"Advantage of this propensity is taken by those who go out to hunt the
wolf for amusement. On a moonlight night two hunters go out with an open
sledge drawn by two horses; they carry their guns, with plenty of
ammunition, a pig tied by the feet, and a bag of hay, together with furs
and robes to keep them warm. When they reach the middle of the forest
where the wolves abound, the horses' heads are turned towards home, the
bag of hay, fastened to a rope from twenty to forty feet long, is thrown
out, and the pig's ear is pinched until the poor creature squeals in his
loudest tones. If a wolf is within hearing he comes at once, and if
there are other wolves they follow him and his example. The pig's ear is
continually twisted; the squealing resounds through the forest, and when
the wolves come in sight they mistake the bag of hay for the animal they
seek. They rush for it, and as they come within range are shot down.
The sleigh does not stop to pick up the game, but continues its course
at a walk or slow trot, provided the driver can restrain the
terror-stricken horses. The next day the dead wolves, if any, are
gathered for the sake of their skins.

"Sometimes a dozen or more wolves will be killed in this way in a single
night, but more frequently the hunters return empty-handed. Sometimes
the wolves come in great numbers, and with so much fierceness that the
hunters are obliged to flee for their lives--not always successfully.

"And now comes the wolf story I promised; it was told to me by a Russian
officer some years ago, and I will endeavor to give it as nearly as
possible in his own words. Imagine that he is talking to you as he
talked to me:

"'I was stopping for a part of the winter at the house of a
fellow-officer near Vilna, where he had a large estate. His name was
Selmanoff, and he was noted for his excellent horsemanship and his love
for all kinds of hunting sport.

"'The winter was one of the worst that had been known for a long while,
and two or three times we heard of travellers through the forest having
been pursued by wolves. Of course this led to a wolf hunt, which
Selmanoff proposed and I heartily accepted.

"We made our preparations, selecting a broad sledge open all around, and
formed of wicker-work, so that it was light as well as strong. We
carried two short, smooth-bore guns of large calibre--rifles are not
desirable on these hunts, as it is impossible to take accurate aim from
the moving sledge in the moonlight. The guns were breech-loaders, and
the charge was a heavy one of buck-shot and ball.

"We had two horses, young and powerful beasts, and the driver was one of
the best on the estate. After dining heartily we started about sunset
and drove some twenty miles or so into the middle of the forest, over a
good road which had been trodden by the peasants carrying their produce
to the market at the nearest town. Our decoy pig lay quietly among the
furs, and gave no sign of his presence save an occasional grunt of
dissatisfaction at his uncomfortable position.

[Illustration: A SIBERIAN WOLF.]

"'At the spot where the hunt was to begin we turned about and threw out
our bag of hay; then we twisted the pig's ear and he protested with a
loud squeal.

"'An answering howl came from the forest, and seemingly not a dozen
yards away. Another howl and another followed quickly, and then the air
was full of them.

"'In a minute or so a dark form was revealed on the snow behind us, and
making straight for the hay-bag. Selmanoff gave me the first fire, and I
took it. The wolf fell at my shot just as he was within a few yards of
the bag.


"'But another came, and then another, and in a few minutes there were a
dozen or more in sight. We shot them as fast as they came within range,
but the numbers did not diminish. The shooting and the howling of the
wolves frightened the horses, and the driver had a difficult task to
restrain them.

"'As the wolves increased in number, we saw we were in danger; the
extent of the pack was far beyond our expectation, and the
long-continued hunger of the brutes had made them very fierce. The
shooting of one after another did not seem to restrain their ardor in
the least; those that were untouched by our shot dashed madly ahead, and
showed a determination to appease their hunger at all hazards.

"'Selmanoff told the driver to increase the speed of the horses. He gave
the order not a moment too soon. Just as the horses were put to a
gallop, several wolves sprang from the forest at our side, and if we had
been going slowly they would have easily reached the sleigh. As it was,
we passed within a few feet of them, and their howls of angry
disappointment rang in our ears.

"'We cut the rope that held the hay-bag; it detained our pursuers only a
few moments, as they quickly discovered it was not what they wanted.

"'On they came again. We loaded and fired as fast as we could; there was
no occasion to take accurate aim, as the road behind us was fairly
filled with wolves, and it was quite sufficient to point our guns at the
dark mass revealed against the snow.

"'We had made six or eight miles on our return, when an additional
danger that threatened us was suggested by my friend. There was a sharp
angle in the road a mile or so ahead of us, and, at the pace we were
proceeding, the sledge would certainly be upset in going around the
angle. As we approached the point of peril we ceased firing, laid our
guns among the furs, ordered the speed of the horses to be slackened--no
easy thing to accomplish--and then both of us hung out as far as
possible on the inner side of the sledge, to keep it from going over.

"'As we made the turn the sledge was poised for some distance on one of
its runners, and if we had not taken all the precautions I have named,
it would have gone over. From this point was a clear and comparatively
straight run homeward of ten or twelve miles, and the horses were put to
their best work. They had no need of urging, as they knew the danger
that threatened as well as we did.

"'One horse stumbled and fell; he was up in an instant, but not before
the wolves had actually reached the sledge. One of them jumped directly
at it, but as he did so I pressed the muzzle of my gun to his head and
fired. Another sprang upon the fallen horse as he was rising to his
feet, but was shaken off before he obtained a good hold with his fangs.

"'The servants of the chateau heard us coming at full speed and our
rapid firing. They knew something was the matter, and as we neared the
house they began shouting and waving lanterns. The wolves slackened
their speed and gave up the chase, but not until we were within a
hundred yards of safety.


"'We dashed into the court-yard, the gates were closed, and then
Selmanoff and I, both fainting from exhaustion after our terrible ride,
were assisted from the sledge and into the house. You may be sure that
since then I have never wished to undertake a wolf-hunt of this sort.'"

"An excellent story," said Frank. "It is certainly better than those
wherein people are obliged to draw lots to see who shall be sacrificed
to the wolves in order that the others may escape."

"I agree with you," said Fred. "There's quite enough of the sensational
in having everybody get away safely after an exciting run, instead of
being eaten up by their pursuers. If only the wolves are killed it is
all right, as they are enemies of the human race, and do no good to any
one except to furnish skins for sleigh-robes, rugs, and other useful or
ornamental things."

It was agreed unanimously that the best known use for a wolf was to
convert his skin into something of the kind described. When this
decision had been reached, the conversation reverted to the sleigh-ride
through Siberia.

"We left the road in pursuit of wolves, while travelling westward from
Krasnoyarsk," said Mr. Hegeman.

"Jumping oukhabas," suggested one of the youths.

"Yes, that was it exactly. Well, we jumped oukhabas, rode over bare
ground, were caught in a snow-storm, and had a tough time generally till
we reached Tomsk, the next provincial capital. It takes its name from
the river Tom on which it stands, and is a prosperous place with about
twenty thousand inhabitants.

"As at Irkutsk, there are many wealthy merchants in the city, and also a
fair number of citizens who have made fortunes by mining for gold. The
houses are spacious and well-built, and there is a large 'gymnasium,'
or high-school, for boys, and an 'institute,' or high-school, for girls.
Many private teachers find employment in rich families who prefer
educating their children at home. Tomsk may be regarded as the most
important place in Siberia next to Irkutsk.

"There is a line of water communication between Tomsk and Tumen, a
thousand miles to the westward, but of course it is only available in
summer. Fifteen or twenty steamboats are engaged in the traffic; they
descend the Tom to the Ob, and the Ob to the Irtish, which they ascend
to the Tobol. Then they follow the Tobol to the Tura, and the Tura to
Tumen. With barges in tow, the journey occupies twelve days; without
them it is made in a week. Travellers are so few that it does not pay to
run boats for passengers alone, and all the boats in use when I was
there were mainly for freight purposes, and had limited space for
passengers. If you look at the map of Siberia, you will see that it
possesses an excellent system of water communication.

[Illustration: A SLIGHT MISHAP.]

"The only navigation of the Tom that I saw was by a native who had
fallen through a hole in the ice and just crawled out. He stood dripping
on the edge for a moment, as though uncertain what to do; then,
evidently realizing his danger, he sprang on his sledge and rode away,
to reach home before he was frozen solid.

"At the suggestion of my companion we decided to go to Barnaool, which
lies about three hundred miles south of the main road, and is the centre
of the Russian mining region of the Altai Mountains. We remained a day
at Tomsk, in order to see the Governor and obtain his permission to
leave our route, which was readily granted.

"We started in the evening, and forty-four hours later drove into
Barnaool and alighted at the hotel. An officer who left Tomsk a few
hours in advance of us, kindly notified the station-masters of our
approach, and thus caused them to have horses in readiness. If he had
not done so we should have been seriously delayed, as the regulations
require only three troikas to be kept at the stations on the side road,
while ten are maintained along the great route. For the last part of the
way the drivers took us to houses of their friends instead of going to
the post-stations. The peasants through Siberia have a good many horses,
and are glad to earn money in this way by transporting travellers.


"Barnaool is a prosperous town, depending partly upon the gold-mining
interest, and partly upon trade with the Kirghese and other people of
Central Asia. It has a Club, a Geographical Society, a large and
interesting museum, together with smelting-works, factories, and
machine-shops connected with the mining interests. Social conversation
has a good deal to do with gold and silver and other precious things,
and in summer many of the officials are absent at the mining
establishments in the mountains. The society is similar to that of
Irkutsk, and fully as accomplished and hospitable. They told me I was
the first American that had ever been in Barnaool, and I was most
heartily welcomed and made to feel at home.

"One day a gentleman invited me to call at his house, and said his
daughters were under the impression that Americans were black. 'I will
not undeceive them,' said he, 'and if they appear astonished when they
see you, you will understand it.'

"When I called at the house and was presented to the family, I was
immediately surrounded by three or four little girls, and they looked
with great curiosity at my face. Finally one of them sidled up to her
mother and said something, of which I caught the words, '_Nee chorney_'
("Not black")."

After Frank and Fred had laughed over this little anecdote, their
informant explained that the impression that Americans were black was
not confined to the family of this gentleman at the foot of the Altai
Mountains. He said he had been told of it on several occasions, not only
in Siberia but in European Russia; but it was almost always confined to
the lower class of people, or to children who had received their
information from servants.

"I had an odd experience of this impression about our national color a
few years ago," said Doctor Bronson. "It was in a small city of Austria
where strangers do not often penetrate, and our countrymen are not as
well known as in Vienna and Paris.

"I was making a purchase in a shop, and while chatting with the
saleswoman she asked my nationality. I told her I was an American. She
shook her head doubtingly, and said she thought I must be an Englishman,
as I 'didn't look like an American.'

"'Why don't I look like an American?' I asked.

"'There was an American gentleman here a few months ago,' said she, 'and
he was just as black as your hat.'

"I didn't follow the topic further," said Doctor Bronson, "but concluded
to let her have her own opinion about my national complexion."

"One of the most interesting things I saw at Barnaool," said Mr.
Hegeman, resuming the subject of conversation, "was the Government
Museum. I spent the greater part of a day there, and only had time to
glance over the admirable collection. There is a mining department which
contains models of all the machinery used in gold-mining, and in many
instances the machines themselves. Some of the machines are nearly a
hundred years old, and almost identical with those in use to-day. There
is a letter from the Empress Elizabeth, bearing her autograph, giving
directions about the working of the mines in her time; it is kept in an
ivory box on the table around which the Mining Board holds its sessions.
The first discoveries of precious metals in the Altai region were made
by one of the Demidoffs, who was sent there by Peter the Great. A
monument in the public square of Barnaool records his services and keeps
his memory green.

"There are models of mines similar to those in the Mining School at St.
Petersburg, so that the student can see what kind of work is before him.
They showed me a steam-engine which is said to have been made at
Barnaool in 1764, for the purpose of blowing the furnaces; the director
of the museum claimed that it was on the principle adopted by James Watt
in 1765, and therefore, he argued, the credit of the improvement upon
the old engine of Newcomen should be given to Siberia rather than to

[Illustration: ATTACKED BY A TIGER.]

"Very interesting was the collection of natural history, which included
the skins of two enormous tigers killed a few years before in one of the
Southern districts of Western Siberia. Both these tigers had histories,
and were supposed to be murderers; one of them fell after a long fight
in which he killed one of his assailants and wounded two others. The
other tiger had sprung upon a man who was riding one horse and leading
another; the man escaped by leaving the led horse for the tiger to
devour. He rode to the nearest village where he could obtain weapons and
assistance, and then returned to the locality of the attack. Carefully
creeping through the tall grass, he found the tiger busy over his meal;
every few moments he raised his head and paused to listen for the sound
of approaching footsteps, but so cautiously did the hunter proceed that
he was not heard.

"He managed to get within ten yards of the ferocious beast, and then by
a well-directed shot stretched him on the ground. The fame he obtained
for his prowess, and the money from the sale of the skin to the museum,
compensated him for the loss of the horse, but it must be remembered
that he ran a great risk in searching for the tiger as he did.


"There were in the museum some fine specimens (stuffed) of the bearcoot,
an enormous eagle of the Altai Mountains. It is considerably larger than
the American eagle, and strong enough to kill easily a deer or a wolf.
The Kirghese tame these eagles and employ them for hunting purposes,
just as hawks were employed in England centuries ago. A bearcoot will
swoop down upon a full-grown deer and kill him in a few minutes; a deer
running at full speed can be overtaken by a bearcoot in a course of
little more than a mile, when he has the advantage of fully a mile at
the start.

"Sometimes when a pack of wolves has run down a deer and killed it, a
pair of bearcoots will appear and take possession of the game. Two
bearcoots are a match for a dozen wolves, and the latter acknowledge
their inferiority by getting out of the way immediately.

"Some experiments on the power of the bearcoot to resist poison were
made at Barnaool shortly before my visit. Half a grain of curara (deadly
poison from Brazil) had no effect beyond increasing the bird's appetite.
Four grains of strychnine caused his feathers to tremble fifteen minutes
after swallowing the stuff, and five hours later threw him into
convulsions from which he recovered next day. A week later seven grains
of curara had no effect upon him for two days; then he went into
convulsions, which lasted several hours and ended with his death.

[Illustration: THE STEPPE IN SUMMER.]

"But we are staying too long at Barnaool, and must go to the road again.
From Barnaool we went northward and westward to Tumen over the great
Baraba Steppe; it is but a steppe from one place to the other, but the
distance is a thousand miles, and we were a week in making it. We were
caught in a _bouran_, or storm, analagous to the Texas norther or the
_bora_ of Trieste. The wind blew violently, the snow whirled in blinding
masses; the road was so buried that several times we lost our way, and
finally concluded it safest to wait at a station till the storm was
over. Happily we were not long delayed.

"In summer these _bourans_ or _ouragans_ (a word which is probably of
the same origin as _hurricane_) are sometimes so severe that they sweep
dry the bed of a small river in a few minutes, and create large clouds
of dust as they pass over the land. The one we encountered was from the
south, and therefore warm. A northern _bouran_ in winter is something
terrific, as the thermometer goes very low and the intense cold added to
the wind is destructive to animal life. Men and horses have been lost in
these _bourans_, and I was cautioned not to venture to face them if I
could avoid doing so.

"Many Tartars live on the Baraba Steppe, but we saw few of them, as we
changed horses at the houses of the Russian peasants. There was formerly
a very small population of Russians on the steppe between Tumen and
Tomsk; the Governor-general of Siberia persuaded Catherine the Great to
give him all the conscripts of a levy instead of sending them to the
army. He settled them with their families in villages along the route
across the steppe, and the present population consists of the
descendants of these people, together with exiles and voluntary
emigrants of the present century.

"Grain is produced in abundance on the steppe. Wheat, rye, and oats are
often as low as ten or twenty cents a bushel, as there is no market for
produce beyond what can be sold to travellers. A railway is one of the
hopes of the future, and when it comes the steppe will be prosperous. A
great deal of hemp and flax is raised there; I bought about sixty feet
of half-inch rope for thirty cents at one station, and afterwards
learned that I paid too much. Our harness was constantly breaking, and
every few days it was necessary to buy a quantity of rope for purposes
of repair. A Russian mujik will perform wonders of harness-mending if
you give him plenty of rope.

"I will not weary you with describing in detail the rest of the long
sleigh-ride. Through Tumen we went without delay, and from that place to
Ekaterineburg we had no incident of consequence. At Ekaterineburg we
stopped a day, and passed several hours among the shops devoted to the
sale of semi-precious stones, which are cut into all sorts of fantastic
shapes. The town is as famous for these things as is Cologne for the
perfumed spirit that bears its name, Naples for coral, or Benares for
brass-ware. More than a thousand workmen are engaged by private
employers or by the Government in this industry. The _Granilnoi Fabric_,
or Government Lapidary Establishment, was closed at the time of my
visit, which happened during Christmas week. I understand it has since
been sold, and is now in private hands.


"Itinerant dealers in the streets offer the cut crystals to strangers,
and the waiters at the hotels have stocks of them for sale. The
collections at the dealers are a bewildering array of amethyst, beryl,
topaz, tourmaline, chalcedony, jasper, aquamarine, malachite, quartz,
and other stones. There are seals, paper-weights, beads, vases,
statuettes, brooches, buttons, charms, and an endless variety of
ornamental things.

"There were imitations of leaves, flowers, and grapes tastefully
arranged together, and formed of differently colored stones; there were
miniature caves and grottos in which the stones were artistically
grouped; and there were busts of the Emperor of Russia and other high
personages in the Empire, together with busts of the reigning sovereigns
of Europe. Learning that I was an American, the proprietor of one
establishment showed me a half-finished bust of President Lincoln cut in
topaz and about six inches high.

"We left Ekaterineburg one evening, and about midnight passed the ridge
of the Ural Mountains and entered European Russia. The Urals at this
point are a succession of low hills covered with fir-trees, and as you
look at the range from Ekaterineburg you would not suspect you were in
the neighborhood of mountains. North and south of this point the
mountains become more steep, but they nowhere attain to great heights.
All this part of the Urals is rich in minerals; there are extensive
mines of iron, copper, and gold, those of iron being of the greatest,
and the gold-mines of the least importance.

"A very large part of all the iron used in Russia comes from the Urals,
and the same is the case with the copper. The copper-money of the Empire
is coined at the _Moneta Fabric_, or mint, at Ekaterineburg, and from an
immense foundery a few miles away comes the Russian sheet-iron which is
so popular in America for the manufacture of parlor stoves and
stove-pipe. The Urals contain the only mines where malachite is found
in quantities of any consequence, and when you look at a piece of this
beautiful oxide of copper you can be almost absolutely certain that it
came from the neighborhood of Ekaterineburg. A mass of malachite
weighing more than four hundred tons was found there about the middle of
the present century, the largest single piece ever discovered.


"At the boundary between European and Asiatic Russia there is a stone
monument with the word EUROPE on one side and ASIA on the other. It is
only seventeen hundred feet above the level of the sea, and was erected
to commemorate the visit of the Emperor Alexander I. to his Siberian
dominions. I stepped from the sleigh and stood for a few moments with a
foot in either continent, but though I made careful observation I could
not discover any difference between the soil, climate, productions,
manners, customs, or social conditions of the Occident and Orient of the
Old World.


"Down the Western slope of the Urals we drove as fast as our horses
could carry us, making brief halts to change horses at the stations,
jumping oukhabas that threatened to shake us and our vehicles to pieces,
repelling the advances of beggars that solicited us at every
stopping-place, riding sometimes for many miles at a time between double
rows of birch-trees which the Government has planted to mark the roads
and prevent the snow from drifting, and now and then coming temporarily
to grief through the breaking of our harness. We found the stations more
numerous and more commodious than in Asiatic Russia, the country more
densely peopled, and as the days of fasting had given way to days of
feasting, we found an abundance of provisions wherever we stopped. We
carried now only our tea and sugar, as everything else was easy to

"We passed through Perm at night and in a snow-storm, and my
recollections of the place are consequently few. From Kazan my road lay
along the frozen surface of the Volga to Nijni Novgorod, where the
sleigh-ride was to terminate.

"Sometimes the sleigh was left on the ice of the river while the drivers
went to the station on the bank to change horses, and sometimes it was
driven up the sloping road and then down again. Going up was all right,
but descending was occasionally perilous.


"The sleigh manifested a tendency to go faster than the horses; there
was usually no protecting wall or rail at the outer edge of the slope,
and more than once we narrowly escaped being pitched down a steep cliff
of frozen earth to the solid ice fifty or a hundred feet below. At such
times the way of safety lay in forcing the horses ahead, in the hope
that they would overcome the sideling motion of the sleigh. As there was
a chance that they might stumble, and throw horses, sleigh, passengers,
baggage, and driver all in a heap, the alternative was nearly as bad as
the preliminary danger.


"On the 6th of January we passed several places where baptizings through
the ice were in progress. This is one of the days that the Church
consecrates to baptismal ceremonies, and throughout the Empire many
thousands of devout worshippers are plunged into the icy water. We did
not stop to witness the ceremony, but caught a glimpse of a priest
reading from a book, while another was holding by the hands a man whose
head just rose above the surface of the water. As fast as the baptized
ones emerged from the hole through the ice they ran rapidly to the
village, a short distance away.

"There at last are the domes of Nijni Novgorod, and there I say farewell
to my sleigh.

[Illustration: END OF THE SLEIGH-RIDE.]

"I have passed two hundred and nine stations, with as many changes of
horses and drivers. More than seven hundred horses have been attached to
my sleigh, and drawn me over a road of all degrees of goodness and
badness. In forty days from Irkutsk I have spent sixteen in the towns
and villages on the way. I have slept twenty-six nights in my sleigh,
with the thermometer varying all the way from 35° above zero to 44°
below, and have passed through four severe storms and perhaps a dozen
small ones.

"Including the detour to Barnaool, my sleigh-ride was thirty-six hundred
miles long. From Stratensk around by Kiachta to Irkutsk I travelled
about fourteen hundred miles in wheeled vehicles, so that altogether my
land journey from the steamboat at Stratensk to the railway at Nijni
covers a distance of five thousand miles.

"And now," said Mr. Hegeman, in conclusion, "if you want to cross
Siberia you can do it more easily than when I made the journey. From
Perm, which you can reach by steamboat in summer, there is a railway to
Ekaterineburg, and it will shortly be finished to Tumen, if it is not
already.[6] From Tumen take a steamboat to Tomsk, if you don't mind
roughing it a little, and from Tomsk your land journey need not be
terrifying. You can easily make out the rest of the route by taking my
own in reverse. Whether you descend the Amoor or cross the Desert of
Gobi to Peking, you will have enough of novelty to compensate you for
the fatigue."

[6] Since the above was written, the author has received a letter from
M. Nicolai Ostrowski, Director of the Ural Railway, which says, "Since
October 1, 1878, Perm and Ekaterineburg have been united by the Ural
Railway. Since January 1, 1886, trains have been running regularly
between Ekaterineburg and Tumen. A line is under construction from
Samara to Ufa, which will probably be extended to Ekaterineburg or
Tcheliabinsk, to form a direct line in the direction of Omsk, the
capital of Occidental Siberia."

The youths thanked Mr. Hegeman most heartily for the entertaining
account he had given them of his journey through Siberia. Doctor Bronson
added his acknowledgment to that of the youths, and the thoughts of the
party were again turned to what was occurring around them.



While our friends were listening to Mr. Hegeman's account of the journey
through Siberia, the boat was continuing steadily on her course down the
Volga. One of her passengers was a Russian count on the way to his
estate, from which he had been absent for nearly two years. He had
notified his people of his coming, and when the steamer stopped at the
village where he was to land, there was quite an assemblage ready to
meet him.

Doctor Bronson ascertained that they would remain at the landing an hour
or more, as there was a considerable amount of freight to be put on
shore. The party prepared to spend the time on land, and quite
unexpectedly Frank and Fred were treated to a curious and interesting
spectacle. It was the welcome of the count by his people, in accordance
with Russian custom.

As he ascended the bank to the village, he was met by a procession of
men, women, and children. It was headed by four venerable men with long,
flowing beards, and dressed in the sheepskin coats with which we have
been made familiar. One of the men in front carried a dish on which was
a loaf of bread, and his comrade had another dish filled with salt. One
man of the second couple carried a jug or pitcher of water. The Doctor
explained to the youths that the presentation of bread, salt, and water
was a ceremonial of Russian hospitality of very ancient date.


The men bowed low as they approached the count; on his part he urged
them to stand upright and regard him as their friend. They halted
directly in front of him, and then the bearer of the bread spoke in
dignified tones as follows:

"We come, most noble master, to give the welcome of our village, and
present you such food as we can offer, according to the ancient custom
of our country."

In a few kindly words the count thanked them for their hospitality, and
wished that their lives would be prosperous and happy. Then he cut a
slice out of the loaf of bread and ate it, after dipping it in the salt.
Next he drank a glass of the water, pouring it from the pitcher with his
own hands. When he had finished he again thanked the men for their
hospitality, and asked them to give his good wishes to all the people.
This ended the ceremony, and the count was then at liberty to enter the
carriage that stood waiting, and ride to his house, some distance back
from the river.

Doctor Bronson explained that bread and salt have a prominent place in
Russian ceremonials, not only of welcome, but at weddings and on other
occasions. The bread is invariably the rye or black bread of the
country, and the guest to whom it is offered would show great rudeness
if he declined to partake of it. A knife lies on the top of the loaf;
the guest himself cuts the loaf, and must be careful to dip the slice in
the salt before placing it in his mouth.

In their descent of the Volga, our friends passed a succession of
villages on either bank, and occasionally a town or city of importance.
The day after leaving Kazan they stopped at Simbirsk, the capital of the
province of the same name, and the centre of a considerable trade. It is
on the right bank of the river, and has a population of twenty-five or
thirty thousand.

About a hundred miles farther down the Volga is Samara, which generally
resembles Simbirsk, but is larger, and possesses a more extensive
commerce. A railway extends from Samara to Orenburg, on the frontier of
Siberia. On the other side of the Volga Samara is connected with the
railway system which has its centre at Moscow. With railway and river to
develop its commerce, it is not surprising that the place is prosperous,
and has grown rapidly since the middle of the century.

Mr. Hegeman told the youths that many Swiss and Germans were settled
along this part of the Volga, and he pointed out some of their villages
as the boat steamed on her course. The Government allows them perfect
freedom in religious matters, and they have an excellent system of
schools which they manage at their own expense and in their own way. In
other respects they are under the laws of the Empire, and their industry
and enterprise have had a beneficial effect upon their Muscovite
neighbors. The first of these settlers came here more than a hundred
years ago; their descendants speak both German and Russian, and form
quite an important part of the population.

Larger than Simbirsk and Samara rolled into one is Saratov, about a
hundred miles below the city we have just described. It contains nearly
a hundred thousand inhabitants; its houses are well built and spacious,
and its streets are unusually broad, even for Russia. Our friends took a
carriage-ride through the city, visited several of its sixteen or
eighteen churches, and passed an hour or more in one of the factories
devoted to the manufacture of leather goods.

Frank and Fred thought the churches were fully equal to those of any
other Russian city they had seen, with the exception of a few of the
most celebrated, and they greatly regretted their inability to make a
fuller inspection of the place. But they consoled themselves with the
reflection that they had seen the principal cities of the Empire, and
the smaller ones could not offer many new and distinctive features.

In the province of Saratov they were on the border of the region of the
Don Cossacks, and at some of the landings they had glimpses of this
primitive people. Their country did not seem to be well cultivated, and
Doctor Bronson told the youths that the Don Cossacks were more noted for
skill in horsemanship than for patient industry. They prefer the raising
of cattle, sheep, and horses to the labor of the field, and though many
of them have accumulated considerable wealth they have little
inclination for luxurious living.

[Illustration: SHOEING AN OX.]

An amusing scene at one of the landings was the Cossack method of
shoeing an ox. Frank thus describes it:

"The poor beast was flung upon his side and firmly held down by half a
dozen men, while his legs were tied together in a bunch. Then he was
turned upon his back, so that his feet were uppermost, giving the
blacksmith an excellent opportunity to perform his work. The
blacksmith's 'helper' sat upon the animal's head to keep him from rising
or struggling; the unhappy ox indicated his discomfort and alarm by a
steady moaning, to which the operators gave not the least attention.

[Illustration: KNIFE-WHIP.]

"At a shop in one of the villages we bought some souvenirs. Among them
was a whip with a short handle and a braided lash, with a flat piece of
leather at the end. The leather flap makes a great noise when brought
down upon a horse's sides, but does not seem to hurt him much; crackers,
like those on American and English whips, seem to be unknown here, at
any rate we did not see any.

"The handle of the whip is sometimes utilized as the sheath of a knife.
The one we bought contained a knife with a long blade, and reminded us
of the sword-canes of more civilized countries."

"We stopped at Tsaritsin," said Fred, in his journal, "and had a short
run on shore. At this point the Volga is only forty miles from the river
Don, which empties into the Sea of Azof, and is navigable, in time of
high water, about eight hundred miles from its mouth. There is a railway
connecting the rivers, and also a canal; the latter is much longer than
the railway, and was made by utilizing the channels of some little
streams tributary to the rivers, and connecting them by a short cut.

"The Don is connected with the Dneiper as well as with the Volga; the
three rivers form an important part of the great net-work of water
communication with which Russia is supplied. The Dneiper enters the
Black Sea at Kherson, near Odessa; next to the Volga it is the largest
river of European Russia, and flows through a fertile country. It is
about twelve hundred miles long, and its navigation was formerly much
obstructed by rapids and other natural obstacles. Many of these
hinderances have been removed by the Government, but the river has lost
some of its commercial importance since the railways were established.

"From Tsaritsin to Astrachan there is not much of interest, as the
country is generally low and flat, and the towns and villages are few in
number. Much of the country bordering the river is a marsh, which is
overflowed at the periods of the annual floods, and therefore is of
little value except for the pasturage of cattle.

"As we approached the mouth of the Volga we found the river divided into
many channels; in this respect it resembles the Nile, the Ganges, the
Mississippi, and other great watercourses of the globe. On one of these
channels the city of Astrachan is built. It is not on the mainland, but
on an island. Another channel passes not far from the one by which we
came, and maintains a parallel course for a considerable distance.


"Astrachan is the most cosmopolitan city we have seen in Russia, even
more so than Kazan. The character of its seventy or eighty thousand
inhabitants may be understood when I tell you that it has thirty-seven
Greek churches, two Roman Catholic, two Armenian, and one Protestant,
and is the seat of a Greek archbishop and an Armenian bishop. Then it
has an Indian temple, fifteen mosques, and a Chinese pagoda. It has a
botanical garden, an ecclesiastical school, schools of all the grades
peculiar to the large towns of Russia, a naval academy, and I don't know
how many other institutions. Books are printed here in Russian, Tartar,
and other languages, and as you walk through the bazaars your ears are
greeted by nearly all the tongues of Europe and Asia.

"To get at the cosmopolitan peculiarities of the city we were obliged to
go through narrow and dirty streets, which somewhat marred the pleasure
of our visit. In this respect Astrachan is more Oriental than Russian;
its history dates beyond the time of the Russian occupation of the lower
Volga, and therefore we must expect it to have Oriental features in

"In commercial matters Astrachan is important, as it stands between
Europe and Central Asia, and exchanges their goods. Great quantities of
raw and embroidered silks, drugs, rhubarb, hides, sheepskins, tallow,
and other Asiatic products come here, and in return for them the
Russians dispose of cotton and other manufactures suited to the wants of
their Kirghese and Turcoman subjects or neighbors.

"We are told that there are more than a hundred manufacturing
establishments in Astrachan. Vast quantities of salt are made here or in
the immediate vicinity, and the fisheries of the Volga and the Caspian
Sea, which is only twenty miles away, are among the most important in
the world. Unfortunately the harbor is so much obstructed by sand that
only vessels of light draught can reach it from the Caspian. Since the
opening of the railway connecting the Caspian with the Black Sea, much
of the commerce which formerly came to Astrachan is diverted to the new

"We landed from the steamer and were taken to a hotel which promised
very poorly, and fully sustained its promise. But any lodging was better
than none at all, and as we were to remain only long enough to get away,
it didn't much matter. We breakfasted on the steamer just before leaving
it, and had no use for the hotel for several hours.

[Illustration: A TARTAR KHAN.]

"In our sight-seeing we went to a Tartar _khan_, or inn, a large
building two stories high and built around a court-yard, in accordance
with the Tartar custom. The court-yard receives wagons and horses, while
the rooms that front upon it are rented to merchants and others who
desire them. The master of the place will supply food to those who
expressly ask for it, and pay accordingly, but he is not expected to do

"Travellers pick up their food at the restaurants in the neighborhood,
and either bring it to their quarters or devour it at the place of
purchase. A corridor runs around each story of the khan, and the rooms
open upon this corridor.

[Illustration: TARTAR POSTILIONS.]

"Under one of the stair-ways there is a room for the Tartar postilions
who care for the horses of travellers. With their round caps, loose
garments, and long pipes they formed a picturesque group around a fire
where one of their number was watching the boiling of a pot which
probably contained their dinner.


"In the last few years Astrachan has developed quite an important trade
in petroleum, in consequence of the working of the wells at Baku, on the
western shore of the Caspian. Steamers and sailing-vessels bring it here
in immense quantities, and from Astrachan it is shipped by the Volga to
all parts of Russia, and also to Germany and other countries. There are
several machine-shops for the repair of steamships, steamboats, and
barges engaged in the oil trade. The oil business of the Caspian region
is growing very rapidly, and promises to make a serious inroad upon the
petroleum industry of the United States.


"There is a line of steamers on the Caspian Sea for the transport of
petroleum; they are constructed with tanks in which the oil is carried
in bulk, and their engines are run by petroleum instead of coal. Their
accommodations for passengers are limited, but as the voyage is made in
a couple of days we were not particular, and took places on the first
vessel that offered.

"Owing to the shallowness of the lower Volga the oil-steamers, excepting
some of the smaller ones, do not come to Astrachan, but transfer their
cargoes at 'Diavet Foot' (Nine Feet), which is so called from its depth
of water. Diavet Foot is eighty miles from Astrachan, and on a shoal
which spreads out like a fan beyond the mouth of the Volga. A small
steamer having several barges in tow took us to the shoal, where we were
transferred to the _Koran_, a handsome steamer two hundred and fifty-two
feet long and twenty-eight feet broad. There was a large fleet of
river-boats, barges, and sea-steamers at Diavet Foot, and we watched
with much interest the process of transferring kerosene from the
tank-steamers which had brought it from Baku to the barges for
conveyance up the river."

An English gentleman, who was connected with the petroleum works at
Baku, kindly gave the youths the following information:


"There are nearly a hundred steamers on the Caspian engaged in the oil
traffic. They are of iron or steel, average about two hundred and fifty
feet in length by twenty-seven or twenty-eight in breadth, and carry
from seven hundred to eight hundred tons (two hundred thousand to two
hundred and fifty thousand gallons) of petroleum in their tanks. Their
engines are of one hundred and twenty horse-power, and make a speed of
ten knots an hour; they use petroleum for fuel, and it is estimated that
their running expenses are less than half what they would be if coal
were burned instead of oil. The steamers were built in Sweden or
England, and brought through from St. Petersburg by means of the canals
connecting the Volga with the Neva. Some of the largest steamers were
cut in two for the passage of the canals, the sections being united at
Astrachan or Baku.

"The oil-steamers for river work are from sixty to one hundred and fifty
feet long; they are fitted with tanks, like the sea-steamers, and are
powerful enough for towing tank-barges in addition to the transport of
their own loads. They run from Diavet Foot to Tsaritsin, four hundred
miles up the Volga, the first point where there is railway connection to
Western Europe. Some of them proceed to Kazan, Nijni Novgorod, and other
points on the upper Volga, and also through the canals to St.
Petersburg, but the greater part of them land their cargoes at

"When you get to Baku you will see how rapidly the loading of the
steamers is performed. When a steamer is ready for her cargo, an
eight-inch pipe pours the kerosene into her tanks, and fills her in
about four hours. Then she starts for Diavet Foot, where the oil is
pumped into the river steamers and barges; she fills her tanks with
fresh water, partly in order to ballast her properly, and partly because
water is very scarce at Baku, and then starts on her return. Five or six
days make a round trip, including the loading and unloading at either
end of the route.

"At Baku the water is pumped into reservoirs, to be used in the
refineries or for irrigating the soil in the vicinity of the works, and
then the steamer is ready for her load again. From Tsaritsin the oil is
carried in tank-cars similar to those you have in America. I can't say
exactly how many tank-cars are in use, but think the number is not much
below three thousand. Twenty-five cars make an oil-train, and these
oil-trains are in constant circulation all over the railways of Russia
and Western Europe."

Frank asked if the enterprise was conducted by the Government or by

"It is in the hands of private parties," said the gentleman, "who are
generally organized into companies. The leading company was founded by
two Swedes, Nobel Brothers, who have spent most of their lives in
Russia, and are famous for their ingenuity and enterprise. The petroleum
industry of Baku was practically developed by them; they originated the
idea of transporting the Baku petroleum in bulk, and the first
tank-steamer on the Caspian was built by them in 1879, according to the
plans of the elder brother.


"Bear in mind that the Volga is frozen for four months in the year, at
the very time when kerosene is most in demand for light. Nobel Brothers
arranged for a system of depots throughout Russia and Germany, where oil
could be stored in summer for distribution in winter. The largest of
these depots is at Orel, and there are four other large depots at St.
Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, and Saratov.

"The depot at Orel can receive eighteen million gallons, and the four
other large depots about three million gallons each. The smaller depots,
together with the depot at Tsaritsin, make a total storage capacity of
between fifty and sixty million gallons of petroleum available for use
when the Volga is frozen and traffic suspended.

[Illustration: VIEW IN AN OIL REGION.]

"All this was done before the completion of the railway between the
Caspian and Black seas. The line from Batoum, on the Black Sea, by way
of Tiflis to Baku, on the Caspian, was opened in 1883, and immediately
about two hundred tank-cars were set to carrying oil to where it could
be loaded into steamers for transportation to the ports of the
Mediterranean and to England. A pipe-line similar to what you have in
America to connect your oil regions with the seaboard, will probably be
established before long between Baku and Batoum; the oil will be pumped
from Baku to the crest of the pass through the Caucasus Mountains, and
from there it will run by gravity like a mountain stream down to the
shores of the Black Sea. There it can be loaded into tank-steamers, or
placed in barrels for distribution wherever it can find a market.


"Perhaps I may be building castles in the air," said the gentleman,
"since I am not of your nationality, but I look upon the European market
for American petroleum as doomed to destruction. The Baku petroleum has
driven your American product from Russia, and is rapidly driving it from
the markets of Germany, France, and Austria. We think it quite equal to
your petroleum, and in some respects superior. American oilmen claim
that theirs is by far the better article, and as each side can bring the
opinions of scientists to prove the correctness of its claim, the
question resolves itself into one of cheapness of production and
transportation. For the market of Europe and Asia we think we have a
great advantage in being nearer to it. It is as far from Batoum to
England as from New York, and therefore you may be able to supply Great
Britain with petroleum, by reason of the cost of transportation.

"Two plans are under consideration for overcoming the disadvantages of
the closing of the Volga route by ice for one-third of the year. Look on
the map of Russia and see the position of Vladikavkaz at the foot of the
Caucasus Mountains. The railway reaches that point, and it has been
proposed to extend it to a connection with the Batoum-Baku line at
Tiflis, a distance of one hundred and ten miles. The line would be very
costly, as it must run through the Caucasus range; a longer but less
expensive line would be from Vladikavkaz to Petrovsk, on the shore of
the Caspian Sea, half way between Baku and the mouth of the Volga. It
could be reached in a day by the tank-steamers from Baku, and
communication is open for the entire year.

"Since either of these lines would be useful for strategic purposes as
well as for commerce, it is probable that one or both of them will be
built within the next few years. They would be useful for the supply of
Russia and Germany in the winter season, and render the enormous storage
depots less necessary than they are at present.

[Illustration: A SPOUTING WELL.]

"The Baku petroleum is utilized not only for making kerosene, but for
the manufacture of lubricating oils and for liquid fuel for steam-ship,
railway, and other purposes. The oil refuse is burned on the steamer,
and railways; for the last two or three years it has been employed by
the Tsaritsin-Griazi Railway Company in its locomotives, where it has
completely taken the place of coal. It is the only fuel used by the
Trans-Caucasian railway from Baku to Batoum and Poti, and wherever it
has been tried in competition with coal brought from great distances, it
has been adopted. I wonder you don't make use of it in America."


Doctor Bronson suggested that probably the reason why liquid fuel had
not taken the place of coal in America, was in consequence of the
relative prices of the two substances. "In Russia," said he, "coal is
dear; in America it is cheap, and our coal-fields are exhaustless. Three
hundred thousand tons of coal have been carried annually from England to
the Black Sea; it retails there for ten or twelve dollars a ton, which
would be an enormous price in America. Now what will your petroleum fuel
cost at Batoum?"

"The present price," said his informant, "is twenty-six English
shillings (nearly seven dollars) a ton. Weight for weight, it is cheaper
than coal; one ton of it will make as much steam as two tons of coal,
and thus you see there is an enormous saving in cost of fuel. Then add
the saving in wages of stokers, the additional space that can be given
to cargo, and the gain in cleanliness, as the liquid fuel makes neither
smoke nor cinders.

"The Russian Government is making experiments at Sebastopol with a view
to adopting _astaki_, as petroleum refuse is called, as the fuel for its
men-of-war. I predict that as fast as the furnaces can be changed you
will see all steamers on the Black Sea burning the new substance instead
of the old. Come with me and see how the liquid fuel works."

"He led the way to the engine-room of the steamer," said Frank, in his
journal, "and asked the engineer to show us how the machinery was

"The process is exceedingly simple. Small streams of petroleum are
caught by jets of steam and turned into vapor; the vapor burns beneath
the boilers and makes the steam, and that is all. The flow of steam and
oil is regulated by means of stopcocks, and steam can be made rapidly or
slowly as may be desired.

"Our friend told us that a fire of wood, cotton-waste, or some other
combustible is used to get up steam at starting. This is done under a
small boiler distinct from the main ones, and it supplies steam for the
'pulverizer,' as the petroleum furnace is called.

"When steam is on the main boilers the small one is shut off and the
fire beneath it is extinguished. Even this preliminary fire is rendered
unnecessary by a newly invented furnace in which a quantity of
hydro-carbon gas is kept stored and in readiness. We were told that the
action of the pulverizer is so simple that after the engineers have
adjusted the flame at starting and put the machinery in operation, they
do not give them any attention till the end of the voyage. One stoker,
or fireman, is sufficient to watch all the furnaces of a ship and keep
them properly supplied with astaki."

A good many additional details were given which we have not space to
present. The study of the petroleum question occupied the attention of
the youths during the greater part of the voyage, and almost before
realizing it they were entering the Bay of Baku, and making ready to go
on shore.

Frank and Fred were astonished at what they saw before them. Baku is on
a crescent-shaped bay, and for a distance of seven or eight miles along
its shores there is a fringe of buildings on the land, and a fringe of
shipping on the water. Thirty or forty piers jut from the land into the
bay; some of the piers were vacant, while others had each from three to
half a dozen steamers receiving their cargoes or waiting their turns to
be filled. Not less than fifty steamers were in port, and there were
several hundred sailing craft of various sizes and descriptions riding
at anchor or tied up at the piers. It was a busy scene--the most active
one that had greeted their eyes since leaving the fair at Nijni

They landed at one of the piers, and were taken to a comfortable hotel
facing the water, and not far away from it. The youths observed that the
population was a cosmopolitan one, quite equal to that of the
fair-grounds of Nijni; Russians, Armenians, Turcomans, Kirghese,
Persians, Greeks, all were there together with people of other races
and tribes they were unable to classify. The streets were filled with
carts and carriages in great number, and they found on inquiry that
almost any kind of vehicle they desired could be had with little delay.

Doctor Bronson and his young friends had visited the petroleum region of
their own country, and very naturally desired to see its formidable
rival. They learned that the wells were eight or ten miles from Baku,
and as it was late in the day when they arrived, their visit was
postponed till the following morning.

Securing a competent guide they engaged a carriage, and early the next
day left the hotel for the interesting excursion. We will quote Frank's
account of what they saw:


"We found the road by no means the best in the world," said the youth,
"as no effort is made to keep it in repair, and the track is through a
desert. On our right as we left Baku is the _Chorney Gorod_, or Black
Town, which contains the refineries; it reminded us of Pittsburg, with
its many chimneys and the cloud of smoke that hung over it. Then we
crossed the track of the railway, and the lines of pipe that supply the
refineries with oil. Right and left of us all over the plain there are
reservoirs and pools of petroleum; there are black spots which indicate
petroleum springs, and white spots denoting the presence of salt lakes.
By-and-by we see a whole forest of derricks, which tells us we are
nearing Balakhani, the centre of the oil-wells.


"Passing on our left the end of a salt lake five or six miles long, we
enter the region covered by these derricks, and our guide takes us to
the Droojba well, which spouted a stream of petroleum three hundred feet
high when it was opened. Two million gallons of petroleum were thrown
out daily for a fortnight or more from this one well, and two months
after it was opened it delivered two hundred and fifty thousand gallons
daily. Our guide said it ruined its owners and drove them into

"You will wonder, as we did, how a discovery that ought to have made a
fortune for its owners did exactly the reverse. We asked the guide, and
he thus explained it:

"'The Droojba Company had only land enough for a well, and none for
reservoirs. The oil flowed upon the grounds of other people, and became
their property. Some of it was caught on waste ground that belonged to
nobody, but the price had fallen so low that the company did not realize
from it enough to pay the claims of those whose property was damaged by
the débris that flowed from the well along with the petroleum. In this
region considerable sand comes with the oil. The sandy product of the
Droojba well was very large, and did a great deal of damage. It covered
buildings and derricks, impeded workings, filled the reservoirs of other
companies or individuals, and made as much havoc generally as a heavy


"The process of boring a well is very much the same as in America, and
does not merit a special description. The diameter of the bore is larger
than in America; it varies from ten to fourteen inches, and some of the
wells have a diameter of twenty inches. Oil is found at a depth of from
three hundred to eight hundred feet. Every year the shallow wells are
exhausted, and new borings are made to greater depths; they are nearly
always successful, and therefore, though the petroleum field around
Balakhani is very large, the oil speculators show no disposition to go
far from the original site. To do so would require a large outlay for
pipe-lines, or other means of transporting the product, and as long as
the old spot holds out they prefer to stick to it.


"Our guide said there were about five hundred wells at Balakhani; there
are twenty-five thousand wells in America, but it is claimed that they
do not yield as much oil in the aggregate as the wells in this region.

"From the wells the oil is conducted into reservoirs, which are nothing
more than pits dug in the earth, or natural depressions with banks of
sand raised around them. Here the sand in the oil is allowed to settle;
when it has become clear enough for use the crude petroleum is pumped
into iron tanks, and then into the pipe-lines that carry it to the
refineries in Chorney Gorod.

"Some of the ponds of oil are large enough to be called lakes, and there
are great numbers of them scattered over the ground of Balakhani. The
iron cisterns or tanks are of great size; the largest of them is said to
have a capacity of two million gallons.

"There is no hotel, not even a restaurant, at Balakhani, and we should
have gone hungry had it not been for the caution of the hotel-keeper,
who advised us to take a luncheon with us. The ride and the exertion of
walking among the wells gave us an appetite that an alderman would
envy, and we thoroughly enjoyed the cold chicken, bread, and grapes
which we ate in the carriage before starting back to the town. We
reached the hotel without accident, though considerably shaken up by the
rough road and the energetic driving of our Tartar coachman."

While Frank was busy with his description, Fred was looking up the
history of the oil-wells of Baku. Here is what he wrote concerning them:


"For twenty-five hundred years Baku has been celebrated for its
fire-springs, and for a thousand years it has supplied surrounding
nations and people with its oil. From the time of Zoroaster (about 600
B.C.) it has been a place of pilgrimage for the Guebres, or
Fire-worshippers, and they have kept their temples here through all the
centuries down to the present day. At Surukhani (about eight miles from
Baku and four or five from Balakhani) there are some temples of very
ancient date; they stand above the mouths of gas-wells, and for twenty
centuries and more the Fire-worshippers have maintained the sacred flame
there without once allowing it to become extinct. On the site of Baku
itself there was for centuries a temple in which the sacred fire was
maintained by priests of Zoroaster until about A.D. 624. The Emperor
Heraclius, in his war against the Persians, extinguished the fires and
destroyed the temple.

"Since the eighth century, and perhaps earlier, the oil has been an
article of commerce in Persia and other Oriental countries. Read what
Marco Polo wrote about it in the thirteenth century:

"'On the confines of Georgine there is a fountain from which oil springs
in great abundance, inasmuch as a hundred ship-loads might be taken from
it at one time. This oil is not good to use with food, but 'tis good to
burn, and is used also to anoint camels that have the mange. People come
from vast distances to fetch it, for in all countries there is no other

"It is probable that the good Marco means camel-loads rather than
ship-loads--at least that is the opinion of most students of the
subject. The fire-temple of the Guebres is a walled quadrangle, with an
altar in the centre, where the fire is kept; the sides of the quadrangle
contain cells where the priests and attendants live, and in former times
there were frequently several thousands of pilgrims congregated there.
We were told that the place would not repay a visit, and therefore we
have not gone there, as we are somewhat pressed for time, and the
journey is a fatiguing one.

[Illustration: A BURNING TANK.]

"For a considerable space around the temple there are deep fissures in
the ground whence the gas steadily escapes. Before the Russians
occupied the country there was an annual sacrifice by the
Fire-worshippers. A young man was thrown into one of the fissures, where
he perished, though some writers assert that he leaped voluntarily,
through the persuasion of the priests.

"Though famous through many centuries, and carried thousands of miles
east and west for purposes of illumination, the oil of Baku was never
gathered in large quantities until the present century, and the
exploitation of the oil-fields on a grand scale is an affair of the last
twenty years.

[Illustration: A FALL IN OIL.]

"In 1820 it was estimated that the yield of the Baku oil-wells was about
four thousand tons of naphtha, of which the greater part was sent to
Persia. The annual production remained about the same until 1860, when
it was 5484 tons; in 1864 it was 8700 tons; in 1870, 27,500; and in
1872, 24,800 tons. Down to that time the Government held a monopoly of
the oil-fields, and levied a royalty for operating them. In 1872 the
monopoly was removed, and the lands were offered for sale or long lease.

[Illustration: A RISE IN OIL.]

"There was a rush of speculators to the oil fields, stimulated by the
knowledge of what had been accomplished in America. Sixty-four thousand
tons were produced in 1873, 94,000 in 1875, 242,000 in 1877, 420,000 in
1880, 800,000 in 1883, and over 1,000,000 tons in 1884. In 1885 the
total quantity of raw petroleum pumped or received from the wells was
105,000,000 poods, or nearly 2,000,000 tons. Twenty-seven million poods,
or nearly 500,000 tons, were distilled at Baku. The largest portion,
two thirds at least, was sent off by sea to Astrachan, and thence up
the Volga, to be forwarded by tank-cars for distribution to all parts of
Russia and to Baltic ports, and thence to Germany and England. About
7,250,000 poods have been shipped by the Trans-Caucasian Railway to
Batoum, on the Black Sea, going thence to the Danube, to Odessa, to
Marseilles, and some by the Suez Canal to India and China. Every day
large trains of tank-cars leave Baku _via_ Tiflis for Batoum, and a
pipe-line from Baku to Batoum may be looked for before long.

"Down to 1870 the oil was taken from pits which were dug like ordinary
wells; boring began in that year on the American system, and the first
bored well went into operation, the oil being pumped out by the ordinary
pumping machinery.

"The first flowing well, or _fontan_ (fountain), as it is called here,
was struck in 1873. In that year there were only seventeen bored wells
in operation, but by the end of 1874 there were upward of fifty. The
flowing wells cease to flow after a time, varying from a few weeks to
several months; one well spouted forty thousand gallons of oil daily for
more than two years, and afterwards yielded half that amount as a
pumping well. The history of many wells of this region is like a chapter
from the 'Arabian Nights.'

"We are in the midst of oil, and shall be as long as we remain at Baku.
There are pools of oil in the streets; the air is filled with the smell
of oil; the streets are sprinkled with oil, as it is cheaper and better
than water; ships and steamers are black and greasy with oil, and even
our food tastes of oil. Everybody talks oil, and lives upon oil
(figuratively, at least), and we long to think of something else."

     NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.--Since the first edition of this book was
     printed the following telegram has been received: "Baku, October 5,
     1886. At Tagieff's wells a fountain has commenced playing at the
     rate of thirty thousand poods of petroleum an hour. Its height is
     two hundred and twenty-four feet. In spite of its being five versts
     from the town, the petroleum sand is pouring upon the buildings and
     streets." Thirty thousand poods are equivalent to one hundred and
     twenty-five thousand gallons; multiplied by twenty-four it gives
     the unprecedented yield of three million gallons a day. Estimating
     thirty gallons to the barrel, we have a well flowing one hundred
     thousand barrels of oil daily! This is something never dreamed of
     by the wildest petroleum speculator in America. A single well of
     the Baku district is producing more oil than the aggregate of all
     the petroleum wells in the United States.

     Plans for a pipe line from Baku to Batoum, with an annual capacity
     of one hundred and sixty million gallons, have been completed, and
     the work will be pushed as rapidly as possible. The successful
     operation of this pipe line can hardly fail to have a serious
     effect upon the petroleum industry of America.



When our friends had completed their study of the Petrolia of Europe
they looked around for new worlds to conquer. Being in Russia, they
followed Russian tendencies, and turned their eyes in the direction of
Central Asia.

"Wouldn't it be a splendid trip," said Frank, "to go through Central
Asia to India and the Far East? How long would it take, and would it be
very expensive?"

"I'm afraid there would be too many difficulties in the way," replied
the Doctor, with a smile. "In the first place the Russians are not
inclined to allow men of other nationalities to see what they are doing
in the disputed country between their possessions and those of the
English. They would treat us very politely, but, in one way and another,
would keep us from crossing Afghanistan to the English lines. We should
not be welcome visitors among the English in Northern India. Most of
them regard Americans as more friendly to Russia than to England in
whatever concerns Central Asia, and the English officials in the
disputed country would not aid our movements."

"What would be our facilities for travelling, supposing we met with no
official opposition?"

"Starting from Baku," replied the Doctor, "we could cross the Caspian to
Mikhailovsk in a steamer in from sixteen to eighteen hours. Mikhailovsk
is in what was once the Turcoman country, but is now Russian territory.
It was permanently occupied in 1869, and since that time Russia has been
extending her possessions until she is now at the borders of India,
with only a narrow strip of territory between the English possessions
and her own.


"From the time of Peter the Great to the present," the Doctor continued,
"Russia has been steadily pressing farther and farther into Asia. If
inclined to be a punster, I should say she has advanced steppe by
steppe; the Kirghese and Turcoman steppes have been conquered one after
another--sometimes by fighting, and sometimes by diplomacy, but more
frequently by a skilful combination of both forms of conquest. The
Russians have a thorough knowledge of Asiatic people, probably because
they have so much Asiatic blood in their own veins, and in their
dealings with the savage or half-civilized natives of this vast country
they manage things much better than the English do.

"A large part of the Kirghese country was won without actual fighting,
though with military assistance. It was generally in this wise:

"Two tribes might be at war with each other, and Russia, after some
negotiation, would come to the aid of the weaker. The presence of a
Russian battalion of cavalry would be quite sufficient to frighten the
stronger tribe into keeping the peace, as its chief would understand
that resistance might cost him his dominions. Having made matters quiet,
the Russian commander would propose to leave, and let the chief whose
cause he had been espousing take care of himself.

[Illustration: A KALMUCK PRIEST.]

"The chief would then see for the first time the uncomfortable situation
he would be in with the retirement of his ally; the stronger tribe would
assail him, and be all the more bitter against him on account of his
alliance with the Russians. He begged the Russians to stay. After some
hesitation they consented, provided the management of affairs was handed
over to them. They generally received what they wanted, and then
proceeded to conquer the other tribe and make themselves master over

"Sometimes the Russians follow another policy; they establish themselves
with the weaker tribe, make peace between the two factions, and then
build a fort and coolly announce that they will remain permanently. The
tribes find it useless to resist, and thus they become subject to

"Don't the English accuse the Russians of stirring up trouble among the
Kirghese and Turcoman tribes, so as to have an excuse for interference?"
one of the youths inquired.

"I believe they do," the Doctor answered. "The Russians indignantly deny
that such is the case; of course they would deny it, even if confronted
with unquestionable proof.


"They have sent a great many military expeditions into Central Asia in
the last fifty years. For a long time their base of operations was at
Orenburg, on the frontier of Siberia, but latterly it has been
transferred to the shores of the Caspian. Orenburg is now far in the
rear, and its chief use is as a military post, from which order is
maintained among the Kirghese.

"Some of the Russian expeditions have turned out disastrously, but they
have always followed a disaster by a triumph. In one expedition every
man was killed, captured, or perished of starvation or thirst in the
desert, but immediately another army was put in motion, and the Russians
more than recovered the prestige they had lost. The list of the battles
fought in Central Asia is a long one, but longer still is the list of
bloodless conquests made through Russian diplomacy.

"Khanates, chieftaincies, and principalities have been absorbed by
Russia in her southward and eastward march over the steppes and along
the valleys of the rivers. The cities of Tashkend, Samarcand, Khiva,
Kokan, and Bokhara, have passed from the flag of the intolerant Moslem
to that of the tolerant Russian, and with the cities have gone the
khanates and principalities of which they were the capitals."

Fred asked if the subjugation of these territories had been beneficial
to their inhabitants or not.

[Illustration: KIRGHESE GROUP.]

"In every way it has been a benefit to them, and none of those who are
peaceably disposed would care to return to their old condition. The
Russian yoke is easy upon the necks of the inhabitants; the Russians
make no interference with the religion, laws, manners, and customs of
the people, excepting where they are manifestly cruel or tyrannical;
they allow the natives to do exactly as they like, protect them in the
possession of their property, give them facilities of trade never before
enjoyed, and in every way better their condition.

"In place of the outrageous taxes formerly levied by the Moslem
authorities whenever the khan or his officials wanted money, the
Russians have a fixed annual tax which is never above the easy ability
of the subject to pay; it is generally asserted that the taxes in Asia
are much lighter than those of European Russia, to make sure that there
shall be no discontent among the people. The Russian Government requires
that every subject shall pay a tax, not so much for the value of the
article received as an acknowledgment of subjection.

"In the settled portions of Russia the tax is payable in money, but in
the wilder regions taxes are collected 'in kind.' On the shores of the
Arctic Ocean and through all the northern part of Siberia the _yessak_,
or tax, is one fox-skin; in Kamtchatka it was formerly one sable-skin,
but since the increase in the price of the fur, one skin is received for
every four inhabitants, who arrange the division among themselves. In
some of the grain-growing parts of the Empire the tax is paid in grain;
on the Amoor River it is paid in fish, and among the Kirghese and
Turcomans it is paid in cattle, sheep, or horses, which constitute the
circulating medium of the country.


"In return for this tax, and provided the new subject in Central Asia
behaves himself, he has the protection of a powerful government. The
Russian Government has its faults, but it is immeasurably superior to
the old way in which these countries were ruled.

"By the religion of the Moslem might makes right, and this was the
foundation of the governmental system of the Kirghese and Turcoman
tribes, together with the khanates previously mentioned. Robbery was a
recognized means of making a living; not robbery by detail, as practised
by highwaymen and burglars, but wholesale robbery in which entire tribes
were concerned. Many thousands of people lived by raiding, and the raid
was as legitimate a way of acquiring property as selling goods in a shop
and making a profit on them."


Frank and Fred made an exclamation of surprise as the Doctor continued:

"The Kirghese who occupy the region immediately south of the Altai
Mountains, and are still found on the southern confines of the Baraba
Steppe, are broken into many independent tribes; they are nomadic in
their habits, wandering from place to place in search of pasturage for
their immense flocks and herds. In winter they frequent the valleys
among the outlying hills of the Altai Mountains, and in summer descend
upon the plains. Many of the tribes live altogether on the plains, and
their range covers many thousands of square miles.

"Quarrels were numerous among them, chiefly growing out of disputes
about pasturage or water, and these are the quarrels in which the
Russians interfered, both in the interest of humanity and the spread of
their power. Frequently these disputes led to raids for purposes of
plunder; quite as frequently one tribe would make a raid on another with
which it was at peace for the sole object of robbery.

"Attacks were generally made at night, and if they were successful the
robbers would drive off the flocks and herds of the tribe assailed. Men,
women, and children were taken to be sold into slavery in the markets of
Khiva and Bokhara, or kept among their captors. These slaves were
treated with the greatest cruelty; they were severely beaten for the
slightest offence or failure to perform what had been ordered, were
poorly fed, and often compelled to wear chains. They were generally
maimed for life, by means of a horse-hair run through the heel, in order
to prevent their escape from captivity.

"All this business was brought to an end by the Russians when they
occupied the Kirghese country. They compelled the tribes to live
peacefully with each other, and if any dispute arose about water or
pasturage it was referred to the Russian commander of the district for
adjustment. If one tribe made a raid on another it was compelled to give
up the stolen property, and furthermore a heavy fine was levied upon the
raiders--half going to the Russian Government and half to the injured
tribe. The Russians generally made the fine heavy enough to furnish a
percentage for the officers who took the trouble to adjust the

"Russian goods were introduced among these nomadic people, markets were
opened, and every facility was offered for the increase of commerce.
Long caravans were constantly in motion between Orenburg, Sempolatinsk,
and other points in Russian territory, and Khiva, Bokhara, and
Samarcand, far to the east. They traversed the Kirghese and Turcoman
country, and wherever they went they found a material difference in the
matter of safety, whether the territory was under Russian rule or
remained independent. If the latter, the caravans were constantly liable
to attack and plunder; if the former, they were invariably free from

"The capture of Bokhara, Samarcand, and Khiva reduced the slave-markets
of the Turcoman raiders, but by no means put an end to their plundering
expeditions. The independent Turcomans were estimated to be about a
million in number, divided into several tribes, who sometimes warred
upon each other, but constantly upon the Persians and other peaceable
people. In the wars between Khiva and Bokhara, Samarcand and Kokan,
they took sides with those who would pay the most for their services.


"Down to very recently the whole of Northern Persia was subject to
Turcoman raids, and agriculture was carried on under great
difficulties.[7] The raids were sometimes carried up to within a hundred
miles of Teheran, or about five hundred miles inside the Persian
boundary. They were organized months beforehand, and sometimes as many
as five or six thousand men were engaged in a single enterprise. A raid
was called a 'chapow' by the Persians; in the Turcoman language it was
an 'alaman.'

[7] In an article in HARPER'S MAGAZINE for March, 1886, Mr. William
Simpson, an English artist and journalist, who went to the Afghan
frontier with the Boundary Commission, says it is only within a couple
of years that the raiding was brought to an end. He frankly credits
Russia with the suppression of the raiding system, and says she deserves
the thanks of the civilized world.

"A Turcoman leader would announce his intention of making an alaman, but
the route was always kept secret through fear of betrayal. The Turcomans
are splendid horsemen, and while organizing an expedition they put their
steeds under a system of training to enable them to make long and swift
marches whenever occasion required. When everything was ready the party
started; it travelled slowly until it reached the Persian frontier, and
was often weeks on the way.

"Passing the frontier, the hard work of the campaign began. The region
selected for the raid was reached as soon as possible; then the invading
force was divided into small parties, and each had a particular village
assigned to it. Their movements were made so as to catch the people at
work in the fields, and capture the cattle before they could be driven
into a place of safety. Not only the cattle, but all the men, women, and
children that could be seized were taken. The old and useless were
slaughtered without mercy; the young or able-bodied were carried off, to
be sold into slavery. A wealthy Persian was held for a heavy ransom, but
a poor man had no chance of redemption.

"The plundering was kept up as long as there was anything to steal, and
then the expedition returned to its own territory. Sometimes in a single
raid as many as a hundred thousand horses, sheep, goats, and other
animals were captured, and a thousand or more people were carried into

Frank asked if the Persian Government made no provision for the
protection of its people.

"Very little," replied the Doctor; "the Persian troops were in the
cities and large towns, which the Turcomans never attacked, and as there
was no telegraph through the country, the raiders almost invariably got
to a safe distance before a pursuit could be started. Very often the
Persian officials on the frontier connived at the raids, and the people
were forced to rely upon themselves for protection."

"In what way could they do anything against the robbers?" was the very
natural query that followed this statement.

"Their villages are built of mud, and may be called forts," the Doctor
replied. "The walls are from twenty to thirty feet thick, and about
forty in height; they form a quadrangle, or circle, where cattle can be
driven at night, and there is only a single door-way, too low to permit
the passage of a man on horseback. The raiders never stop to besiege a
place; all their work is done by a sudden dash, and the Turcoman would
never think of dismounting to pass the low door-way. Inside there is a
stone door which may be closed to prevent ingress; it is thick and
strong, and once inside of their mud village the people are safe.


"Here is a picture of one of these villages," said the Doctor; "it is
called Lasgird, and is about a hundred miles east of the capital of
Persia. You will observe that there is a double tier of dwellings on the
top of the circular wall; the enclosed space accommodates the cattle and
other live-stock of the village, and is also utilized for the storage of
grain. On the outside, near the top, there is a balcony made of
projecting timbers covered with branches of trees; it has no outer
railing, and must be a very unsafe place for a promenade. Inside of such
a retreat the people had nothing to fear, as the Turcomans have no
artillery and did not care to stay long enough to batter down the

Fred remarked that it must be difficult for those at work in the fields
at any distance to get to the village before they were overtaken by the
raiders on their swift horses.

[Illustration: TOWER OF REFUGE.]

"So it is," was the reply, "and to further protect themselves they had
towers of refuge in their fields, where they could run in case of
danger. Some of the towers had ladders on the outside which were drawn
up as the Turcomans approached, while others were entered by narrow
door-ways similar to those of the villages. On the hills there were
signal-towers where watchmen were stationed; when the dust of an
approaching alaman was seen, the watchmen gave warning and the people
fled for safety."

"What a life to lead!" said one of the youths. "Always apprehensive of
danger, and never knowing when the murderous Turcomans might come!"

"It was much like the life of the early settlers of New England," said
the Doctor, "when the Indians were liable to come at any moment, and the
men carried their guns to church on Sunday. The same condition of things
has continued until quite recently on our western frontier, and still
exists in a few places in Texas and New Mexico. But the difference is
that in our country it never lasted for many years in any one place,
while in Persia the situation was the same for centuries.

"These Turcoman thieves hampered agriculture in the way I have
described, and they also restricted commerce by plundering the caravans.
Merchants travelled with an armed escort and in large numbers. Even this
did not save them from attack, as a great caravan was unwieldy, and
often the robbers would dart in and seize a few camels laden with
merchandise while the escort was so far away in another part of the line
that it could not rush to attack the marauders until they had finished
their work and departed. And remember that for centuries trade has
followed this dangerous route!

"A curious thing about these raids is that the departure of a
plundering expedition was always accompanied by religious ceremonies.
The Mollahs, or Moslem priests, gave their blessing to the thieves, and
prayed for Allah's favor upon the enterprise. When the party returned
laden with plunder, and driving slaves and stolen cattle in great
number, the same priests offered prayers in thanks for Allah's blessing,
and a portion of the proceeds of the expedition was set apart for the
cause of religion."


"Then they must be of a different religion from the Persians," Fred
observed, "as they would not be likely to make war upon people of their
own faith."

[Illustration: THE TENT COVERED.]

"Unfortunately for your theory, that was not the case," the Doctor
answered. "Persians and Turcomans are all Moslems; they have different
sects, just as have the adherents of the Christian religion, but in a
general way they may be said to be of the same faith. Moslems make war
upon each other with very little hesitation; the only thing in which
they appear to be united is in their hatred of all other religions than
their own."

"I suppose they have not received travellers with any courtesy," said
Frank. "Do they permit foreigners to visit their country and study its

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF TENT.]

"Not at all," was the reply, "if they can prevent it, and they are not
at all particular about the mode of prevention. Of course, since the
country was occupied by Russia there has been a change in this respect,
and under Russian protection a stranger may travel there with
comparative safety.

"In former times most of the Europeans who ventured into Turkestan (the
collective name for the countries of Central Asia) paid the penalty of
their temerity with their lives. Russians, Englishmen, Germans, and
others perished, and not one explorer in ten returned to tell the story
of his travels. Two English ambassadors, Colonel Stoddart and Captain
Conolly, ventured into Bokhara about 1840, and were murdered, the former
after four years' imprisonment, and the latter after a twelvemonth.

"Stoddart was repeatedly tortured, and finally was promised his freedom
if he would embrace the Moslem religion. To save his life he consented,
and went through the required ceremony; the Emir of Bokhara continued to
torture him, and finally ordered the heads of both Conolly and Stoddart
to be cut off in the public square of Bokhara.

"Stoddart was executed first, and then the Emir offered Conolly his
freedom if he would become a Moslem. 'No,' said he, 'I prefer to die.
Stoddart became a Moslem and you have killed him. Go on with your work.'
The Emir nodded to the executioner, and the work of execution was

"Wood, another Englishman, who went to Bokhara to ascertain what had
become of Stoddart and Conolly, was imprisoned for some time, and
narrowly escaped with his life. A more fortunate explorer was Arminius
Vámbéry, a Hungarian, who travelled through Central Asia disguised as a
dervish from Constantinople. At the very outset of his journey he was
obliged to wait for three-quarters of a year in Teheran before he could
find the right kind of party to travel with. In his character of dervish
he associated with pilgrims like himself, who wished to visit the Moslem
shrines of Bokhara and Samarcand. They were twenty-four in number, and
nearly all of them were distinguished for their poverty. They intended
to beg their way through the country and back again; Vámbéry had a
little money, which he carefully concealed, as it would not be in
accordance with his assumed character of dervish to be known to have any
ready cash.


"From Teheran they went north to the Turcoman country, which then
extended westward to the shores of the Caspian Sea. On landing, they
were greeted by the Turcoman chief who ruled in that district; he was
very hospitable, and entertained them for a whole month merely for the
sake of having visitors.

"In a caravan of Turcoman horsemen they journeyed to Khiva, crossing a
desert region where for days they had only the water they carried on
their saddles. They fell short of water, and while their suffering was
severe they were relieved by the chief of the caravan, who had an extra
store concealed in his baggage. As he doled it out to the pilgrims he
said it had always been his custom to carry an extra supply of water
while crossing the desert, and distribute it when most needed. But this
same man had proposed a few days before to leave Vámbéry to perish in
the desert, on the mere suspicion that he was a European in disguise.

"Vámbéry gives an excellent description of the Turcoman character, which
has been fully confirmed by other travellers, and later by the Russian
conquerors of Turkestan. They are honest in their dealings with each
other, and often display much tenderness; at the same time they are the
most brutal of slave-masters and man-stealers, and capable of the
severest cruelty. Vámbéry says that one day a Turcoman said it was a sin
to destroy a basket in the desert, because it had once been the seat of
a man on a camel; the same man denied a drop of water to a slave whom he
had fed on salt-fish for two days, and his delight at the suffering of
his victim was equal to that of a countryman over the antics of a clown
at a circus.


"Some of the tribes, in their wars with each other, cut off the heads of
those whom they slay in battle, and bring them home as trophies; Vámbéry
happened to be present in Khiva when, one day, the Khan's treasurer was
paying for human heads. As each warrior came forward he emptied his sack
on the ground, and an accountant made note of the number of skulls and
the name of their owner.


"The payment was not in money, but in robes of honor, which were of
different colors, according to the number of slain to each warrior's
credit. Some received the robe of forty heads, others the robe of
twenty, and others that of ten, five, or four. It was like the different
degrees of the decorations awarded by the rulers of the nations of
Europe, or the rewards of merit issued by a school-teacher to diligent
and well-behaved pupils.

"Another time Vámbéry was in the public square of Khiva when about three
hundred prisoners of war were brought in. They were separated into two
divisions, those who had not reached their fortieth year, and were to be
sold as slaves or given as presents, being placed in one category. They
were chained together and led away, and then the old men were brought
forward for punishment; and what do you suppose it was?

"These gray-bearded old men were tied hand and foot and placed flat on
their backs on the ground. Then their eyes were gouged out, the
executioner kneeling on the breast of each to perform his dreadful work.
Each time when he finished with a victim he deliberately wiped his knife
on the latter's flowing beard. Vámbéry says the scene will make him
shudder as long as he lives, and no wonder.

"And yet he found the people of Khiva full of pious charity. The same
khan who had ordered this cruel treatment of prisoners of war, loaded
the supposed dervish and his companions with presents, and showed them
every kindness. When Vámbéry left in the direction of Bokhara, he was
mounted on a good donkey, and had plenty of clothing, provisions, and
money, which had been given him by the faithful.

"Vámbéry says he one day asked a robber who was noted for piety, how he
could sell his brother religionists into slavery. The robber replied
that the holy book, the Koran, was certainly more precious than man, and
yet it was bought or sold for a few small coins. He added that Joseph,
the son of Jacob, was a prophet, but was sold into slavery without being
any the worse for it. His argument was forcible, and the stranger
concluded it was best not to oppose it."

Frank asked how the women of the Turcoman tribes were treated by their
lords and masters.

"Women among the Turcomans have an inferior position, as in all Moslem
countries," the Doctor replied. "They are far more the slaves of their
husbands than their equals; sometimes they are treated with great
kindness, but more frequently their lives are full of hardship. They
perform most of the labor of the camp and village, the men being chiefly
occupied with the care of the flocks and herds, making expeditions for
the sake of plunder, or warring on neighboring tribes.

"Husbands sell their wives as they sell cattle or sheep, and the poor
creatures have no redress for their wrongs. A husband buys his wife from
her parents, and she has very little voice in the transaction; the price
is generally based upon the social standing of the parties, and the
ability of the purchaser to pay for the property. Among nearly all the
nomad tribes of Turkestan the marriage ceremony includes a race for the
bride; the game is called _Kökbüri_ (green wolf), and is decidedly

[Illustration: KÖKBÜRI--A RACE FOR A BRIDE.]

"The girl is mounted on a swift horse, and carries the carcass of a lamb
before her on the saddle. She is given a certain start in advance of the
bridegroom and his friends; they follow on horseback, and unless the
bridegroom can take the lamb from her hands during the race the match is
'off.' She makes a show of resistance, and generally leads the party a
long distance, but the affair having been negotiated beforehand, is
pretty sure to end in the surrender of the lamb. In some tribes the girl
must be lifted from the saddle by the bridegroom, who carries her on his
own horse back to the point of starting.

"There is this difference in the treatment of the women of Turkestan and
those of most other Moslem countries," the Doctor continued, "that they
are not required to cover their faces. In Turkey, Egypt, and Arabia the
Moslem woman who leaves her face uncovered commits an act of great
impropriety, but this is not the case in Turkestan. Many of the women
are quite pretty in their youth, but their good looks do not last long.
The men are of good height and figure, and their manners are grave and
dignified. The hair and beard are dark, and the complexion may be set
down as a light shade of brown."

Frank asked how many tribes and people were included in Turkestan or
Central Asia, and how great was the population.


"That is a very difficult question to answer," said the Doctor, "in fact
it is impossible to do so exactly. The census-taker is unknown in
Central Asia, except in the cities and towns; even there he does not
enumerate the whole population, but only the heads of families and the
men capable of bearing arms. Turkestan includes all the country between
the Caspian Sea and the 110th degree of longitude east, and from Siberia
southward to Persia, Afghanistan, and Thibet. Turkestan means 'The land
of the Turks.' On the maps it is generally divided into Eastern and
Western Turkestan, the former lying partly in the Chinese Empire, and
the latter covering the vast plain of the Caspian and Aral seas. The
population is variously estimated at from eight to twelve millions.
Russia has absorbed nearly all of Western Turkestan, and the Russian
officials think they have at least eight millions of people in their new

"The tribes and provinces are divided and subdivided so that they are
not easy to name. Western Turkestan was formerly known as Independent
Tartary, and comprises the Turcoman steppes, the khanates of Khiva,
Bokhara, Samarcand, and Kokan, together with Balkh and some smaller
provinces which are in dispute between Russia and Afghanistan. These
disputes have led to quarrels between Russia and England, and quite
likely will lead to war at no distant day.

[Illustration: AN OZBEK HEAD.]

"The people dwelling in Turkestan are mainly of the Turkish race; their
language is Turkish, and the country was the seat of the race that
spread its boundaries by a career of conquests, which did not stop until
it entered Europe and pressed as far westward as the walls of Vienna.
Briefly we may say the inhabitants of Turkestan are Ozbeks or Uzbeks
(the dominant race), Turcomans, Kirghese, Karakalpaks, Tajiks,
Persians, Kipchaks, and a few Arabs, Hindoos, and Jews. The Ozbeks are
the most civilized people of the country, and are mainly settled in the
cities and towns; they fill most of the official positions, and their
leading families can trace their descent for centuries. The Persians are
mostly descended from those who have been stolen by the Turcomans and
sold into slavery, and the Arabs, Hindoos, and Jews may be regarded as
wanderers who have been drawn there by business or accident.

"I have already told you something of the Kirghese, whose country was
the first to be absorbed by Russia. The other people of Turkestan
besides those just mentioned are not sufficiently numerous or important
to deserve special description. If you wish further particulars, you
will find them in Schuyler's 'Turkestan,' Vámbéry's 'Travels in Central
Asia,' 'History of Bokhara,' and Shaw's 'High Tartary, Yarkand, and

The conversation was interrupted by a gentleman who called to ask if
Doctor Bronson and his young friends would like to make a trip to the
other side of the Caspian Sea. A steamer was to leave in two or three
hours for Mikhailovsk, and the next morning would see them landed in the
country where, until quite recently, the Turcomans reigned and robbed at

The invitation was promptly accepted, and when the steamer left Baku our
friends were among her passengers. What they saw and heard will be told
in the next chapter.




Our young friends were up early, in their eagerness to see the country
of the Turcomans. They found themselves looking at a comparatively flat
region, quite in contrast with the chain of the Caucasus, that filled
the horizon to the west of Baku, and interposed a formidable barrier
between the Caspian and Black seas. The steamer headed into a narrow bay
which formed the harbor of Mikhailovsk, the new town whence the
Trans-Caspian Railway takes its departure in the direction of India.


Everything indicated the newness of the place. Houses, barracks, piers,
railway-station, all were new, and many of the houses were not even
finished. Russian soldiers and Russian officers were numerous in the
crowd at the landing-place, and there were scores of mujiks busily
engaged in handling goods destined for the railway or for the steamers,
but they did not by any means have a monopoly of the labor market of
Mikhailovsk. Tartars, Kirghese, Turcomans, Persians, and other Asiatics
were there in considerable numbers. They appeared to be quite as
industrious as the mujiks, and every way as keen to scent a job wherein
money was to be earned.

It is an interesting circumstance that the Turcomans, now that they are
forbidden to indulge in raiding, have turned their attention to steady
industry, and promise to make good citizens. Whatever may be their
faults, they are not a lazy people; they gave up their raiding habits
very unwillingly; but when once convinced that they must live by
industry, they seem to have accepted the situation.


Mr. Ivanovich, the gentleman who invited our friends to cross the
Caspian, was connected with the management of the Trans-Caspian Railway,
as the line from Mikhailovsk is called. During the voyage from Baku he
gave the youths an account of the building of the railway, and matters
connected with it, of which Frank made the following notes:

"The Trans-Caspian Railway," said Mr. Ivanovich, "owes its existence to
a military necessity that arose in 1879. When the Russians first
occupied the Turcoman country they built fortifications, and settled
down to stay. General Skobeleff always claimed that we made a great
mistake in doing so; the Government did not think it safe to make a
movement directly into the Turcoman country, and consequently several
years were occupied in doing what Skobeleff thought should have been
done in one. The Turcomans knew nothing about regular warfare, and we
might have crushed them in a little while with our trained battalions.
But we waited so long that they learned how to fight, partly through our
own instruction, and then it required the best of fighting to defeat

"It looked at one time as if the Turcomans would altogether prevent us
from getting any foothold in their country beyond the shores of the
Caspian. Skirmishes almost without number occurred, in which sometimes
the Russians and sometimes the Turcomans had the best of the contest.
Skobeleff, then a captain, was one of those who landed at Krasnovodsk in
1869. He made more successes in the fighting with the Turcomans than
anybody else; but in 1873 he was called away in the campaign against
Khiva, and from that time to 1879 nothing of moment was accomplished.

[Illustration: KIRGHESE TOMB.]

"In 1878 Tekme Sardar, a Turcoman chief, submitted to the Russians, and
was received into their camp at Krasnovodsk. He remained there several
months, and then, for some real or fancied injury, fled from the camp,
and collected his followers with the determination to make war on the
invaders. At a place called Geok Tepé he formed a junction with other
chiefs, and established a camp.

"Tekme Sardar had made good use of his eyes during his stay among us. He
showed his people how to build forts. About forty thousand Turcomans,
with their families, collected at Geok Tepé, and threw up an immense
earthwork exactly like the defences built by the Russians. General
Lomakin advanced against this earthwork in 1879, and after a series of
skirmishes outside the walls he attacked the Turcomans in their
stronghold, and was severely repulsed. He retired to the shores of the
Caspian, and thus ended the campaign for that year.


"General Skobeleff was then appointed to the command of the Turcoman
district, and the Government told him he could have anything he wanted
in men or munitions of war.

"The Government had a hundred miles of railway material somewhere on its
south-western frontier, which was intended for use in case of the
failure of the Berlin Congress. Skobeleff asked for this material, and
it was at once transferred to the Caspian. He changed the base of
operations from Krasnovodsk to Mikhailovsk, and at once began the
construction of the line. The whole movement was made so quietly that
hardly anything was known of the work until the track had been laid
about half-way to Kizil Arvat, one hundred and forty-four miles from

"Skobeleff could not wait for the completion of the railway. While the
road was being constructed he pushed forward to Bami, a strong point in
the Akhal oasis, where he built a fort, and gradually collected the
materials for the siege of Geok Tepé. When everything was in readiness
he advanced and began the siege, which lasted fully a month.

"Perhaps the following figures will interest you: The Russians were
between eight and ten thousand strong, of all arms, infantry, cavalry,
and artillery. The artillery comprised sixty-nine guns, while the
Turcomans had no cannon to oppose them with. When the siege began,
Skobeleff found that his cannon made little impression upon the clay
walls of the fort, so he ordered his artillery to fire over the walls
and into the enclosed space, in order to demoralize the people within as
much as possible. In fighting against Asiatics, artillery always has a
prominent part. Its moral effect in frightening them is certainly ten
times as great as its destructive power.


"During the siege the artillery fired from one hundred to five hundred
shots daily, and the infantry used from ten thousand to seventy thousand
rounds of ammunition in the same time. Skobeleff sunk a mine under the
rampart, and exploded more than a ton of gunpowder at a single blast. It
made a wide breach, through which the Russian army poured into the fort,
with very little opposition on the part of the Turcomans. The latter
fled in the direction of Merv, but were pursued by the Russian cavalry.
The slaughter is said to have been fearful, and the Russians say that
twenty thousand Turcomans perished in the siege and capture of Geok
Tepé. During the assault and pursuit the infantry fired 273,804 rounds,
the cavalry 12,510, and the artillery 5,864; 224 military rockets were
also used.[8]

[8] Marvin's "The Russians at the Gates of Herat."

"Many careful students of the history of Central Asia," continued Mr.
Ivanovich, "consider the siege and capture of Geok Tepé the most
important victory ever achieved by the Russians in Turkestan. It
opened the way for the Russian advance to the frontier of India, and
carried the boundaries of the Empire southward to those of Persia. In
the interest of humanity it was of the greatest importance, as it broke
up the system of man-stealing and its attendant cruelties which the
Turcomans had practised for centuries. The people of Northern Persia no
longer live in constant terror of Turcoman raids; the slave-markets of
Central Asia are closed, and doubtless forever."

Frank asked if the English Government was as well pleased with the
result of the siege as were the Russians.

Mr. Ivanovich said he did not know exactly how the English regarded the
victory, but from the tone of their press and the utterances of British
statesmen, he did not think they would have mourned if the Russians had
been repulsed. "England," said he, "is jealous of Russian advances in
Turkestan. Lord Salisbury believed that the Turcoman barrier against
Russia would last his lifetime, and many other English statesmen and
officers shared his belief.

"No doubt they were very sorry for the sufferings of the Persians, who
were sold into slavery after seeing their homes plundered and their
fields devastated, but I question if they were willing, for political
reasons, to see the Turcomans wiped out as they were at Geok Tepé. I
think I have read much more in the English papers about the loss to
English commerce by the Russian occupation of Central Asia than of the
gain to humanity by the suppression of the Turcoman raids.

"The interests of British trade are the first consideration of the
British statesman. Many thousands of Africans and Asiatics have died by
British bullets and sabres that the commerce of England might be
extended. Unless I mistake the temper of the British Government, I am
afraid that the advisers of the Queen would prefer the old state of
things to the new on the Turcoman steppes. The sale of a thousand bales
of Manchester cottons in the bazaars of Turkestan is of more consequence
to England than the enslavement of a thousand Persians and the
desolation of their homes.

"But that is wandering from the subject," said Mr. Ivanovich, with a
smile. "I may be prejudiced, but can't help regarding England as a
disturber of the peace all over the world, whenever the disturbance will
benefit her trade. She doesn't believe in monopoly, except where she can
be the monopolist, and for that reason she is jealous of the way we
Russians are trying the monopoly business for ourselves. We have the
trade of ten millions of Asiatics: no great thing to be sure, but we
don't propose to hand it over to England just because she wants it. We
have cotton factories and other manufacturing establishments, as England
has, and the more markets we can have the better it will be for us."

The gentleman paused, and gave Fred an opportunity to ask if there were
any navigable rivers in Turkestan, and, if so, what they were.


"There is no navigation worth the name," was the reply. "Central Asia
contains only two rivers of any importance--the Oxus and the Jaxartes.
The Oxus is sometimes called the Amoo Darya, or Jihoon, and the Jaxartes
the Syr Darya. The Oxus is the largest; it rises in the Pamir district,
in a lake fifteen thousand feet above the sea, and in the upper part of
its course receives several tributary rivers that drain Bokhara and the
north-eastern part of Afghanistan. It is about twelve hundred miles
long, and flows into the Aral Sea; for the last eight hundred miles of
its course it is navigable for small steamboats, but its mouth is
divided into so many shallow channels that boats have great difficulty
in entering it. The Russians have half a dozen steamers on the Aral Sea,
and as many more light-draught steamboats for navigating the Oxus."

"Haven't I read that the Oxus formerly emptied into the Caspian Sea?"
said Frank.

"Quite likely you have," said Mr. Ivanovich, "as there is little doubt
that such was the case. The old bed of the Oxus can be distinctly
traced, and geographers are generally agreed that the river entered the
Caspian by three mouths. Ptolemy and Strabo both state distinctly that
in their time the Oxus flowed into the Caspian, and formed the principal
trade-route between Europe and Asia."

"How came it to change its course?"


"Much of the region traversed by the Oxus is a desert, and the only
agriculture possible there is by irrigation. In order to increase the
area under cultivation, the Turcomans built dams that turned the Oxus in
the direction of a vast plain which contains the Aral Sea. Since the
occupation of the country by the Russians, it has been proposed to
return the Oxus to its ancient bed, and bring it down to the Caspian. It
is not likely that this will be done, as the result would be that the
whole lower course of the Oxus, where there are many flourishing farms
and gardens, would again become a desert waste. Much less water flows
through the Oxus than in former times, and the engineers who have
studied the question do not think the river would be navigable when
returned to its ancient bed.


"The other river of Central Asia, the Jaxartes, or Syr Darya, is smaller
than the Oxus, and about eleven hundred miles long. It rises in the
Pamir region, and empties, like the Oxus, into the Aral Sea. Its course
is generally parallel to the Oxus, and in the same way it fertilizes a
large area of what would otherwise be desert. Its volume has greatly
diminished in the last few centuries, and is even known to be
considerably less than it was sixty or eighty years ago. The Oxus enters
the southern end of the Aral Sea, while the Jaxartes comes in
considerably farther to the north. The diversion of these two rivers
would probably result in drying up the Aral Sea, a shallow body of water
two hundred and fifty miles long by half as many wide."


Fred asked if the Caspian was higher or lower than the Aral Sea.

"They are of the same level, or nearly so," was the reply, "though some
engineers say the Aral is about one hundred and fifty feet higher than
the Caspian, and the indications are that the two seas were formerly
connected. The whole plain of Turcomania is thought to have been at one
time an inland sea. At its southern extremity the Aral is bordered by an
immense marsh, and it is through this marsh that the Oxus discharges its

"Khiva stands near the Oxus, in the midst of beautiful gardens, all
nourished by the water from the river. Khiva, Bokhara, Samarcand, and
Kokan would become masses of ruins if the Oxus and Jaxartes were dried
up, and you may be sure the Russians will give the subject careful
consideration before disturbing the course of the waters. Nowhere in the
world will you see more careful irrigation than along these rivers, with
the possible exception of the Nile valley. All through Central Asia the
only possible agriculture is upon the watercourses, or where there are
never-failing wells. Canals and irrigation-wheels are everywhere, and
you will often see evidences of excellent engineering abilities in the
construction of some of the artificial water-ways.

"General Annenkoff, the officer in charge of the construction of the
Trans-Caspian Railway, has a scheme for creating a new oasis, capable of
supporting two hundred thousand people, near the disputed boundary
between Turkestan and Afghanistan. He proposes to turn one of the
tributaries of the Oxus for that purpose, and is confident that he can
make a fertile area of several hundred square miles by carefully
utilizing the water of the stream."

On landing at Mikhailovsk, our friends were introduced to several
Russian officers, some of whom had been in America, and who heartily
welcomed the trio of travellers from that far-away land. They were
invited to the club-house, where they were lodged and cared for; the
town did not boast an hotel other than a very indifferent khan, which
had all the discomforts of the Orient, with none of its good points.

Frank and Fred endeavored to find the time-table of the railway, with a
view to making an excursion into Turkestan. Their inquiries were
rewarded with the information that there was no regular time for running
the trains, as the business transacted on the line was nearly all of a
military character. But a train was to leave in the morning for Kizil
Arvat, one hundred and forty-four miles, and if they cared to make the
journey they were at liberty to do so.

Finding they would have time to go to Kizil Arvat and return before the
departure of the steamer for Baku, they accepted the invitation, which
included the Doctor as well as themselves. Early the next morning the
train rolled out from the station; it consisted of a locomotive and ten
or twelve carriages. One carriage contained the officers of a regiment
of infantry that filled the remaining vehicles; the regiment was bound
for the frontier, where England and Russia have latterly been discussing
the question of the boundary, and a discussion of this kind is
materially assisted by the presence of soldiers.


We will refer to Fred's account of the railway journey in Turkestan.

"We were invited to seats in the carriage where the officers were
riding. They did everything to make our journey agreeable, and we were
indebted to them for a great deal of information about Central Asia.
Some of them had been to the British frontier, and one had visited
Cabul, Herat, and Candahar.

"The route of the railway was partly across the desert, and partly along
the valleys of two or three small rivers of no special importance except
for their usefulness in supplying water for the line. For a considerable
distance the line lies near the Etrek, a river that was of great use to
General Skobeleff in his advance upon Geok Tepé. At times it is simply a
dry channel, but water can generally be found by digging a few feet in
the sand that forms, in the rainy season, the bed of the stream.


"The country is a plain, with here and there a few hills not worthy to
be called mountains. Sometimes the plain is flat for a long distance,
and again it is undulating like the rolling prairies of our Western
States. Vegetation is scanty at best, and a large part of the country is
absolutely desert. The great need of Central Asia is water. If a million
springs could be opened, all giving a copious flow like some of the
great springs in our Rocky Mountains, the next ten or twenty years would
see a great change in the aspect of Turkestan.

"One of the officers told me that the country was of the same general
character all the way to the frontier of Afghanistan. 'The railway can
be extended without trouble,' said he, 'as far as we wish to carry it.
There's not an obstacle at all formidable to railway engineers.'

"I asked, with some hesitation, where they wished to carry their railway
line. I knew the subject was not disconnected with politics, but the
question was innocent enough, and he could answer it as he chose, and
probably did.


"'We built the line,' said he, 'first to Kizil Arvat, one hundred and
forty-four miles, and then extended it to Askabad, one hundred and ten
miles farther. We are now building to Sarakhs, one hundred and
eighty-five miles from Askabad, and there we may stop. Perhaps it will
be pushed on to Herat, two hundred and two miles from Sarakhs, but it
can not be under the present political situation. Afghanistan is under
English control. You know the English Government gives the Ameer of that
country a large annual payment of money for his friendship; and until we
are willing to give a higher bribe he is not likely to permit us to
build railways in his territory.

"'From Sarakhs our next line will be to Merv, the rich oasis that came
under Russian control a few years ago, or possibly Merv may be reached
by a branch from Askabad. Perhaps there will one day be a line from Merv
to Samarcand and Bokhara, but this is far in the future. From Merv a
railway may be run along the valley of the Murghab to Herat; but it is
not a direct route, and we are much more likely to reach Herat by way of
Sarakhs, along the valley of the Heri-Rud. Whichever way we take, the
building of the road would not be at all difficult. The Murghab route
has the disadvantage of being longer than that of the Heri-Rud, but its
cost per mile would be much less, as the country is smoother.

"'I suppose,' he continued, 'that there is a sort of race between
England and Russia to get to Herat with a railway. England is building
north from India, while we are building south from the Caspian. The
terminal points of the two lines are now less than eight hundred miles
apart, and it is very evident that the English and Russian locomotives
will be whistling in the hearing of each other, and blowing steam in
each other's faces, within the next few years.[9]

[9] Early in 1886 the Central Asian Railway was completed to Kaakha, a
distance of 590 versts (390 miles) from Mikhailovsk. The line was
completed to Merv in April, 1886, and the echoes of the Turcoman oasis
were awakened by the shriek of the locomotive. At the latest advices
work was being pushed between Merv and Chardjuya, on the Oxus, and
General Annenkoff had promised to complete the line to the banks of the
historic river before the end of the year. The Emir of Bokhara has
agreed to provide the material for a bridge across the Oxus, and the
Russian engineers have completed the survey of the line as far as
Samarcand. It is hoped that the railway will reach Bokhara and Samarcand
by the end of 1887. The entire railway as planned will extend from
Mikhailovsk, on the Caspian, by way of Kizil Arvat (245 versts), Askabad
(445 versts), Kaakha (590 versts), to Merv (770 versts, or 510 miles);
thence to Chardjuya, on the Amoo Darya (Oxus), and Bokhara to Samarcand,
a total distance of 1065 versts (700 miles), of which no less than
five-sevenths is practically now completed. All the rails, sleepers, and
rolling material for the Trans-Caspian Railway are supplied from the
Russian Crown depots. Apart from this, the total cost of making the line
from the Caspian to the Oxus is estimated at 12,250,000 roubles, or
about 16,000 roubles per verst.

The Russians have a grand scheme for another line of railway through
Asia, which was originally proposed by M. de Lesseps. The first step
would be to complete the railway connection along the lower Volga,
between Tsaritsin and Astrachan. The Asiatic line would start from
Astrachan, pass through Khiva, Bokhara, and Samarcand into Chinese
Turkestan, where it would touch Tang-Kissar, Kashgar, and Yarkand, in
addition to other cities and towns of lesser note. It would skirt the
shores of Lake Lob, and after descending the valley of the Kan (Han)
terminate at Hankow, on the banks of the Yang-tse-Kiang, six hundred
miles above the mouth of the great river of China.

"'If we were not confronted by diplomacy we could reach Herat
considerably in advance of the English, as we have the shorter and
easier line to build to get there. But with our scrupulous regard for
treaties and agreements, we may be hindered in our railway building, and
have the mortification of seeing our rivals there ahead of us. The
English consider Herat the key to India, and are determined that we
shall not possess it. We don't care much for it anyway, but are
perfectly willing to place it beneath the sheltering wings of the Black

"'When you are considering Sarakhs,' he continued, 'remember that there
are two places of that name. Old Sarakhs is a mass of ruins; only a
single building remains, and that is a tomb in which the body of Abel is
said to rest. Another tomb a few miles away is known as the tomb of
Cain, and there is a tradition that the Garden of Eden was in the
neighborhood of Sarakhs. The Russians have occupied Old Sarakhs, and
will establish a military post there of considerable importance as soon
as the railway is completed.

[Illustration: OLD SARAKHS.]

"'Old Sarakhs is near the Heri-Rud River, which here forms a dividing
line between Persia and the Turcoman country. The Persians have built a
town called New Sarakhs on their side of the river, and protected it by
a fort; they keep a small garrison there, and as we have no quarrel with
Persia, and are not likely to have, it is quite sufficient for all
purposes of peace.

"'I wish you could go with me through that country and see the effect of
the Turcoman raiding system which was continued through generations, and
has only recently come to an end. Centuries ago the valleys of the
Murghab and Heri-Rud contained a large population, and the same was the
case over a wide extent of country.

"'Ride where you will, you find the traces of irrigating canals in great
number. In the third century this region was said to contain a thousand
cities, probably an exaggeration, but indicative of the dense population
it sustained, and might still sustain. In many places the valleys of the
Murghab and Heri-Rud are several miles in width and perfectly flat.
There are ruined canals all over these wide places, showing that they
were once cultivated; they might be cultivated again and rendered
fertile as of old by the same system that was once in vogue. The country
is a desert because it is not tilled, and it is not tilled because it
has no inhabitants. Turcoman raids have made the desolation by
enslaving, killing, or driving away the people that once lived here.


"'Since the raiding ceased the Sarik Turcomans, who were formerly as
much addicted to it as any others, have turned their attention to
agriculture. They have occupied parts of the Murghab Valley near
Pul-i-Khisti and Ak Tapa, where they have cleared out the old irrigation
canals, set their ploughs and other implements at work, and seem to be
forgetting altogether their former mode of life. They have settled into
villages, but live in kibitkas in preference to houses of mud or other
solid materials. Considering their recent subjugation, they are quite
friendly with the Russians; they know we will never allow them to resume
their predatory life, but as long as they behave themselves they will
find us to be kind masters, and our military and engineering work in
their country will assure them a good market for their surplus produce.'

"I asked the gentleman to tell me the difference between Pul-i-Khisti
and Pul-i-Khatun, which we had read so much about in the newspapers, at
the time of the conflict between the Russians and Afghans.

"'Pul-i-Khatun is on the Heri-Rud or Tejend River, a few miles south of
Sarakhs. In the Persian language "pul" means bridge, and "khatun" lady,
so that Pul-i-Khatun may be translated "Bridge of the Lady." The bridge
that bears this name is said to have been erected in the time of
Tamerlane, the great conqueror, at the request of one of the ladies of
his family. It is of brick, in six arches, and has not been repaired for
a long time; the central arch is broken, but the others are in
serviceable condition.

[Illustration: PUL-I-KHISTI AND AK TAPA.]

"'Pul-i-Khisti means "Bridge of Bricks," and is over the Murghab River,
where that stream unites with the Kushk. It became famous as the scene
of the fight between the Russians and Afghans, in the early part of
1885. Each party throws the blame of the affair upon the other;
naturally enough I think the Afghans were at fault, but as I may be
prejudiced on the subject it is not worth while to discuss it.
Pul-i-Khisti is close to Penjdeh, which is nothing more than a mass of
ruins where a town once stood; the Russians may be able to make
something out of it, and the next time I go there I shouldn't be
surprised to find a strong fort.

"'The English wanted to make the boundary so that it would leave Penjdeh
in the possession of the Afghans, but we persuaded them that the place
would be safer in our hands than theirs. You will find on the map the
boundaries as they have been arranged, and as long as England keeps to
her agreement there is not likely to be any trouble. Of course we shall
faithfully abide by our promises, but one can never tell when the
treacherous Afghans will cross the boundaries and make depredations upon
our peaceful subjects. Then we will defend our rights; it is for such
defence we have built the railway on which you are now travelling, and
we shall maintain a good-sized force of troops on or near the frontier.
By means of our railways and steamers we can get to the frontier a great
deal quicker than England can possibly reach it from her capital; and if
she chooses to make war on us she will find us ready.

[Illustration: PENJDEH.]

"'With the Vladikavkaz Railway finished to Petrovsk on the Caspian, and
the Trans-Caspian Railway completed to Sarakhs, we could bring troops
from Moscow to the latter point inside of a week. There would only be
the crossing of the Caspian, which is little more than a ferry, between
Petrovsk and Mikhailovsk, to break the continuous journey by rail. From
Sarakhs to Herat, as I before said, is about two hundred miles, which
could be covered in two or three weeks by a Russian army. We think we
can get to Herat more quickly than England can in case of war, but let
us all hope that the necessity for the experiment may never come.'"

Fred thought there was a confident smile on the face of the Russian as
he pronounced the above words. It was very evident that the Russians in
Central Asia had an abiding faith in their ability to take care of
themselves in case of a conflict with England.

While conversing with another officer, the youths ascertained that he
had accompanied the first Russian expedition to the Merv Oasis, or
rather the expedition that converted that stronghold of the Turcomans
into Russian territory, with the loss of only one man. The gentleman
said the Oasis was watered by the Murghab, which practically terminated
there; the river was diverted into a great number of little streams, and
the country included in these streams formed the Oasis. The Mervis were
more peaceable than their fellow Turcomans, but very jealous of
strangers, and not willing to admit anybody to their limited territory.

They had a fort larger and stronger than the one against which
Skobeleff's army was nearly shattered to pieces at Geok Tepé; it was an
enclosure with high, thick walls of mud, and large enough to hold the
whole population with their flocks and herds. The Oasis is about one
hundred and twenty miles from Askabad and ninety from the nearest point
on the Tejend; it was formerly incorporated with the surrounding
provinces of Turkestan, but for many years has been independent.


"We wanted Merv," said the Russian officer to whom allusion has just
been made, "but we didn't want to fight for it; so we resorted to
diplomacy, and through the skill of General Komaroff and Colonel
Alikhanoff, aided by a few others who were in the secret, we came into
peaceful possession of the place. I have no doubt the Mervis are all
very glad we are there, now that the thing has been done.

"Colonel Alikhanoff went from Askabad to Merv in company with a Russian
merchant who had a dozen camels laden with goods. They remained there a
fortnight, and then returned safely, accompanied by several delegates
from the Mervis who wished to consult with the Russian commander at
Askabad about some camels that had been stolen from them by the
Persians. The delegates were kindly received, and went home with a
favorable report which ultimately led to the occupation of Merv by a
small force of Russian cavalry and infantry. A fort was built, and a
bazaar opened for the exchange of Russian goods for the products of the
Oasis, and ever since then the Russians and Mervis have been on terms of
friendship. Of course there were some of the Mervis who opposed the
advent of our soldiers, but they are now our earnest advocates, and
would be the last to ask us to leave.


"Merv is about two hundred and forty miles from Herat, and if we should
ever be obliged to march against that Afghan stronghold, the Oasis will
be an excellent point to start from after accumulating the necessary
stores and material of war. It promises to be a good centre of trade,
and its importance was easy to comprehend when the English Government
made such a fuss as it did about our taking it.

"Before we were established there," continued the officer, "an English
newspaper correspondent, Edmund O'Donovan, went to Merv by way of
Persia, and lived in the Oasis for five months. At first the people
treated him coldly, but he gradually won their confidence and convinced
them of his friendliness. They made him one of their elders, and
appointed him to a place on the Governing Council; he has told the story
of his residence among these strange people in an interesting volume
entitled 'The Merv Oasis.'

"One of the most remarkable journeys ever made on the Turcoman steppes,"
said the gentleman in conclusion, "was accomplished by another newspaper
correspondent, an American named MacGahan, during the campaign against
Khiva in 1873. Without an escort, and accompanied only by a servant and
two guides, he started from Fort Peroffsky, on the Jaxartes or Syr Darya
River, near the Aral Sea, to overtake General Kaufmann's army, that had
gone to the attack of Khiva. Its exact whereabouts were unknown; he had
eight or ten days of desert travel before him, and if he had fallen into
the hands of the Turcomans or Kirghese who roam over the desert, his
fate would have been certain death.

"The Russians at Fort Peroffsky refused to allow him to start, as they
considered it impossible for him to make the journey, and he was obliged
to slip out of the place in the night. He had several narrow escapes,
but managed to get through all right and join General Kaufmann's column
just as the fighting before Khiva began. The officers told him the
chances of his getting across the desert with his life were not more
than one in a hundred. He remained with our army till the end of the
Khivan campaign, and every officer who knew him felt that he had lost a
personal friend when the news of MacGahan's death came a few years
later. The story of his adventures is told in his book--'Campaigning on
the Oxus and the Fall of Khiva.'

"In 1875 a similar journey was made by Captain Burnaby, an English
officer of the Guards. He has given an admirable account of his
experience in a book entitled, 'A Ride to Khiva.'"

"Conversation such as this," writes Fred in his journal, "beguiled the
tediousness of the ride over the flat and desolate region through which
the railway passes. At the few oases where we stopped, we saw little
villages of Turcomans, but they were so much alike that the descriptions
you have already read will answer for them all. At Kizil Arvat we found
an oasis containing altogether half a dozen square miles of tillable
land, on which were several Turcoman villages, and a Russian town of
perhaps a thousand inhabitants.

"We call the town Russian from the flag that waves over it, rather than
from the nationality of those who live in it. They are Russians,
Turcomans, Kirghese, Persians, Armenians, and Jews, and I don't know how
many other races and kinds of people. There is a good deal of commerce,
mostly in the hands of Armenians and Russians, but much less than when
the railway terminated here. The business of Merv and the Penjdeh
district is at the end of the railway; in this respect the commerce of
Central Asia is much like that of our far-western country, and changes
its base with each change of the means of transport.

[Illustration: TURCOMAN FARM-YARD.]

"There is a fort at Kizil Arvat, and also a bazaar, and we are told that
Askabad is similarly provided. Whenever the Russians establish
themselves in any part of Turkestan, they build a fort and a bazaar
side by side. Hardly has the army pitched its tents before the shops are
opened and the natives are invited to come in and trade. All who come
are kindly treated; in a little time whatever hesitation the natives may
have possessed is gone, and the cheapness of the goods on sale converts
the former enemies into friends. There is no doubt that Russia
thoroughly understands the Asiatic nature, and deals with it


"Most of our return journey to Mikhailovsk was made in the night, which
we did not specially regret, where so much of the route was through the
uninteresting desert. We were told that when the railway was started, it
was intended to make a narrow-gauge line that would be taken up as soon
as the capture of Geok Tepé had been accomplished. But the undertaking
had not gone far before the plans were changed and a well-built railway,
on the standard gauge of Russia, was the result. The line is well
equipped with cars, and at no distant day will form a link in the
overland route from England to India.

"When the Russian and Indian lines form a connection near Herat or
Candahar, the Vladikavkaz Railway will be completed to Petrovsk, on the
Caspian. The traveller may then go from London to Bombay or Calcutta in
nine or ten days. His entire journey will be made by rail, with the
exception of the passages of the English channel and the Caspian Sea,
the former requiring two hours, and the latter an entire day. Russia is
already talking of an extension of the line from Tsaritsin, along the
lower Volga and around the northern end of the Caspian to a connection
with the Trans-Caspian Railway. Should this line be made, the journey to
India would be wholly a land route, with the exception of 'The Silver
Streak,' between Dover and Calais."

While our friends are musing on the possibilities of the railway to
India, and its benefits to commerce and civilization, they have
recrossed the Caspian and are once more in the Petrolia of Europe. And
now behold them seated in a train of the Trans-Caucasian Railway for a
ride to Tiflis and the Black Sea.

A letter in the _New York Herald_ of April 19, 1886, says:

     "The Russians have established a military and naval station at Novi
     Golfe, on the Caspian, twenty-two versts north-west of Mikhailovsk,
     and connected it with the latter point by railway. In case of war
     with England, the Russians are prepared to strike heavy blows in
     Asia. They have two army corps in the Caucasus, and another in
     Turkestan ready for service on their south-eastern frontier. The
     vessels of the Kavkas and Mercury Steamship Company, Noble's
     naphtha fleet, and the Greek and Armenian vessels on the Caspian
     (which all fly the Russian flag), would be immediately pressed into
     the service. The Russians believe that, barring bad weather, they
     could, with these steamers and a number of sailing-vessels in
     tow, transport sixty thousand men across the Caspian from
     Astrachan, Baku, and Petrovsk to Novi Golfe and Mikhailovsk in
     three days.


     "The Russians would thus dispose of about one hundred and fifteen
     thousand men--Army of the Caucasus, sixty thousand; Turkestan,
     thirty thousand; and fifteen thousand Turcoman auxiliaries. These
     latter will supply the advance of the Russian columns heading
     southward from Askabad and Merv.

     "The Russians have shown great tact and cleverness in the
     management of their Turcoman subjects. There is at Merv a skeleton
     army, or _cadre_, of three hundred Turcomans, under the command of
     a Cossack officer named Kalotine. Of the three hundred, one hundred
     are from Merv, one hundred are Tekkes, and the remainder from other
     tribes. These men (irregular horse) remain in the service six
     months. During that time they are paid twenty-five roubles a month,
     and at its expiration are discharged with the rank of sergeant, but
     remain liable to military duty in time of war. This plan was
     adopted to secure good native non-commissioned officers for the
     fifteen regiments of irregular cavalry. The son of the last Khan of
     Merv is now a Russian sergeant. Ten native Turcomans hold the rank
     of captain in the Russian army, and four that of lieutenant,
     besides which many decorations have been given to those who took
     part in Alikhanoff's foray.

     "The construction of the railway between Askabad and Merv presented
     great difficulties, on account of the absence of water in many
     places. To overcome this, artesian wells were dug. The width and
     current of the Tegend-Bud necessitated an iron bridge at Kara-Bend.
     The Trans-Caspian Railway is built upon the model of the
     Trans-Caucasian one, the stations on both being near together,
     solidly built and comfortable. There are sixteen stations between
     Mikhailovsk and Askabad (four hundred and twenty-two versts).

  _Mikhailovsk to_
  Mallakara            22 Versts.
  Bala Ischen          35    "
  Aidin                29    "
  Paraval              15    "
  Atchai-Komm          16    "
  Kasandjik            31    "
  Ossausan             16    "
  Ouchak               23    "
  Kizil-Arvat          30    "
  Koteh                28    "
  Barni                24    "
  Arolman              30    "
  Baharden             30    "
  Keli-Atta            27    "
  Geok-Tepé            25    "
  Besmeni              21    "
  Askabad              20    "

[Illustration: A NATIVE TRAVELLER.]



For fifty miles after leaving Baku the railway follows the coast of the
Caspian Sea until it reaches Alayat, where the Government is
establishing a port that promises to be of considerable importance at no
distant day. The country is a desert dotted with salt lakes, and here
and there a black patch indicating a petroleum spring. The only
vegetation is the camel-thorn bush, and much of the ground is so sterile
that not even this hardy plant can grow. Very little rain falls here,
and sometimes there is not a drop of it for several months together.

At Alayat the railway turns inland, traversing a desert region where
there are abundant indications of petroleum; in fact all the way from
Baku to Alayat petroleum could be had for the boring, and at the latter
place several wells have been successfully opened, though the low price
of the oil stands in the way of their profitable development. After
leaving the desert, a region of considerable fertility is reached. The
streams flowing down from the mountains are utilized for purposes of
irrigation, but very rudely; under a careful system of cultivation the
valley of the Kura River, which the railway follows to Tiflis, could
support a large population.

From Baku to Tiflis by railway is a distance of three hundred and
forty-one miles, and the line is said to have cost, including rolling
stock, about fifty thousand dollars a mile. In the work on the desert
portion many of the laborers died from the effects of the extreme
dryness of the atmosphere. The whole distance from Baku to Batoum, on
the Black Sea, is five hundred and sixty-one miles.


Tiflis is thirteen hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea,
and the point where the railway reaches its greatest elevation is
eighteen hundred feet higher, or thirty-two hundred feet in all. The
grades are very steep; there is one stretch of eight miles where it is
two hundred and forty feet to the mile, and for a considerable distance
it exceeds one hundred feet to the mile. It is proposed to overcome the
steepest grade by a long tunnel which would reduce the highest elevation
to little more than two thousand feet.

Our friends reached Tiflis in the evening, after an interesting ride, in
spite of the monotony of the desert portion of the route. Frank will
tell us the story of their visit to the famous city of the Caucasus.

"We were somewhat disappointed," said he, "with our first view of
Tiflis. We had an impression that it was in the centre of a fertile
plain surrounded by mountains; actually the ground on which it stands
is not fertile, and the surroundings consist of brown hills instead of
mountains. The sides of the hills are barren, and there would hardly be
a shrub or tree in the city were it not for the system of irrigation
which is maintained. The prettiest part of the city is the quarter
occupied by the Germans, where there are rows and groups of trees and a
great many luxuriant gardens. The Germans are descended from some who
came here in the last century to escape religious persecution. Though
born in Tiflis and citizens of Russia, in every sense they preserve
their language and customs, and do not mingle freely with their
Muscovite neighbors.

"There are about one hundred and ten thousand inhabitants in Tiflis;
nearly one-third are Russians, rather more than a third Armenians,
twenty-three thousand Georgians, and the rest are Germans, Persians, and
mixed races in general. Most of the business is in the hands of the
Armenians, and many of them are wealthy; nearly all speak Russian, and
mingle with the Russians more harmoniously than do any of the others.
The Persians live in a quarter by themselves, and it is by no means the
cleanest part of the city. The Georgians preserve their dress and
language, and, though entirely peaceful, are said to maintain the same
hatred to Russia as when fighting to preserve their independence.

"Many of the officials in the Caucasus are Armenians, and some of the
ablest generals of the Russian army belong to the same race. Gen. Loris
Melikoff is an Armenian, and so are Generals Lazareff and Tergoukasoff,
as well as others of less importance. The Armenians have four newspapers
at Tiflis, and four monthly reviews. There are nearly a million of these
people in Russia and the Caucasus, and their treatment is in marked
contrast to that of the eight hundred thousand Armenian subjects of
Turkey who have been most cruelly oppressed by the Sultan and his

"We had read of the beauty of the Georgians, who used to sell their
daughters to be the wives of the Turks, and naturally looked around us
for handsome faces. We saw them among the men as well as among the
women; and we saw more handsome men than women, perhaps for the reason
that men were much more numerous. The Georgians are a fine race of
people, and so are all the natives of the Caucasus. The mountain air all
the world over has a reputation for developing strength and intelligence
among those who breathe it.

"Since the occupation of Georgia and the other parts of the Caucasus by
Russia, the people are no longer sold as slaves for Turkish masters.
Whatever may be the faults of the Russian rule, it is certainly far in
advance of that of Turkey.

[Illustration: VIEW OF TIFLIS.]

"Tiflis may be said to be in two parts, the old and the new. The former
is on the bank of the river, and its streets are narrow and dirty; the
new part is on higher ground, and has been chiefly built by the Russians
since they obtained possession of the country. In this part the streets
are wide, and lined with many handsome buildings; in the old part there
are several Armenian churches and caravansaries, and the greater portion
of the commerce is transacted there.

"We saw a great many Russian soldiers, and were told that a large
garrison is always maintained in Tiflis, which is a central point from
which troops can be sent in any direction. The Government offices and
the palace of the Governor-general are in the Russian quarter, and of
course there are plenty of Russian churches, with their gilded domes
sparkling in the sunlight.

"We visited one of the churches, and also the Armenian Cathedral; we
tried to see the interior of a mosque, but were forbidden admittance
except on payment of more money than we chose to give. We drove to the
hot baths, which are situated just outside the city; they are largely
patronized, and have an excellent reputation for the relief of gout,
rheumatism, and similar troubles. There are many hot springs in the
neighborhood of Tiflis that have been flowing for centuries, without any
change in temperature or volume.

"We wanted to go overland to Vladikavkaz, for the sake of the journey
among the Caucasus, but our plans were otherwise, and we continued by
railway to Batoum. The mountains of this range are as picturesque as any
we have ever seen. The passes are like those of the Alps or the Sierra
Nevadas, and as we wound along the line of railway to the crest of the
divide, every moment revealed a new and splendid picture. We had distant
views of Elburz and Ararat, two of the most famous mountains of this
region, and greatly regretted our inability to visit the latter, which
is revered as the resting-place of Noah's Ark. Mount Ararat has been
ascended by several travellers; they describe the journey as very
fatiguing, but were amply repaid by the magnificent view from the

"We left Tiflis dry and dusty, and the dry air remained with us till we
crossed the ridge and began our descent. Then we entered the clouds, and
as we passed below their level found ourselves in a pouring rain. The
western slope of the Caucasus is a rainy region, while the eastern is
dry. Baku has too little rain, and Batoum too much; the western slope is
luxuriant, while the eastern is an arid desert, and the fertility of the
former continues down to the shore of the Black Sea.


"Grapes and melons were offered at every station, at prices that were
a marvel of cheapness. Two cents would buy a large melon, and the same
money was gladly accepted for a bunch of grapes which would furnish a
dinner for a very hungry man. A great deal of wine is raised in this
region; three hundred thousand acres are said to be devoted to the
culture of the grape in the Caucasus, and about forty million gallons of
wine are made annually. Wine is plenty and cheap; the Russians refuse to
drink the wine of the Caucasus, just as Californians affect to despise
that of their own State. We are told that a large part of the so-called
foreign wine sold in Tiflis and other cities of the Caucasus is really
the product of the country under fictitious labels.


"We have already mentioned the use of petroleum in the locomotives of
the Trans-Caucasian Railway. Where we stopped for fuel and water the
petroleum-tank was side by side with the water-tank, and there was no
sign of wood-yard or coal-heap. A few minutes charged the tender with
petroleum and water, in separate compartments, and then we moved on,
just as on any other railway line.

"It is delightful riding behind a petroleum locomotive, as there are
neither cinders nor smoke. After the fire is started the furnace door is
not opened; the fireman regards the flame through a hole about two
inches square, and regulates it just as may be desired. They told us
that steam could be more evenly maintained than with coal or wood; there
was no excess of steam while waiting at stations, and consequently no
necessity for 'blowing off.' Wonder what railway in America will be the
first to adopt the new fuel?

"The Trans-Caucasian Railway was begun in 1871; its starting-point was
at Poti, which has a poor harbor and stands in marshy ground, so that
fevers and malaria are altogether too common. In 1878 Russia came into
possession of Batoum, which has a good harbor, and immediately a branch
line sixty miles long was built from that city to connect with the
railway. Now nearly all the business has gone to Batoum. Poti is
decaying very rapidly, but for military reasons it is not likely to be

"By the treaty of Berlin Batoum was made a free port, and the Russians
were forbidden to fortify it; but they have kept the Turkish
fortifications, and not only kept them uninjured, but have repaired
them whenever there were signs of decay. On this subject the following
story is told:

"The casemated fortress which commands the port required to be
strengthened in certain points, and the contractors were asked for
estimates for the work. One man presented an estimate which he headed
'Repairs to Fortifications.' The general commanding the district
immediately sent for the contractor, and said to him,

"'There are no fortifications in Batoum; they are forbidden by the
treaty of Berlin. Your estimates must be for "garrison-barrack repairs."
Remember this in all your dealings with the Government.'


"We were only a few hours in Batoum, as we embraced the opportunity to
embark on one of the Russian Company's steamers for Sebastopol and
Odessa. Batoum is growing very rapidly, and promises to be a place of
great importance in a very few years. The old town of the Turks has
given place to a new one; the Russians have destroyed nearly all the
rickety old buildings, laid out whole streets and avenues of modern
ones, extended the piers running into the sea, drained the marshes that
formerly made the place unhealthy, and in other ways have displayed
their enterprise. We were told that there is a great deal of smuggling
carried on here, but probably no more than at Gibraltar, Hong-Kong, and
other free ports in other parts of the world.


"And now behold us embarked on a comfortable steamer, and bidding
farewell to the Caucasus. Our steamer belongs to the Russian Company of
Navigation and Commerce, which has its headquarters at Odessa; it sends
its ships not only to the ports of the Black Sea, but to the Levantine
coast of the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal to India, and through
the Strait of Gibraltar to England. A line to New York and another to
China and Japan are under consideration; it is probable that the latter
will be established before the Trans-Atlantic one. The company owns more
than a hundred steamers, and is heavily subsidized by the Russian

The first stop of the steamer was made at Trebizond, the most important
port of Turkey, on the southern coast of the Black Sea. It has a
population of about fifty thousand, and carries on an extensive commerce
with Persia and the interior of Asiatic Turkey. Latterly its commerce
has suffered somewhat by the opening of the Caspian route from Russia
to Persia, but it is still very large.

Frank and Fred had two or three hours on shore at Trebizond, which
enabled them to look at the walls and gardens of this very ancient city.
Frank recorded in his note-book that Trebizond was the ancient
Trapezius, and that it was a flourishing city at the time of Xenophon's
famous retreat, which every college boy has read about in the
"Anabasis." It was captured by the Romans when they defeated
Mithridates. The Emperor Trajan tried to improve the port by building a
mole, and made the city the capital of Cappadocian Pontus.


The Trebizond of to-day consists of the old and new town, the former
surrounded by walls enclosing the citadel, and the latter without walls
and extending back over the hills. It has two harbors, both of them
unsafe at certain seasons of the year. A few millions of the many that
Turkey has spent in the purchase of cannon and iron-clad ships of war
would make the port of Trebizond one of the best on the coast of the
Black Sea.

Great numbers of camels, pack-horses, and oxen were receiving or
discharging their loads at the warehouses near the water-front. Fred
ascertained on inquiry that there were no wagon-roads to Persia or the
interior of Asiatic Turkey, but that all merchandise was carried on the
backs of animals. One authority says sixty thousand pack-horses, two
thousand camels, three thousand oxen, and six thousand donkeys are
employed in the Persian trade, and the value of the commerce exceeds
seven million dollars per annum.

[Illustration: VIEW OF ERZEROOM.]

"We are only a hundred and ten miles from Erzeroom," said Fred, "the
city of Turkish Armenia, which is well worth seeing. Wouldn't it be fun
to go there and have a look at a place that stands more than a mile in
the air?"

"Is that really so?" Frank asked; "more than a mile in the air?"

"Yes," replied his cousin, "Erzeroom is six thousand two hundred feet
above the level of the sea, and two hundred feet higher than the plain
which surrounds it. It had a hundred thousand inhabitants at the
beginning of this century, but now has about a third of that number,
owing to the emigration of the Armenians after the war between Turkey
and Russia in 1829. It is frightfully cold in winter and terribly hot in
summer, but for all that the climate is healthy."

"How long will it take us to get there?"

"About fifty hours," was the reply. "We must go on horseback, but can
return in forty hours, as the road descends a great part of the way from
Erzeroom to Trebizond. Isn't it strange that with such an immense trade
as there is between that place and this--for the road to Persia passes
through Erzeroom--the Turks have been content with a bridle-path instead
of a wagon-road, or, better still, a railway. Besides--"

Further discussion of the road to Erzeroom and the possibilities of
travelling it were cut short by the announcement that it was time to
return to the steamer. An hour later our friends saw the coast of
Asiatic Turkey fading in the distance, as the steamer headed for
Southern Russia.

Her course was laid for Sebastopol, the city which is famous for the
long siege it sustained during the Crimean war, and for possessing the
finest natural harbor on the Black Sea. Doctor Bronson suggested that
the youths should dispose of the time of the voyage by reading up the
history of that celebrated war, and particularly of the siege and
capture of Sebastopol.

The weather was fine enough to tempt them to idleness, but Frank and
Fred had a rule that when they had anything to do they would do it.
Accordingly they busied themselves with the books at their command, and
made the following condensed account of the contest of Russia with the
nations of Western Europe:

"The Crimea was conquered by Russia in the time of Catherine the Great,
and immediately after the conquest the Russians began to fortify the
harbor of Sebastopol (Sacred City). When they went there they found only
a miserable Tartar village called Akhtiar; they created one of the
finest naval and military ports in the world, and built a city with
broad streets and handsome quays and docks. In 1850 it had a population
of about fifty thousand, which included many soldiers and marines,
together with workmen employed in the Government establishments.

"In 1850 there was a dispute between France and Russia relative to the
custody of the holy places in Palestine; there had been a contention
concerning this matter for several centuries, in which sometimes the
Greek Church and sometimes the Latin had the advantage. In 1850, at the
suggestion of Turkey, a mixed commission was appointed to consider the
dispute and decide upon it.

"The Porte, as the Turkish Government is officially designated, issued
in March, 1852, a decree that the Greek Church should be confirmed in
the rights it formerly held, and that the Latins could not claim
exclusive possession of any of the holy places. It allowed them to have
a key to the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, and to certain other
buildings of minor importance.

[Illustration: TURKISH AUTHORITY.]

"If you want to know how the Christian churches are now quarrelling
about the sacred places in the East, read Chapters XXII., XXIII., and
XXIV. of 'The Boy Travellers in Egypt and the Holy Land.'

"France accepted the decision, though she did not like it; Russia
continued to demand that the Latin monks should be deprived of their
keys, and finally insisted that the Czar should have a protectorate over
the Greek Christians in Turkey. The Porte said such a protectorate
would interfere with its own authority, and refused the demand;
thereupon the Russian Minister left Constantinople on the 21st of May,

"This may be considered the beginning of the war between Russia and
Turkey, though there was no fighting for several months.

"France came to the aid of Turkey; England came to the aid of Turkey and
France. Representatives of England, France, Austria, and Prussia met at
Vienna and agreed upon a note which Russia accepted; Turkey demanded
modifications which Russia refused; Turkey declared war against Russia
on the 5th of October, and Russia declared war against Turkey on the 1st
of November.

"A Turkish fleet of twelve ships was lying at Sinope, a port on the
southern shore of the Black Sea. On the 30th of November the Russians
sent a fleet of eleven ships from Sebastopol which destroyed the Turkish
fleet, all except one ship that carried the news to Constantinople. Then
the allied fleets of the French and English entered the Black Sea, and
the war began in dead earnest. For some months it was confined to the
Danubian principalities and to the Baltic Sea; on the 14th of September,
1854, the allied army landed at Eupatoria, in the Crimea, and the extent
of their preparations will be understood when it is known that forty
thousand men, with a large number of horses and a full equipment of
artillery, were put on shore in a single day!

"On the 20th of September the battle of the Alma was fought by
fifty-seven thousand English, French, and Turkish troops, against fifty
thousand Russians. The battle began at noon, and four hours later the
Russians were defeated and in full retreat. The Russians lost five
thousand men, and the Allies about three thousand four hundred; the
Allies might have marched into Sebastopol with very little resistance,
but their commanders were uncertain as to the number of troops defending
the city, and hesitated to make the attempt.

"On the 17th of October the siege began. A grand attack was made by the
Allies, but was unsuccessful, and eight days later the famous charge of
the Light Brigade at Balaklava was made. On the 5th of November the
Russians attacked the Allies at Inkermann, and were repulsed. The battle
of Inkermann was fought in a fog by forty thousand Russians against
fifteen thousand French and English. The latter had the advantage of
position and weapons; the Allies frankly credited the Russian troops
with the greatest bravery in returning repeatedly to the attack as their
battalions were mowed down by the steady fire of the defenders.

"During the winter the siege was pushed, and the allied army suffered
greatly from cholera, cold, and sickness. The siege continued during
spring and summer; the Allies made an unsuccessful attack on the
Malakoff and Redan forts on the 18th of June, 1855, and all through the
long months there were daily conflicts between the opposing armies.

"The Russians sunk several ships of their fleet in the harbor of
Sebastopol soon after the battle of the Alma, but retained others for
possible future use. On the 8th of September the French captured the
Malakoff fort, the English at the same time making an unsuccessful
attack on the Redan. The Russians evacuated Sebastopol during the night,
crossing over to the north side of the harbor, burning or sinking their
fleet, and destroying their military stores.

"This gave the Allies the possession of the city, and though the two
armies confronted each other for some time, there was never any serious
fighting after that. Other warlike operations were conducted along the
Russian shores of the Black Sea. Proposals of peace were made by Austria
with the consent of the Allies, and finally, on the 30th of March, 1856,
the treaty of peace was signed at Paris. The Allies had begun the
destruction of the docks at Sebastopol, but so extensive were those
works that with all the engineering skill at their command they were not
through with it until July 9th, when they evacuated the Crimea."

"Will that do for a condensed history of the Crimean War?" said Frank,
as the result of their labors was submitted to the Doctor.

"It will do very well," was the reply. "Perhaps some of your
school-mates who are not fond of history may be inclined to skip, but I
think the majority of readers will thank you for giving it."

"Perhaps they would like a few words on the war between Turkey and
Russia in 1877-78," said Fred. "If you think so we will give it."

Doctor Bronson approved the suggestion, and an hour or two later Fred
submitted the following:

"In 1875 and '76 there were disturbances in Constantinople and in
several provinces of European Turkey. The Sultan of Turkey was deposed,
and either committed suicide or was murdered. There were revolts in
Herzegovina and Bulgaria, and the troops sent to suppress these revolts
committed many outrages. Servia and Montenegro made war upon Turkey on
behalf of the Christian subjects of the Porte; Russia came to the
support of Servia and Montenegro. There was a vast deal of diplomacy, in
which all the great powers joined, and on several occasions it looked as
though half of Europe would be involved in the difficulty.

[Illustration: VIEW OF SEBASTOPOL.]

"Turkey and Servia made peace on March 1, 1877. The principal nations of
Europe held a conference, and made proposals for reforms in Turkey
which the Porte rejected. Russia declared war against Turkey April 24,
1877, and immediately entered the Turkish dominions in Roumania and


"The war lasted until March 3, 1878, when a treaty of peace was made at
San Stefano, near Constantinople. Many battles were fought during the
war, and the losses were heavy on both sides; the severest battles were
those of the Shipka Pass and of Plevna. The fortune of war fluctuated,
but on the whole the successes were on the side of Russia, and her
armies finally stood ready to enter Constantinople. Her losses were said
to have been fully one hundred thousand men, and the cost of the war was
six hundred million dollars.

"After the war came the Berlin Conference of 1878, which gave
independence to some of the countries formerly controlled by Turkey,
made new conditions for the government of others, regulated the
boundaries between Russia and Turkey, giving the former several ports
and districts of importance, and required the Porte to guarantee certain
rights and privileges to her Christian subjects. England interfered, as
she generally does, to prevent Russia from reaping the full advantages
she expected from the war, and altogether the enterprise was a very
costly one for the government of the Czar."

"A very good summary of the war," said the Doctor. "You have disposed of
an important phase of the 'Eastern Question' with a brevity that some of
the diplomatic writers would do well to study. You might add that for
two centuries Russia has had her eye on Constantinople, and is
determined to possess it; England is equally determined that Russia
shall not have her way, and the other powers are more in accord with
England than with Russia."

The steamer entered the harbor of Sebastopol, and made fast to the dock.
Frank and Fred observed that the port was admirably defended by forts at
the entrance. Doctor Bronson told them the forts which stood there in
1854 were destroyed by the Allies after the capture of the city, but
they have since been rebuilt and made stronger than ever before.

As they neared the forts that guard the entrance of the harbor, a
Russian officer who was familiar with the locality pointed out several
objects of interest. "On the left," said he, "that pyramid on the low
hill indicates the battle-field of Inkermann; still farther on the left
is the valley of the Alma; those white dots near the Inkermann pyramid
mark the site of the British cemetery, and close by it is the French
one. In front of you and beyond the harbor is the mound of the Malakoff,
and beyond it are the Redan and the Mamelon Vert. Those heaps of ruins
are the walls of the Marine Barracks and Arsenal; they are rapidly
disappearing in the restoration that has been going on since 1871, and
in a few years we hope to have them entirely removed."

There was quite a crowd at the landing-place, variously composed of
officers, soldiers, and mujiks; the former for duty or curiosity, and
the mujiks scenting a possible job. Our friends proceeded directly to
the hotel, which was only two or three hundred yards from the
landing-place. As soon as they had selected their rooms and arranged the
terms for their accommodation, Dr. Bronson told the proprietor that they
wished a carriage and a guide as soon as possible. A messenger was
despatched at once for the carriage, while the guide was summoned from
another part of the house.

"I suppose you will go first to the cemetery," said the host of the

"We don't care for the cemetery," said the Doctor, "until we have seen
everything else. If there is any time remaining, we may have a look at

"Then you are Americans," exclaimed the landlord. "All Englishmen coming
here want to go first to the cemetery as they have friends buried there,
but Americans never care for it."

Doctor Bronson smiled at this mode of ascertaining the nationality of
English-speaking visitors, and said it had been remarked by previous
visitors to Sebastopol.


When the guide and carriage were ready, the party started on its round
of visits. From the bluff they looked down upon the harbor, which was
lined with workshops and bordered in places by a railway track, arranged
so that ships were laden directly from the trains, and trains from the
ships. The railway connects with the entire system of the Empire. Doctor
Bronson said that if it had existed at the time of the war, the capture
of Sebastopol would have been out of the question. Russia had then only
a primitive means of communication by wagon-road; she had an abundance
of men and war material, but no adequate mode of transportation. The
Crimean war taught her the necessity of railways, and she has since
acted upon the lesson for which she paid such a high price.


Frank and Fred climbed quickly to the top of the Malakoff, and the
Doctor followed demurely behind them. The lines which marked the saps
and mines of the Allies have been nearly all filled up, and the traces
of the war are being obliterated. From the top of the casemate the guide
pointed out many places of interest. With considerable animation he
told how for twenty years after the war the ruins of the city remained
pretty nearly as they were when the Allies evacuated the Crimea; whole
squares of what had once been fine buildings were nothing but heaps of
stones. But now Sebastopol is being restored to her former beauty, and
every year large areas of the ruins are making way for new structures.

"Sebastopol will be a greater city than it ever was before," said Doctor
Bronson, as they stood on the Malakoff. "It was a naval port before, and
not a commercial one; now it is both naval and commercial, and by
glancing at the map of the Black Sea you can perceive the advantages of
its position."

Then the guide pointed out the new dock-yards and barracks, the
warehouses and docks of "The Russian Company of Navigation and
Commerce," the railway-station close to the shore of the harbor, and the
blocks of new buildings which were under construction.

Then he showed the positions of Inkermann, the Tchernaya, and the Redan,
and indicated the lines of the French and English attack. When the scene
had been sufficiently studied, the party returned to the carriage and
continued their ride. The driver was instructed to go to Balaklava,
stopping on the way to show them the spot which history has made famous
for the charge of the Light Brigade.

As they passed along the level plateau or plain of Sebastopol, they saw
everywhere traces of the camps of the armies that besieged the city. The
guide showed the route of the railway which connected the harbor of
Balaklava with the camp, the wagon-roads built by the Allies, the
redoubts that served as defences against attacks in the rear, and the
ridges of earth which marked the positions of the huts where officers
and soldiers had their quarters during the terrible winter of 1854-55.

Naturally the conversation turned upon the charge of the Light Brigade.
One of the youths asked the Doctor what he thought of it.

"There has been a great deal of controversy about the matter," was the
reply. "It is difficult to arrive at the exact facts, as Captain Nolan,
who brought the order for the cavalry to advance, was killed in the
charge. Comparing the statements of all concerned in issuing, receiving,
and executing the order, it is evident that the order was 'blundered'
somewhere. This was the understanding immediately after the controversy;
Tennyson's poem on the affair originally contained the following:

  "'Then up came an order
    Which some one had blundered.'

Afterwards these lines were stricken out, and do not appear in the poem
as printed in the editions of Tennyson's works.


"The commander of the French army justly remarked of this charge,
_'C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre_' ("It is magnificent,
but it is not war"). Twelve thousand Russians had attacked the English
with the intention of taking Balaklava and its port, but they were
compelled to retire to the end of the valley. They had re-formed, with
their artillery in front, and infantry and cavalry immediately behind.
By the misunderstanding of the order of Lord Raglan, the British
commander-in-chief, Lord Lucan, who commanded the cavalry division,
ordered Lord Cardigan to charge with his light cavalry.

"In other words the light cavalry, six hundred and seventy strong, were
to attack twelve thousand Russians with thirty cannon on their front.
The charge was over a plain a mile and a half long, and the Russians had
a battery of field artillery on each side of the valley within
supporting distance of that at the end. Consequently there is an
excellent description of the scene in Tennyson's lines,

  "'Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
  Cannon in front of them,
    Volley'd and thunder'd.'

"The charge was made very reluctantly by Lord Cardigan, as you may well
believe, but he had no alternative other than to obey the order of his
superior. There was never a more brilliant charge. The column advanced
at a trot for the first half of the distance, and afterwards at a
gallop; the Russian cannon made huge gaps in the ranks, but they were
closed up, and on and on swept the heroes, up to and beyond the Russian

  "'Sabring the gunners there,
  Charging an army, while
    All the world wonder'd:
  Plunged in the battery-smoke,
  Right thro' the line they broke;
  Cossack and Russian
  Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
    Shatter'd and sunder'd.
  Then they rode back, but not,
    Not the six hundred.'

[Illustration: ALFRED TENNYSON.]

"According to one authority, out of six hundred and seventy British
horsemen that went to the charge, only one hundred and ninety-eight
returned. Another authority gives the total loss in killed, wounded, and
captured as four hundred and twenty-six. Five hundred and twenty horses
were lost in the charge."

"Here is Balaklava," said the guide, as the carriage stopped at a turn
in the road overlooking the valley.

Our friends stepped from the vehicle and sat down upon a little mound of
earth, where they tried to picture the scene of the dreadful October day
of 1854. Of the actors and spectators of that event very few are now

The Doctor completed the recitation of the poem, and his youthful
listeners felt down to the depths of their hearts the full force of the
closing lines:

  "Honor the brave and bold,
  Long shall the tale be told,
  Yea, when our babes are old,
    How they rode onward.
  When can their glory fade?
  O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wonder'd.
  Honor the charge they made!
  Honor the Light Brigade!
    Noble six hundred!"

From the battle-field the party went to the village of Balaklava and
hired a row-boat, in which they paddled about the little, landlocked
harbor, and out through its entrance till they danced on the blue waters
of the Euxine Sea. Frank and Fred could hardly believe that the narrow
basin once contained a hundred and fifty English and French ships; it
seemed that there was hardly room for a third of that number.

[Illustration: A BROKEN TARANTASSE.]

On their return journey they passed a party with a broken tarantasse.
They stopped a moment and offered any assistance in their power, but
finding they could be of no use they did not tarry long. When they
reached Sebastopol the sun had gone down in the west, and the stars
twinkled in the clear sky that domed the Crimea. The next morning they
rambled about the harbor and docks of the city, and a little past noon
were steaming away in the direction of Odessa.

A day was spent in this prosperous city, which has a population of
nearly two hundred thousand, on a spot where at the end of the last
century there was only a Tartar village of a dozen houses, and a small
fortress of Turkish construction. Odessa has an extensive commerce, and
the ships of all nations lie at its wharves. Its greatest export trade
is in wheat, which goes to all parts of the Mediterranean, and also to
England. The Black Sea wheat formerly found a market in America, but all
that has been changed in recent years through the development of the
wheat-growing interest in our Western States and on the Pacific Coast.'

Immediately on their arrival they sent their passports to receive the
proper permission for leaving the country. Everything was arranged in
the course of the day, and on the following afternoon they embarked on a
steamer that carried them to Constantinople.

[Illustration: THE BOSPORUS.]

The second morning after leaving Odessa they entered the Bosporus, the
strait which separates Europe and Asia, and connects the waters of the
Black Sea with the Sea of Marmora and the Mediterranean. As they looked
at the beautiful panorama, which shifted its scene with every pulsation
of the steamer's engine, Frank said he had had a dream during the night
which was so curious that he wanted to tell it.

"What was it?" the Doctor asked.

"I dreamed," said Frank, "that England and Russia had become friends,
and made up their minds to work together for the supremacy of the world.
England had supplied the money for completing the railway to India; she
had built a tunnel under the British Channel, and it was possible to
ride from London to Calcutta or Bombay without changing cars. The Turks
had been expelled from Europe; European Turkey was governed by a Russian
prince married to an English princess; the principality had its capital
at Constantinople, and a guarantee of neutrality like that of Belgium,
to which all the great powers had assented. War and commercial ships of
all nations could pass the Bosporus and Dardanelles as freely as through
the Suez Canal, and the restrictions made by the treaty of Paris were
entirely removed. England and Russia had formed an offensive and
defensive alliance, and all the rest of the world had been ordered to
keep the peace. And they were keeping it, too, as they dreaded the
combined power of England's money and Russia's men."

"A very pretty fancy!" said the Doctor. "What a pity it was all a



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