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glow of many-colored lamps-swept out into the middle of the lake, and
"Like a burnished throne :
Burn'd on the water.” And when the rowers had ceased, and the barge lay motionless, soft strains of music arose from its curtained recesses, swelling up gradually till the air was filled with the floods of rich, wild harmony, and the senses were ravished with their sweetness.
Was it a wild Oriental dream ? Could it all be realthe glittering fires, the gayly-costumed crowds, the illuminated barge, the voluptuous strains of music? Might it not be some gorgeous freak of the emperor, such as the sultan in the Arabian Nights enjoyed at the expense of the poor traveler ? Surely there could be nothing real like it since the days of the califs of Bagdad !
A single night's entertainment such as this must cost many thousand rubles. When it is considered that there are but few months in the year when such things can be enjoyed, some idea may be formed of the characteristic passion of the Russians for luxurious amusements. It is worthy of mention, too, that the decorations, the lamps, the actors and operators, the material of nearly every description, are imported from various parts of the world, and very little is contributed in any way by the native Russians, save the means by which these costly luxuries are obtained.
THE “ LITTLE WATER.” On the fundamental principles of association the intelligent reader will at once comprehend how it came to pass that, of all the traits I discovered in the Russian people, none impressed me so favorably as their love of vodka, or native brandy, signifying the “little water.” I admired their long and filthy beards and matted heads
of hair, because there was much in them to remind me of my beloved Washoe; but in nothing did I experience a greater fellowship with them than in their constitutional thirst for intoxicating liquors. It was absolutely refreshing, after a year's travel over the Continent of Europe, to come across a genuine lover of the “tarantula”—to meet at every corner of the street a great bearded fellow staggering along blind drunk, or attempting to steady the town by hugging a post. Rarely had I enjoyed such a sight since my arrival in the Old World. In Germany I had seen a few cases of stupefaction arising from overdoses of beer; in France the red nose of the bon vivant is not uncommon; in England some muddled heads are to be found; and in Scotland there are temperance societies enough to give rise to the suspicion that there is a cause for them; but, generally speaking, the sight of an intoxicated man is somewhat rare in the principal cities of the Continent. It will, therefore, be conceded that there was something very congenial in the spectacle that greeted me on the very first day of my arrival in Moscow. A great giant of a Mujik, with a ferocious beard and the general aspect of a wild beast, came toward me with a heel and a lurch to port that was very expressive of his condition. As he staggered up and tried to balance himself, he blurted out some unmeaning twaddle in his native language which I took to be a species of greeting. His expression was absolutely inspiring—the great blear eyes rolling foolishly in his head; his tongue lolling helplessly from his mouth; his under jaw hanging down; his greasy cap hung on one side on a tuft of dirty hair-all so familiar, so characteristic of something I had seen before! Where could it have been ? What potent spell was there about this fellow to attract me? In what was it that I, an embassador from Washoe, a citizen of California, a resident of Oakland, could thus be drawn toward this hideous wretch ? A word in your ear, reader. It was all all the effect of association! The unbidden tears flowed to my eyes as I caught a whiff of the fellow's breath. It was so like the free-lunch breaths of San Francisco, and even suggested thoughts of the Legislative Assembly in Sacramento. Only think what a genuine Californian must suffer in being a whole year without a glass of whisky-nay, without as much as a smell of it! How delightful it is to see a brother human downright soggy drunk; drunk all over; drunk in the eyes, in the mouth, in the small of his back, in his
knees, in his boots, clear down to his toes! How one's heart is drawn toward him by this common bond of human infirmity! How it recalls the camp, the one-horse mining town, the social gathering of the “boys” at Dan's, or Jim's, or Jack's; and the clink of dimes and glasses at the bar; how distances are annihilated and time set back! Of a verity, when I saw that man, with
reason dethroned and the garb of self-respect thrown aside, I was once again in my own beloved state!
"What a beauty dwelt in each familiar face,
What music hung on every voice !" Since reading is not a very general accomplishment among the lower classes, a system of signs answers in some degree as a substitute. The irregularity of the streets would of itself present no very remarkable feature but for the wonderful variety of small shops and the oddity of the signs upon which their contents are pictured. What these symbols of trade lack in artistic style they make up in grotesque effects. Thus, the tobacco shops are ornamented outside with various highly-colored pictures, drawn by artists of the most florid genius, representing cigar-boxes, pipes, meerschaums, nargbillas, bunches of cigars, snuff-boxes, plugs and twists of tobacco, and all that the most fastidious smoker, chewer, or snuffer can expect to find in any tobacco shop, besides a good many things that he never will find in any of these shops. Prominent among these symbolical displays is the counterfeit presentment of a jet-black Indian of African descent-his woolly head adorned with a crown of pearls and feathers; in his right hand an uplifted tomahawk, with which he is about to kill some invisible enemy; in his left a meerschaum, supposed to be the pipe of peace; a tobacco plantation in the background, and a group of warriors smoking profusely around a camp-fire, located under one of the tobacco plants; the whole having a very fine allegorical effect, fully understood, no doubt, by the artist, but very difficult to explain upon any known principle of art. The butchers' shops are equally prolific in external adornments. On the signboards you see every animal fit to be eaten, and many of questionable aspect, denuded of their skins and reduced to every conceivable degree of butchery; so that if you want a veal cutlet of any particular pattern, all you have to do is to select your pattern, and the cutlet will be chopped accordingly. The bakeries excel in their