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such a thing, neither had the young Mechlenberger, and they both agreed that cats must be a very disgusting article of food. The Russian, however, seemed to regard it as nothing uncommon, and gave us some very entertaining accounts of various curious dishes in the interior of Russia, to which cats were not a circumstance.
With such flimsy conversation as this we entertain ourselves till we reach a village of summer residences on the Kamennoi Island. Here we pause a while to enjoy the varied scenes of amusement that tempt the loiterer at every step; the tea-drinking parties out on the porticoes, the gambling saloons, the dancing pavilions, the cafés, the confectioneries, with their gay throngs of customers, their gaudy.colors, their music, and sounds of joy and revelry. A little farther on we come to a stand of carriages, and near by a gate and a large garden. For thirty kopecks apiece we procure tickets of admission. This is the Vauxhall of Kamennoi. We jostle in with the crowd, and soon find ourselves in front of an open theatre.
So passes away the time till the whistle of a little steamer warns us of an opportunity to get back to the city. Hurrying down to the wharf, we secure places on the stern-sheets of a screw-wheeled craft not much bigger than a good-sized yawl. It is crowded to overflowing-in front, on top of the machinery, in the rear, over the sides—not a square inch of space left for man or beast. The whistle blows again; the fiery little monster of an engine shivers and screams with excess of steam; the grim, black-looking engineer gives the irons a pull, and away we go at a rate of speed that threatens momentary destruction against some bridge or bath-house. It is now two o'clock A.M. The rays of the rising sun are already reflected upon the glowing waters of the Neva. Barges and row-boats are hurrying toward the city. Carriages are rolling along the shady avenues of the islands. Crowds are gathered at every pier and landing-place awaiting some conveyance homeward. Ladies are waving their handkerchiefs to the little steamer to
nd scalche boat; again; the
stop, and gentlemen are flourishing their bats. The captain blows the whistle, and the engineer stops the boat with such a sudden reversion of our screw that we are pitched forward out of the seats. Some of the passengers clamber up at the landing-places, and others clamber down and take their places. The little engine sets up its terrific scream again ; the hot steam hisses and fizzes all over the boat; involuntary thoughts of maimed limbs and scalded skins are palpably impressed upon every face; but the little steamer keeps on-she is used to it, like the eels, and never bursts up. Winding through the varied channels of the Neva, under bridges, through narrow passes, among wood-boats, row-boats, and shipping, we at length reach the landing on the Russian Quay, above the Admiralty. Here we disembark, well satisfied to be safely over all the enjoyments and hazards of the evening.
Evening, did I say? The morning sun is blazing out in all his glory! We have had no evening—no night. It has been all a wild, strange, glowing freak of fancy. The light of day has been upon us all the time. And now, should we go to bed, when the sun is shining over the city, glistening upon the domes of the churches, illuminating the windows of the palaces, awaking the drowsy sailors of the Neva ? Shall we hide ourselves away in suffocating rooms when the morning breeze is floating in from the Gulf of Finland, bearing upon its wings the invigorating brine of ocean, or shall we,
"Pleased to feel the air, Still wander in the luxury of light ?”
CHAPTER III. VIEWS ON THE MOSCOW RAILWAY. Tae St. Petersburg and Moscow Railroad has been in operation some eight or ten years, and has contributed much to the internal prosperity of the country. In the summer of 1862 it was extended as far as Vladimir, and now connects St. Petersburg with Nijni Novgorod, one of the most important points in the empire, where the great annual fair is held, where tea-merchants and others from all parts of Tartary and China meet to exchange the products of those countries with those of the merchants of Russia. During the present year (1862) it is expected that the line of railway connection will be completed from St. Petersburg to the Prussian frontier, and connect with the railroads of Prussia, so that within twelve months it will be practicable to travel by rail all the way from Marseilles or Bordeaux to Nijni Nov. gorod.
The Moscow and St. Petersburg Railway is something over four hundred miles in length, and consists of a double track, broad, well graded, and substantially constructed. The whole business of running the line, keeping the cars and track in repair, working the machine-shops, etc., embracing all the practical details of the operative department, is let out by contract to an American company, while the government supervises the financial department, and reserves to itself the municipal control.* It is a remarkable fact, characteristic of the Russians, that while they possess uncommon capacity to acquire all the details of engineering, and are by no means lacking in mechanical skill, they are utterly deficient in management and administrative capacity. Wasteful, improvident, and short-sighted, they can never do any thing without the aid of more sagacious and economical heads to keep them within the bounds of reason. Thus, at one time, when they undertook to run this line on their own account, although they started with an extraordinary surplụs of material, they soon ran the cars off their wheels, forgetting to keep up a supply of new ones as they went along; ran the engines out of working order; kept nothing in repair; provided against no contingency; and were finally likely to break down entirely, when
* This contract terminated last year (1865).
they determined that it would be better to give this branch of the business out by contract. One great fault with them is, they labor under an idea that nothing can be done without an extraordinary number, of officers, soldiers, policemen, and employés of every descriptionupon the principle, I suppose, that if two heads are better than one, the ignorance or inefficiency of a small number of employés can be remedied by having a very great number of the same kind. In other words, they seem to think that if five hundred men can not be industrious, skillful, and economical, five thousand trained in exactly the same schools, and with precisely the same propensities, must be ten times better. Even now there is not a station, and scarcely a foot of the railway from St. Petersburg to Moscow, that is not infested with an extraordinary surplus of useless men in uniform. At the great dépôts in each of these cities the traveler is fairly confused with the crowds of officers and employés through which he is obliged to make his way. Before he enters the doorways, liveried porters outside offer to take his baggage; then he passes by guards, who look at bim carefully and let him go in; then he finds guards who show him where to find the ticket-office; when he arrives at the ticket-office, he finds a guard or two outside, and half a dozen clerks inside; then he buys his ticket, and an officer examines it as he goes into the wirthsaal; there he finds other officers stationed to preserve order; when the bell rings the doors are opened ; numerous officers outside show him where to find the cars, and which car he must get into; and when he gets into a car he sits for a quarter of an hour, and sees officers going up and down outside all the time, and thinks to himself that people certainly can not be supposed to have very good eyes, ears, or understanding of their own in this country, since nobody is deemed capable of using them on his individual responsibility. I only wonder that they don't eat, drink, sleep, and travel for a man at once by proxy, and thereby save him the trouble of liv