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and execute what they desire to accomplish, they have few equals and no superiors. Combined with these admirable traits, their wild Sclavonic blood abounds in elements which, upon great occasions, arise to the eminence of a sublime heroism. Brave and patriotic, devoted to their country and their religion, we search the pages of history in vain for a parallel to their sacrifices in the defense of both. Not even the wars of the Greeks and Romans can produce such an example of heroic devotion to the maintenance of national integrity as the burning of Moscow. When an entire people, devoted to their religion, gave up their churches and their shrines to the devouring element; when princes and nobles placed the burning brands to their palaces; when bankers, merchants, and tradesmen freely yielded up their hard-earned gains; when women and children joined the great work of destruction to deliver their country from the hands of a ruthless invader, it may well be said of that sublime flame
“Thou stand'st alone unrivall’d, till the fire,
To come, in which all empires shall expire." Truly, when we glance back at the national career of the Russians, they can not but strike us as a wonderful people. While we must condemn their cruelty and rapacity; while we can see nothing to excuse in their ferocious persecution of the Turks; while the greater part of their history is a bloody record of injustice to weaker nations, we can not but admire their indomitable courage, their intense and unalterable attachment to their brave old Czars, and their sublime devotion to their religion and their nationality.
PASSAGE TO REVEL. It was not without a feeling of regret that I took my departure from St. Petersburg. Short as my visit to Russia had been, it was full of interest. Not a single day had been idly or unprofitably spent. Indeed, I know of no country that presents so many attractions to the traveler who takes pleasure in novelties of character and peculiarities of manners and customs. The lovers of picturesque scenery will find little to gratify his taste in a mere railroad excursion to Moscow; but with ample time and means at his disposal, a journey to the Ural Mountains, or a voyage down the Volga to the Caspian Sea, would doubtless be replete with interest. For my part, much as I enjoy the natural beauties of a country through which I travel, they never afford me as much pleasure as the study of a peculiar race of people. Mere scenery, however beautiful, becomes monotonous, unless it be associated with something that gives it a varied and striking human interest. The mountains and lakes of Scotland derive their chief attractions from the wild legends of romance and chivalry so inseparably connected with them; and Switzerland would be but a dreary desert of glaciers without its history. In Russia, Nature has been less prodigal in her gifts; and the real interest of the country centres in its public institutions, the religious observances of the people, and the progress of civilization under a despotic system of government. Of these I have endeavored to give you such impressions as may be derived from a sojourn of a few weeks in Moscow and St. Petersburg — necessarily imperfect and superficial, but I trust not altogether destitute of amusing features.
On a pleasant morning in August, I called for my “rechnung” at the German gasthaus on the WasseliOstrow. The bill was complicated in proportion to its length. There was an extra charge of fifteen kopeks a day for the room over and above the amount originally specified. That was conscientious cheating, so I made no complaint. Then there was a charge for two candles when I saw but one, and always went to bed by daylight. That was customary cheating, and could not be disputed. Next came an item for beefsteaks, when, to the best of my knowledge and belief, nothing but veal cutlets, which were also duly specified, ever passed my lips in any part of Russia. Upon that I ventured a remonstrance, but gave in on the assurance that it was Russian beefsteak. I was too glad to have any ground for believing that it was not Russian dog. Next came an item for police commissions. All that work I had done myself, and therefore was entitled to demur. It appeared that a man was kept for that purpose, and when he was not employed he expected remuneration for the disappointment. Then there was an item for domestic service, when the only service rendered was to black my boots, for which I had already paid. No mat
ter; it was customary, so I gave in. Then came sundry - bottles of wine. I never drink wine. “But,” said the
proprietor, “it was on the table.” Not being able to dispute that, I abandoned the question of wine. Various ices were in the bill. I had asked for a lump of ice in a glass of water on several occasions, supposing it to be a common article in a country on the edge of the Arctic circle, but for every lump of ice the charge was ten kopeks. Upon this principle, I suppose they attach an exorbitant value to thawed water during six months of the year, when the Neva is a solid block of ice. I find that ice is an uncommonly costly luxury in Northern Europe, where there is a great deal of it. In Germany it is ranked with fresh water and other deadly poisons; in Russia it costs too much for general use; and in Norway and Sweden, where the snow-capped mountains are always in sight, the people seem to be unacquainted with the use of iced water, or, indeed, any other kind of water as a beverage in summer. They drink brandy and schnapps to keep themselves cool. However, I got through the bill at last, without loss of temper, being satisfied it was very reasonable for St. Petersburg. Having paid for every article real and imaginary; paid each servant individually for looking at me; then paid for domestic services generally; paid the proprietor for speaking his native language, which was German, and the commissioner for wearing a brass band on his cap, and bowing several times as I passed out, the whole matter was amicably concluded, and, with my knapsack on my back, I wended my way down to the steam-boat landing of the Wasseli - Ostrow. As I was about to step on board the Russian steamer bound for Revel - an eager crowd of passengers pressing in on the plankway from all sides—I was forcibly seized by the arm. Supposing it to be an arrest for some unconscious violation of the police regulations, a ghastly vision of Siberia flashed upon my mind as I turned to demand an explanation. But it was not a policeman who arrested me - it was only my friend, Herr Batz, the rope-maker, who, with a flushed face and starting eyes, gazed at me. “Where are you going ?” said he. “To Revel,” said I. Almost breathless from his struggle to get at me, he forcibly pulled me aside from the crowd, drew me close up to him, and in a hoarse whisper uttered these remarkable words: “Hempf is up! It took a rise yesterday-Zweimal zwey macht vier, und sechsmal vier macht vier und zwanzig! verstehen sie ?” “Gott im Himmel !” said I, “ you don't say so ?” “Ya, freilich !” groaned Herr Batz, hoarsely: “ Zwey tausent rubles ! verstehen sie ? Sechs und dreissig, und acht und vierzig.” “Ya! ya!” said I, grasping him cordially by the hand, for I was afraid the steamer would leave—“Adjeu, mein Herr ! adjeu!” and I darted away into the crowd. The last I
saw of the unfortunate rope-maker, he was standing on the quay, waving his red cotton handkerchief at me. As the lines were cast loose, and the steamer swung out into the river, he put both hands to his mouth, and shouted out something which the confusion of sounds prevented me from hearing distinctly. I was certain, however, that the last word that fell upon my ear was “hempf!"
The Neva at this season of the year presents a most animated and picturesque appearance. A little above the landing-place of the Baltic steamers, a magnificent bridge connects the Wasseli-Ostrow with the main part of the city, embracing the Winter Palace, the Admiralty, and the Nevskoi, generally known as the Bolshaia, or Great Side. Below this bridge, as far as the eye can reach in the direction of the Gulf of Finland, the glittering waters of the Neva are alive with various kinds of shipping-merchant vessels from all parts of the world; fishing smacks from Finland and Riga; lumber vessels from Tornea ; wood - boats from the interior; Russian and Prussian steamers; row-boats, skiffs, and fancy colored canoes, with crews and passengers representing many nations of the earth, are in perpetual motion; and while the sight is bewildered by the variety of moving objects, the ears are confounded by the strange medley of languages.
Through this confused web of obstacles, the little steamer in which I had taken passage worked her way cautiously and systematically, catching a rope here and there for a sudden swing to the right or to the left, stopping and backing from time to time, and feeling with her nose for the narrow channels of the river, till she was fairly out of danger, when, with a blast of the whistle and a heavy pressure of steam, she dashed forth into the open waters of the gulf. .
As we gradually receded, I turned to take a last look at the mighty Venice of the North. The gold-covered domes of the churches, rising high above the massive