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CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR
THE PEOPLE,' CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
No. 229. New SERIES.
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 1848.
BY THOMAS MILLER.
under the cool translucent' sewers. These London SPRING-TIME IN TOWN AND COUNTRY.
gardens are also rich in earwigs—great, nimble, long
bodied things, which, if you chance to cut them in two SPRING comes peeping round the corners of the crowded with the spade, make nothing at all of it, but scamper streets and breathless alleys of busy London—twenty off like an engine without the train, leaving that black times a day do those industrious costermongers, whose and cumbrous body, the carriage, behind. They are stock changes as the seasons change, pass my door, accompanied by a genteel sort of worm, with a superexclaiming, All a-growing, all a-blowing !' And the abundance of legs. In the bulbs which you have left all goodwives who have a little back-yard, in which the winter in the ground, hundreds of little innocent grubs sunshine sometimes finds itself a prisoner, hurry out congregate, that come forth in due time, eat up every and buy wallflowers, daisies, hollyhocks, sweet-williams, green leaf, and then attack the stalks. In vain do you &c. &c. at a penny a root; and these they plant in the apply soap-suds and tobacco smoke; their lives hang not two narrow square yards beyond the water-butt, where by a slender thread; they were never delicately nursed, they dwindle away in a week or two, if they are not but born to endure every hardship. There are thoubroken down before morning by the cats. A poor man's sands of such gardens as these in and around London, London garden measures about six paces; and besides and hundreds of pounds are expended in the purchase the outhouse at the end, contains a dust-bin, water-butt, of flowers in spring-time to decorate these little sunless coal-shed, two posts that uphold the clothes-line, a little patches of earth. As for sowing seed, you might as square cinder space in the centre, eight feet by six, well expect to see a crop of gravel shoot up: a kidneythe children's playground—and his flower-beds on each bean, by the end of a week, is occupied by a thriving side the low, damp, sunless wall. His waving trees are family of grubs. stalks of chimneys, the pots of which are occasionally Spring in London is borne through our streets in gilded by the sunlight. In some primitive neighbour- barrows, or sometimes carried in triumph in a basket hoods, where sewer was never yet sunk, a deep sluggish on the heads of her votaries ; besides flowers, she comes ditch yawns and stagnates, and there a stunted alder- crowned with radishes and young onions ; or, like a a kind of living death—does, in its slow decay, now and gleaner in autumn, bears a sheaf of rhubarb on her brow. then manage to make a sign, and lift up its few green Her hair is entwined with the sprouts of broccoli, while | leaves, amid which 'smuts and blacks nestle in place in her hand she carries a cream-coloured cauliflower. of birds. Not that these London gardens are wholly Sometimes you see her crammed into a little sieve, without their choristers, for there are plenty of sparrows, where she sits looking out of the windows in the shape whose notes seem to have been copied from the sounds of a salad. There is no room for her to flaunt in all made by the koife-grinders in the streets; and some her gay attire in this money-growing city. Her very times these dirty fellows come out from under the violets, as if even the perfume occupied too much space, smoky eaves, and hop about like a parcel of little are rolled up in leaves and paper, and sold in a dying sweeps. You never see them ‘preen' themselves, like state ; for London is the great cemetery of flowers—the your decent country sparrows; for they seem to know grave in which all the beautiful daughters of the earth that it would be but labour in vain ;' so they get case. and sun' are buried. They cannot live amid its highhardened as soon as they can, and look as glossy as piled walls. beetles. The banks beside these ditches, instead of
*High up the vapours fold and swim, | being white over with daisies, are strewn with broken
Above them floats the twilight dim, crockery, while an old saucepan - handle occasionally
The place they knew forgetteth “ them." shoots out, and here and there a rag flutters from the How different is spring-time in the sweet, green, open stunted alders, and throws a cooling shadow upon the country, where the sunshine seems to sleep like a wide fragments of broken bottles below. Part of an old unbounded ocean, stretching to the edge of the very liamper, yellow with rain and rot, at the foot of which heaven from which the golden radiance descends! Here a piece of old green baize has been thrown, may, if the the silver-footed showers of April leap and chase each imagination is vivid enough, be magnified into a root other from leaf to leaf; and you might fancy that every of primroses. Violets, too, on a washing.day, where rounded drop went dancing on until it became weary, the women use plenty of stone-blue, may, by the same then settled down into the bells of the flowers, or slept imaginative power, be seen to wave on these banks amid the opening buds that come forth in their tenderest when they empty their washing-tubs. The Zephyrs, array of green. You hear the lark singing somewhere who 'fan their odoriferous wings' in these gardens, amid the dissolving snow of the clouds, but cannot tell come in the shape of door-mats and carpets, and raise whether it is hidden among the blue that hangs below such cloudy perfumes as make a man sneeze again, the floor of heaven, or amid the feathery silver that while the silver showers rouse every Sabrina that sits streams out like the wings of a mighty angel. Through
the vernal green of the grass you see the young daisies When shed and treasured, the season is again in its indawn, as if a new firmament was rising out of the earth, fancy; for spring leaps not up from the ashes of the studded with another milky-way of unnumbered stars. dying year, but sleeps throughout the long night in The bleating of the young lambs falls upon the ear with the womb of winter. The child cannot begin with a strange, dreamy sound, and you seem wandering the knowledge we leave behind us when we enter the through a newly-made world—a fresh formation, that mysterious gates of the grave. There is a closer affinity
between the out-of-door world of nature and ourselves has risen above the wreck and ruin of winter, and than may at a first glance appear. The bud, the leaf, strewn the brow of its black, naked, and volcano-like the flower, and the fruit, exhibit every stage of progres. front with flowers. You hear the babbling of childish sion from infancy, youth, and manhood, to old age. The voices in the winding lanes, and by the woodside; and perfection of all intellectual growth is but a superior there is a cheerful creaking of busy wheels on the brown seed dropped into fruitful soil. The spirit of Shakspeare and dusty highway, which fills the landscape with sounds lives not when grafted on a dull human stock-the rose of life, where before the snow lay like a winding-sheet mountain-heath withers and dies in the swampy soil of
cannot take root in a heap of cinders and ashes—the over the muffled lips of the dead. The streams have the reedy marsh. broken asunder their icy fetters, and like liberated
There was a time when, to our own minds, spring slaves, with the jingling fragments dangling about brought but few associations, saving such as were conthem, go dancing and singing down the steep hill-sides, nected with the lengthening of the days, the return of and through the valleys, as if their only delight was in the singing-birds, and the coming again of the flowers. the motion that accompanied the sounds they made. Even now, we can ramble throughout the whole livelong The bees, like schoolboys broken loose, come buzzing tented to watch the shifting colours that fade over the
day, and divest our mind of all graver memories, conout of the hives, and murmuring to each other as they landscape, and to burrow about the banks and hedgehasten along, ransack every hidden nook in search of
But amid those grave and sable hours which flowers, and wage war against the velvet buds ; while slowly close the curtains of the midnight, almost every those dusky and noisy foragers, the rooks, either sally distinct object assumes a shape, and has a meaning; it out to ravage the wide neighbourhood, or stay at home, becomes a part of one great whole, proving that brawling and fighting, among the branches of their old
• The whole round earth is every way ' ancestral trees.' The bark-peelers are busy stripping
Bound with gold chains about the feet of God.' and felling in the adjacent forest, and you inhale the rich aroma as you wander along, and sigh when you and throws open hundreds of narrow courts and suffo
The sunshine of spring comes in light and gladness, think of the baked atmos which you are doomed cating alleys in London ; and in the warm mild even to breathe in the burning sunimer of the city. If you ings, you see the inhabitants congregated on the broad ramble beside the clear river, there, in the willow holt, pavements of the open streets, or seated upon the kerbyou see the busy osier-peelers at work, hear the rods stones, or the steps around the mouths of those inhawhistling through the brake, and behold the tall taper bited charnel-houses. The little, ill-clad, half-fed, dirty wands spread out in the breeze and sunshine to dry. children are no longer driven to their pallets of straw Field and farm, forest and river, hill and valley, are all or shavings at so early an hour as they were in winter. alive, and throbbing beneath the stirring impulse of like swallows, forgetting even for the time the pangs of
They now run riot in the streets, chasing each other spring.
hunger in the midst of their momentary happiness
. As the season advances, the day is cheered by the The blessed sunshine, that God scatters like gold from glad shouting of the cuckoo, and the silence of night heaven upon the rich and poor, even in these places, awakened by the song of the nightingale ; for as the voice produces enjoyment not the less pure because unpurof spring deepens, it is heard everywhere ; and a hun-chased by the worldly man's standard of wealth. Many dred different choristers come from distant lands to have to stop to replace the little dirty frocks that have
of these children are shoeless. After every romp, they swell the great anthem which is poured forth in our slipped off their thin spare shoulders : for every pull, wild greenwoods.
and drag, and rent, they will probably, when they arrive Spring-time is the youthful season of the year; it at home, receive a blow; this they appear perfectly conpasses its babyhood in the lap of winter, wrapped in scious of from the exclamations occasionally uttered ; its swaddling-clothes of snow; summer is the beauty of yet they • bate not a jot of heart nor hope, but run its full manhood; and autumn, with its yellow and fallen after each other with merry whoop and loud halloo, leaves, the old year in its age and decay. We have not Many of them, during the daytime, had wandered from
until summoned in by the shrill voices of their mothers.' that love for the flowers of autumn which we extend to door to door, perfect in the very trick of the beggar's those of spring, beautiful as many of them are ; for we suffering look and canting whine, bearing a box of lucifers know that when they are withered and dead, nature or a row of pins, under cover of which they escaped the must sink into a long sleep before others will grow up vigilance of the police. It would be difficult to recog. to replace them. With spring it is different: the violet nise these juvenile impostors amongst that merry group, and the primrose are quickly followed by the rose and
were we not accustomed to meet them in their daily the lily ; and when the hawthorn has shed its pearl
walks and ancient neighbourhoods.' tinted blossoms, the sweet woodbine appears with her hand of spring at work as she hangs the tender
The village poor, amid all their poverty, can see the crimson-streaked cheek. of spring more, we see them pass away with less regret over upland and valley. Unpoisoned by the malaria than we do those of autumn. So with the loves and that rises from sink and sewer, the unadulterated air of friendships formed in our youthful days; the broken and heaven blows sweetly through the open doors of their parting pangs seem more severely felt at the time, but thatched cottages, and there the morning sunshine they leave not the lingering regrets which make the comes streaming in, bright and beautiful as when it first heart empty and desolate in its old age. In the spring of the waving of ill-washed garments, which send up an
issued from the golden chambers of the east. Instead of our lives we shoot up amid sunshine and beauty, but unhealthy smoke as they hang to dry in the city courts
, bear no fruit; even that which hangs upon the summer the long leaves are talking to them all day long; and in of our manhood is green and crude, and scarcely worthy place of the bawling of the costermongers, who from of being garnered until mellowed by the mists of autumn. I morning until night are ever breaking the peace of the
streets, their ears are greeted with the mellow pipings have astonished the natives by walking into their Paof the golden-billed blackbird, the music that gushes risian restaurants with a large cheese under one arm, forth from the speckled throat of the throstle, or de- and the lid of our saucepan under the other, to be used, scends like a shower of melody from the clouds, where according to the doctor's recommendation, as a dish! the twinkling wings of the skylark beat. The very But the difference between Mr Erman and other child sent out to tend cattle in the long wandering lanes travellers on the character and position of the various -who appeases his hunger by a hunch of brown bread, classes into which the population is divided, cannot be and quenches his thirst at the wayside brook-finds a ascribed to the revolutions of time. The dislike he hundred objects to amuse him in his solitude, and shuns supposes the Russians to have to intimate association all those numberless vices which lie in wait at every with foreigners—the segregation of the women of the corner of our thickly.populated cities.
upper ranks—and the social position of the priesthood Pnfettered, he can roam abroad,
-are all mistakes which he has fallen into in conseAnd as he chooses pass the hours ;
quence, no doubt, of the briefness of his sojourn, and Can linger idly by the road,
the pre-occupation of his mind by other studies. The Or loiter 'mid the wayside flowers : For what cares he about the morrow ?
comparative isolation of the foreign mercantile class at Too young to sigh, too old to fear ;
St Petersburg is owing partly, no doubt, to the prejuHe has no time to think of sorrow
dices of the Russian gentry; but prejudices of a diffeHe finds the daisies everywhere ;
rent kind from what Mr Erman supposes. It is the And still sings through each green retreat,
profession they dislike, and that alone-a fact which is And plucks the flowers around his feet.
proved by the very same barrier existing between them
and their own merchants. The masses of the people ERMAN'S TRAVEL S.
have no avenue to the government service (the grand
distinction of rank in Russia) but through the army. IN 1827, Professor Hansteen, in pursuance of his re- Trade, however successful, neither ennobles nor dig. searches in terrestrial magnetism, set out upon an nifies; and the wealthiest merchant may continue expedition into the interior of Siberia, the expense of throughout his life a serf, paying his master an annual which was defrayed by the Norwegian government. rent for his liberty to buy and sell
. This explains the The request of Mr Erman, already known in the original isolation of the English factory, as it used to scientific world, to be allowed a share in the under prejudices as well as Russian. Our countrymen never
be called-an isolation kept up to this day by English taking, was complied with ; and the results of his obser- mix thoroughly with the population anywhere. In the vations, both moral and philosophical, are now laid towns of France, Germany, and Italy, they are very before the English reader by Mr Cooley.* Mr Erman's nearly as distinct a class as they are in St Petersburg. reputation is a sufficient guarantee for the value of the In Moscow, the foreign residents are chiefly teachers, book. In 1844, he received one of the Royal Geogra- and their intercourse with their employers is on a much phical Society's medals; the president, Sir R. I. Mur- more easy and equal footing than at home. But fochison, declaring, while he pronounced the adjudication, reigners, who are neither merchants nor teachers, amalthat with the exception of Humboldt himself, it would society; and more completely if English, because the
gamate as completely with Russian as with any other be difficult, if not impossible, to find a man more de- heartiness of hyperborean hospitality breaks through serving of the honour. Supported by this authority, the national reserve, and compels them to feel at home. Mr Cooley, in the preface, very naturally launches out The kind of segregation of the women of the upper into the praise of his author, not only as a scientific classes mentioned by our traveller exists to a less extraveller, but as a correct observer of manners, and tent in Russia than in England. In the former country, appreciator of national character. To this, however, not taking morning calls into account, which are comwe have some demur to make, though not as egards paratively rare, the reign of sociality commences at Mr Erman's talents, but solely on the score of the three o'clock-the general dinner hour; from which inadequacy of his opportunities. In so rapid a journey, time till late at night all is flutter and freedom among it was impossible for him to do more than skim the the womankind. After dinner the company separate, surface; and it was equally impossible for him to avoid but only to meet again, either in the same or some the misapprehensions to which even the most talented other house or houses, and the whole evening is spent traveller is liable in hastily traversing a foreign country. in a succession of festive reunions. But on the other It is as safe as it is easy to praise where we are igno- hand, the women of the mercantile class live in a kind rant; but since 1827, much light has been thrown upon of Eastern seclusion, drinking tea from morning till at least European Russia; and in the portion of the night, of which they imbibe, it is said, not less than work referring to this region, we cannot say that we from forty to fifty cups in the day. But the secrets of are struck by any great superiority on the part of our their prison-house are unknown, for the antagonism of author over the common run of hasty travellers. classes is as strong on their side as on the other; and
But some allowance must be made for the mere lapse a noble would find it as difficult to join the domestic of time; for the permanent form of civilisation' has circle of a merchant, as a merchant would to seat himno more permanence in Russia than elsewhere. Mr self at the table of a noble. The women, however, go Erman's journey from St Petersburg to Moscow lay to church, and on some occasions to the promenade, through a savage country, almost wholly destitute of when their beauty, with which Mr Erman was so much inns or other conveniences for travellers; while only struck, appears very remarkable indeed—as a work of eight or nine years later, we ourselves rolled over the art. The man of science was too much of a true philosame tract in a diligence more comfortable than any we sopher to question so agreeable an illusion. He only ever met with in France, dining at handsome restaurants saw the most exquisite complexions it is possible to conby the roadside à la carte, and having our choice of ceive, and took it for granted that they were formed of French and German wines at various prices. All this nature's own red and white. Among the peasantry, was an agreeable surprise, as we had been forewarned again, there is more separation between the sexes (not by Dr Clarke that it would be madness to expect even seclusion), oddly conjoined with more intermixture, than clean straw for a bed. Had we taken this traveller's perhaps in any other country. Custom does not prevent advice, we should have provided ourselves with a pewter the women from bathing in the same pond with the men; teapot, a kettle, a saucepan, tea, sugar, bread, and meat; but it generally prevents them from mixing in their and on descending from the diligence to dine, we should dances or other recreations. You will see on the high
ways, near the villages, a group of bearded peasants * Travels in Siberia, &c. By Adolph Erman. 2 vols. London: dancing together with the utmost gravity, and at a few Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. 1843.
yards' distance a group of women similarly engaged,
neither party bestowing even a look upon the perfor- amount of nearly five millions and a half sterling. To mances of the other. While mentioning the peasantry; this must be added the produce of salt springs, rising we may as well say that it is not brandy, as it is called through artificial borings carried into the lowest bed of throughout the work, that is the common spirits of the the mountain limestone. country, but votki, a liquor distilled from grain, and The magnitude of this branch of industry will be still soinewhat resembling, both in taste and weakness, the better appreciated from our author's statement, that it gin of the Londoners.
would require 361 vessels of 400 tons each for the transWith regard to the churchmen, our traveller tells us port of a like quantity of minerals by sea. Here, with that they do not form so distinct a group of the popula- the exception of a comparatively small portion, it is tion as the other classes; the higher clergy intermixing distributed throughout the empire by means of river with the nobles, and the lower with the tradesmen. navigation, extending from Slatoust to the Baltic, or in This is quite a mistake. The higher clergy are monks an uninterrupted line of about 3350 miles. During 1000 of St Basil, sworn to perpetual bachelorhood, and they do miles of this route the boats have to struggle against not go into lay society at all. They confine themselves rapid currents; and after all, they are prevented by the to their convents, where they live well, and wax portly, cataracts of Bronitsui from retracing their route, and on and (belonging by birth to the upper classes) are in- reaching the Baltic, are broken up as firewood for the deed the most gentlemanly-looking men in Russia. The denizens of St Petersburg. lower classes, on the contrary, are part and parcel of The vessels used in this remarkable voyage are 120 the people. They must be married before they are feet long and 25 broad, flat-bottomed, with nearly ordained, and they are ineligible to the higher offices of parallel sides, and triangular though not sharp, both at the church. Though their functions are sacred, they bow and stern. Each fleet is attended by two pilot and their families belong to the vulgar; and we have boats, and each of the larger vessels by a punt; all seen these clergymen, in their canonicals, go into the these vessels being constructed by the miners themvotki shops of Moscow, and reissue while depositing selves during the winter. By the 20th of April the ice gravely in their pockets a bottle of their favourite has disappeared from the rivers, and on that day the liquor. The religious feelings of the better class must fleet, led, with flag flying, by a commodore vessel con. have much decreased since Mr Erman's visit, since he taining the owner or supercargo, leaves Slatoust; but tells us that a custom prevailed among them, which is not before a solemn mass is celebrated on the deck of rarely seen now, of offering adoration before meals to a the commodore, and the vessel blessed by the priest. crucifix set up in the room. The word crucifix we Mounted attendants are stationed along the banks, presume to be a mistranslation, for the Russians hold receiving orders from the commodore, and salutes are graven images in as much abhorrence as the Jews, fired as the resideuces of the Bashkir chiefs are passed. paying their devotions instead before painted and gilded At night the fleet brings to, and the crew, all of whom portraits of the saints.
are miners, sleep on shore, on almost every occasion The cautious reserve of the natives,' their shrink- surrounded by different scenery—now a narrow valley ing from contact with a foreigner,' and their .repug. hemmed in by wooded - hills, now an open plain, and nance towards everything foreign,' are not merely again a gorge of bare calcareous rocks, sometimes rent unknown among the Russians of the higher class, but into enormous columns, and sometimes hollowed out they are the very reverse of the fact. There is, in into caverns. At Satka an addition to the cargo is made truth, throughout this order of society, to use the words from the magazines there, and the complement of men of a more recent traveller, ‘a sickly craving after every increased in proportion, to work the heavy oars at bow thing foreign, and an unmanly affectation of scorn for and stern. Nor is the work easy, for all sorts of diffieverything native.' But while protesting against the culties beset the navigation, sometimes impeded by book before us being received as high authority in any- shoals and banks, sometimes by rocks and islands. But thing but practical science, we would by no means be the light-hearted boatmen sing their way through all, understood as being blind to the real merits of our knowing that they will be recompensed at night by the author. Even leaving science out of the question, he enjoyment of sitting round their watch-fires, drinking is obviously an intelligent and accomplished man; he the sap of the birch, collected from notches cut in the has a taste for the picturesque, and with good descrip: trees, and playing their balalaika, or native guitar. tive power; and, above all things, he has a sympathy These men, however, do not voyage far. The crew is with human nature even in its rudest condition, which diminished in number as the navigation becomes easier; throws a charm over the whole work.
and at Ufa the whole of the miners are sent home, and In a work of such various and extensive information, the vessels manned by hired Votyaks. the choice of subjects for notice is a difficult task; but At Laishof a radical change takes place in the we think we can hardly go wrong in devoting some voyage; for here the vessels bound for Nijnei or St little space to what many will deem rather a curious Petersburg must prepare to quit the smaller rivers, exposition of the economical importance of the Ural along which they had hitherto threaded their way, and Mountains. Here, it seems, there are 132,000 tons of to commit themselves to the broad waters of the Volga, iron produced every year, four - sevenths of which the nursing mother, as it is called, of the Russian are destined for European Russia, two - sevenths for empire. They are now therefore rigged and fitted with Asiatic Russia, and one-seventh for the states on the a railing round the deck, each having a crew of thirty south-west. The iron,' says our author, thus dis- men, which gives employment altogether to 20,000 of persed from the Ural would, if collected into one mass, the inhabitants of the neighbouring country. constitute a sphere of only forty-seven feet diameter; ascent of the Volga not facilitated by tracking with and, if we assume the ores raised at five times the cattle. All is donc by means of human labour, and the quantity of iron produced, we shall see that the dimi- boats warped along by a windlass and hawser. At St nution of the beds of the Ural will not exceed the con- Petersburg, as we have said, their history closes. tents of a sphere of 380 feet diameter in one hundred But this is not the sole trade the Russians carry on years. The result of this calculation will, as usual, from the confines of Europe and Asia. In one direction only furnish another instance of the insignificance of they barter the goods of the western world with the human operations; for a globe of this size would not Chinese; in another they collect the furs of the frozen quite equal the dimensions of the Blagodat, as far as regions of the north ; and in a third they exchange pro. the ores are exposed above ground; so that many cen- ductions with Western Asia. The last-mentioned trade turies must pass away before it will be necessary to go is carried on chiefly with Bokhara ; and some readers beyond the metallic accumulations which present them- will wonder in what possible way a commercial characselves to view.' About the same value of gold and pla- ter can attach to a barbarian state, without industry or tinum is produced every year, and about one-fifth of resources, and a mere oasis in a desert of sand ; and why the value of copper ; giving of these metals the annual 15,000 loaded camels should wend thither every year in
caravans from the surrounding countries of Asia. In vice in Western Siberia, and those in Bokhara and the a work published three years ago, Baron de Bode has other Khanats, have been all carried off in this way. solved this question, by pointing to the geographical | Those Kirgis, in particular, who attend the merchants situation of Bokhara as a central point of all the com- of Bokhara through the steppes, have quite a passion mercial routes between Eastern and Western Asia, and for kidnapping their neighbours' children; and it is through which the chief products of that quarter of the said that, in consequence, whenever a caravan in the world must be sent to Europe.* It is likewise the natu- steppe passes through an Aùl, or inhabited place, the ral depót of the southern countries, whose merchandise mothers, with the anxious bustle of cackling hens, drive is sent to the north ; and almost from the gates of its their children together into a felt tent, or kibitka, and capital city the steppes begin which stretch to the there guard them from their itinerant fellow-countryRussian frontier. This remarkable oasis, together with men. The Russians, it may be supposed, who fall into that of Khiva, was formerly, according to the Greek and the hands of these wretches are not on a bed of roses. Asiatic historians, in a much more flourishing state than Our Kirgis friend declared to me that he knew po. now ; and in a memoir communicated by Humboldt to thing of the custom, attested to me previously, and by a German officer, the author of a work on Khiva, the most credible witnesses, as existing in the little horde, writer speculates on the gradual desiccation (often re- of knocking Russian prisoners dexterously on the head ferred to by other inquirers) of this part of Central in such a way as to blunt their intellects, and so render Asia as one of the causes of the change.f
them less capable of effecting their escape. But on the The present trade is described by Mr Erman at other hand, he described, as an eye-witness, a cruel Troitsk, one of its Russian depôts, bordering upon the practice, usual in his own tribe, and having the same steppe of the free Kirgis. On the Kirgis side of the object in view. When they have caught a Russian, bazaar,' he says, “may be seen, in worn-out and ludi- and wish to retain him in servitude, they cut a deep crously-patched garments, the men riding upon camels flesh wound in the sole of his foot, towards the heel, and horses, the women on saddled cows; and the and insert some horse hair in it. There is then no piercing cries of the camels, which are obliged to kneel doubt that, even when the wound is externally healed, down to be unloaded, are heard continually. The men he will abide for the rest of his life, by a leading rule of are chiefly employed in selling the horses which they Kirgis national manners; for as the Kirgis is always on bring here in immense droves, and which are kept horseback from choice, so the maimed Russian becomes partly in a paling within the hall, partly turned out a confirmed equestrian from the pain of walking.' to graze in the steppe. The women, seated on the The Siberians themselves are described by our author ground on the felt mats of their tents (kibitki), carry as an enterprising and industrious race, bearing not a on the retail trade, and reckon their money. The Bok- few of the characteristics of the New Englanders. As harians, Tatars, and Bashkirs, are said to deal fairly for the exiles, or convicts, as we should call them, they and peaceably with their brethren in religion, the Kirgis, appear to be very well off, passing among the kindly and to find amusement in their peculiar loquacity. Russians by the name of the Unfortunates. •All these The contrast between the grave and circumspect de- Unfortunates, as they are called, live in the town in meanour of the Bokharian, sitting in his dark booth perfect freedom ; and with the exception of some newlyon the woilok cushion, waiting quietly for customers, arrived exiles, who are obliged to do penance in church, and the savage boisterousness of the Kirgis, is said to they seem quite exempt from any special control or be very striking. These more civilised merchants are watchfulness on the part of the police. Many of the even there always clad in the rich long khalat, while older ones do the same thing of their own accord, and the greater number of the Kirgis go about in short doubtless from sincere conviction. These aged exiles jackets of horse - skin with the hair on, or in ragged pass over from the luxury of Moscow to the frugal cloths, and with the most clownish air.'
simplicity of Tobolsk with true manly equanimity. We now come to merchandise of a different kind. “The They let their beards and hair grow; and, as they say conversation of a Kirgis belonging to our host, and who themselves, they find the life of the Kosak and the
was a constant companion of our nocturnal trips in the peasant far more supportable than they once believed. | sledge, contributed not a little to compensate us for our Hence it is easily conceivable that the children, whom
tedious disappointment while lingering in the lonely they bring up from marriages with Siberian women, German churchyard. He told us how, when he was a totally lose all trace of so remarkable a change of forlad of sixteen-and boding no good-hé was enticed by tune; and that the Russian nobility employed in Sibe. his father from the steppe to the Siberian frontiers, and ria in agriculture, hunting, or any other promuisl, are was there handed over to some Russian merchants in as little to be distinguished from their neighbours as discharge of a debt of 180 roobles. He travelled with the posterity of Tatar princes.' The exiles of the his new master to Tomsk, and being dismissed from better classes are officers who have been guilty of fraud thence, he entered immediately into the service of his or breach of trust; while those convicted of state present owner. The only tidings he had since received offences are sent nearer the Icy Sea. from his own home were, that his unnatural father had In pursuing his journey northward from Tobolsk, met with the punishment due to perfidy, being killed our traveller found the comfort of the people greatly by some Russians with whom he had quarrelled. Per- dependent upon their wives, who not only kept their haps, for the sake of the appearance of revenging him- houses clean and in good order, but were themselves self on fate, the otherwise good-natured man related, distinguished by healthy and pleasant looks, neatness with rare glee, how he, too, had renounced the children of dress, and hospitality. Near the arctic circle, the whom he had reared at Tobolsk from his marriage, and town of Beresov was found steeped in that halfhad given them into servitude to other Russians. Among dark day' which, according to a Russian poet, has the inhabitants of the steppes, the trade in the human a magical charm for every nation of the north. A being is ever a favourite business. Cases, however, plain of snow and ice extended beyond, till it met like the present, which display an unnatural want of the line of the horizon; the silence of the desert feeling in parents, are of rarer occurrence. Sometimes reigned in the twilight streets; and but for the smoke the eldest son, on the death of the father, gets rid in from the chimneys, the travellers might have fancied this way of his sisters, the support of whon devolves themselves in some city of the dead. It would be a on him; the kidnapping of children is generally the great mistake, however, to judge of the interior of the work of families at variance, who thus take revenge on snow-covered houses from the dreary and inanimate one another. The Kirgis, who are so numerous in ser appearance of the streets; for instead of finding the
people sunk in their winter sleep, one sees them full of Bokhara, its Amir, and its People. From the Russian of hilarity and vigour, and willing to enjoy life. In con
formity with the ancient Russian usage, the duty of Memoir of the Countries about the Caspian and Aral Seas. entertaining the strangers was not allowed to fall on a