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artistic displays. Here you have painted bread from black-moon down to double-knotted twist; cakes, biscuit, rolls, and crackers, and as many other varieties as the genius of the artist may be capable of suggesting. The bakers of Moscow are mostly French or German; and it is a notable fact that the bread is quite equal to any made in France or Germany. The wine-stores, of which there are many, are decorated with pictures of bottles, and bas-reliefs of gilded grapes—a great improvement upon the ordinary grape produced by nature.
THE MARKETS OF MOSCOW. If there is nothing new under the sun, there are certainly a good many old things to interest a stranger in Moscow. A favorite resort of mine during my sojourn in that strange old city of the Czars was in the markets of the Katai Gorod. Those of the Riadi and Gostovini Dvor present the greatest attractions, perhaps, in the way of shops and merchandise; for there, by the aid of time, patience, and money, you can get any thing you want, from saints' armlets and devils down to candlesticks and cucumbers. Singing-birds, Kazan-work, and Siberian diamonds are its most attractive features. But if you have a passion for human oddities rather than curiosities of merchandise, you must visit the secondhand markets extending along the walls of the Katai Gorod, where you will find not only every conceivable variety of old clothes, clocks, cooking utensils, and rubbish of all sorts, but the queerest imaginable conglomeration of human beings from the far East to the far West. It would be a fruitless task to attempt a description of the motley assemblage. Pick out all the strangest, most ragged, most uncouth figures you ever saw in old pictures, from childhood up to the present day; select
OLD-ELOTHES' MARKET. from every theatrical representation within the range of your experience the most monstrous and absurd caricatures. upon humanity; bring to your aid all the masquerades and burlesque fancy-balls you ever visited, tumble them together in the great bag of your imagination, and pour them out over a vague wilderness of open spaces,
dirty streets, high walls, and rickety little booths, and you have no idea at all of the queer old markets of the Katai Gorod. You will be just as much puzzled to make any thing of the scene as when you started, if not more so.
No mortal man can picture to another all these shaggy-faced Russians, booted up to the knees, their long, loose robes flaunting idly around their legs, their red sashes twisted around their waists; brawny fellows with a reckless, independent swagger about them, stalking like grim savages of the North through the crowd. Then there are the sallow and cadaverous Jew peddlers, covered all over with piles of ragged old clothes, and mountains of old hats and caps; and leathery-faced old women -witches of Endor-dealing out horrible mixtures of quass (the national drink); and dirty, dingy-looking soldiers, belonging to the imperial service, peddling off old boots and cast-off shirts; and Zingalee gipsies, dark, lean, and wiry, offering strings of beads and armlets for sale with shrill cries; and so on without limit.
Here you see the rich and the poor in all the extremes of affluence and poverty; the robust and the decrepit; the strong, the lame, and the blind; the noble, with his star and orders of office; the Mujik in his shaggy sheepskin capote or tattered blouse; the Mongolian, the Persian, and the Caucasian; the Greek and the Turk; the Armenian and the Californian, all intent upon something, buying, selling, or looking on.
Being the only representative from the Golden State, I was anxious to offer some Washoe stock for saletwenty or thirty feet in the Gone Case; but Dominico, my interpreter, informed me that these traders had never heard of Washoe, and were mostly involved in Russian securities--old breeches, boots, stockings, and the like. He did not think my “Gone Case" would bring an old hat; and as for my “Sorrowful Countenance” and “Ragged End,” he was persuaded I could not dispose of my entire interest in them for a pint of grease.
I was very much taken with the soldiers who infested
these old markets. It was something new in military economy to see the representatives of an imperial army supporting themselves in this way; dark, lazy fellows in uniform, lounging about with old boots and suspenders hanging all over them, crying out the merits of their wares in stentorian voices, thus, as it were, patriotically relieving the national treasury of a small fraction of its burden. They have much the appearance, in the crowd, of raisins in a plum-pudding.
The peasant women, who flock in from the country with immense burdens of vegetables and other products of the farms, are a very striking, if not a very pleasing feature in the markets. Owing to the hard labor imposed upon them, they are exceedingly rough and brawny, and have a hard, dreary, and unfeminine expression of countenance, rather inconsistent with one's notions of the delicacy and tenderness of woman. Few of them are even passably well-looking. All the natural playfulness of the gentler sex seems to be crushed out of them; and while their manners are uncouth, their voices are the wildest and most unmusical that ever fell upon the ear from a feminine source. When dressed in their best attire they usually wear a profusion of red handkerchiefs about their heads and shoulders; and from an unpicturesque habit they have of making an upper waist immediately under their arms by a ligature of some sort, and tying their apron-strings about a foot below, they have the singular appearance of being double-waisted or threestory women. They carry their children on their backs, much after the fashion of Digger Indians, and suckle them through an opening in the second or middle story. Doubtless this is a convenient arrangement, but it presents the curious anomaly of a poor peasant living in a one-story house with a three-story wife. According to the prevailing style of architecture in well-wooded countries, these women ought to wear their hair shingled ; but they generally tie it up in a knot behind, or cover it with a fancy-colored handkerchief, on the presumption, I
suppose, that they look less barbarous in that way than they would with shingled heads. You may suspect me of story-telling, but upon my word I think three-story women are extravagant enough without adding another to them. I only hope their garrets contain a better quality of furniture than that which afflicts the male members of the Mujik community. No wonder those poor women have families of children like steps of stairs! It is said that their husbands are often very cruel to them, and think nothing of knocking them down and beating them; but even that does not surprise me. How can a man be expected to get along with a three-story wife unless he floors her occasionally ?
Ragged little boys, prematurely arrested in their growth, you see too, in myriads — shovel-nosed and bare-legged urchins of hideously eccentric manners, carrying around big bottles of sbiteen (a kind of mead), which they are continually pouring out into glasses, to appease the chronic thirst with which the public seem to be afflicted ; and groups of the natives gathered around a cucumber stand, devouring great piles of unwholesomelooking cucumbers, which skinny old women are dipping up out of wooden buckets. The voracity with which all classes stow away these vicious edibles in their stomachs is amazing, and suggests a melancholy train of reflections on the subject of cholera morbus. It was a continual matter of wonder to me how the lower classes of Russians survived the horrid messes with which they tortured their digestive apparatus. Only think of thousands of men dining every day on black bread, heavy enough for bullets, a pound or two of grease, and half a peck of raw cucumbers per man, and then expecting to live until next morning! And yet they do live, and grow fat, and generally die at a good old age, in case they are not killed in battle, or frozen up in the wilds of Siberia.
Outside the walls of the Katai Gorod, in an open square, or plaza, are rows of wooden booths, in which innumerable varieties of living stock are offered for sale