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museum on a private day-wouldn't take such a liberty for myself, but you know how one is sometimes pestered—one don't like to refuse---so promised him letter of introduction. Onternoo, as the French say, don't know much of him-just took some wine with me at Scorewell's tother afternoon-so do as you like-don't put yourself to smallest inconvenience on account of, Sir, your very respectful humble servant,
* John HOBBLEDAY. : - P.S. Can say you're busy. Leaves Lit. Ped. end of this week, so please say will be happy to oblige me any day next week-for won't be here. Please read this to yourself, and please destroy when read.”
Utterly confounded! Looked at Rummins. Rummins (who, in the excess of his astonishment, removed the green shade from his eyes) looked at me. I explained ; and, as briefly as possible, stated the circumstances of my acquaintance with Hobbleday. Showed him Hobbleday's kind letter which had inclosed the introductions to himself and to Jubb. Broke
open the introductory note to Jubb, and found it, in substance, a counterpart of the other.
“ Ex-tra-or-di-na-ry!” exclaimed the F.S.A.: “neither I, nor my illustrious friend, admit him to our houses : he is a bo-er.”
And," said I, apprehensively and with hesitation-for I felt deeply anxious for the purity of Little-Pedlington in this one respect" and a-humbug?”
“E-mi-nent-ly so," replied Rummins.
“ And is it so ?” And a transitory wish crossed my mind that I were back again in London.
There was a pause, during which Mr. Rummins twiddled the corner of the subscription-sheet for his National Edition. “Unpleasant for you, Sir-very. If, Sir, you had an in-tro-duc-ti-on to me-any sort of in-tro-duc-ti-on--and his eyes involuntarily fell on the subscription sheet.
Bewildered as I was, and scarcely conscious of what I was doing, I wrote down my name as a subscriber for two copies, and paid the subscription-money in full.
At the end of a flattering speech from the learned antiquary (how I had come to merit it I know not), I received an invitation for that very evening at six o'clock to tea ; when not only should I see his museum, but I should also meet Jubb himself.
This piece of good fortune, seconded by an hour's brisk walking on the Snapshank-road, restored my spirits and my temper. On my return I found all the beauty and fashion of Little-Pedlington hastening to Hoppy's Public Breakfast at Yawkins's skittle-ground. I joined the crowd. Mr. Hobbleday had informed me he should be there : and having resolved upon the course I should pursue with respect to him, I paid my two shillings and entered.
(I'o be continued.)
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE BARBARIANS OF THE NORTH.
BY LEITCH RITCHIE.
It was in the middle of the month of May, in the present year, that I found myself established in the very centre of those hyperborean savages who are said to be about to pour upon civilized Europe by her eastern gates, and sweep away in the barbarian flood every trace of the arts, the literature, the religion, and the refinement of our amiable friends the Turks.
In this new and trying situation, I do not attempt to deny that it was with some catchings of the breath, and some flushings of the cheek, I looked around me, in order to fulfil the purpose of my mission. I was in Moscow-in a street called the Loubenka—and in a house named, in the French language (which the upper ranks of the natives understand), the Maison du Tartare Ismailof. I was abandoned by my companions of the diligence, who had gone east, west, north, and south, and been swallowed up and absorbed in the Muscovite metropolis. The droskiman who brought me to the door had unfeelingly pocketed my money and rumbled himself away. Even a dog, to whom I had extended the hand of fellowship in mounting the stairs, backed himself agaiust the wall, and looked coldly over his shoulder. I was alone.
I looked cautiously out of my window, from which, at length, I even protruded--but in a gradual, delicate, and inoffensive mannermy whole head. I discovered that I was one of the inhabitants of a very large house, in a hollow, oblong square, approached from the street by a covered passage. The side of the square opposite, and distant from
my abode about the breadth of a reasonable street, was formed of a range of lofty and regular buildings, while the sides on either hand contained the dwellings, apparently, of a humble class of society.
Whatever the classes might be, however, into whose fellowship I was thus suddenly thrown, there was something not a little remarkable in the appearance of the individuals. I was by this time accustomed to the Russian kaftan, which is something between a cloak and a greatcoat, and to the long boots, the red sash, and above all, the picturesque beard: but my neighbours seemed to be true Asiatics, and reminded me of the personages of the “ Arabian Nights." Some of them squatted, cross-legged, on a bench before my window; others leaned against the wall, as motionless as statues, and others paced up and down the court with a long pipe in their mouths. These men were not barbarians of the north; they were of the still more savage race which had enchained the very mind of Russia for centuries. They were the descendants of the wild Mogul, thus congregated in a dense colony in the city which their fathers had so often filled with blood and ashes. And in the very heart and middle of that colony had my destiny set me down!—Truly I had caught a Tatar !
It seemed to me that the sort of tranquillity which reigned in the court, and in the manner of the inhabitants, was not the tranquillity of a peaceful mind or peaceable intentions. The Tatars looked at one another with a gloomy significance; their eyes were frequently directed to a particular window, which, however, was not mine; and ever and
anon a messenger came and went, whose tidings were received with a raising of the eyebrow, and an inaudible motion of the lip. At length a wild scream broke from the window in question, and rent the air for more than a minute, when the calm Orientals started at once into bustle and agitation, hurrying across the court in different directions, and vanishing hastily into their houses.
A star, it appeared, had set in Israel. A magnate of the horde had that moment departed to the heaven of Mohammed. The scream which announced the event had hardly died away, when a thick bed of straw was spread in the middle of the court, and the yet warm corpse brought down and laid upon it. A circle of Tatars was then formed around the spot, each man sitting on his heels; and a monotonous, but not unpleasing chaunt gave solemnity to the stillness of the scene.
The circumstance becoming known in the neighbourhood, the whole area was speedily filled with a mixed crowd of Russians and Tatars, all . uncovered, and all watching in profound silence what was going on. little more than a quarter of an hour the death-prayer was finished, and the mourners then gathered in towards the dead. They laid him at once upon a bier, and carried him away, without more ceremony, to his grave without the city. The man was safe enough under six feet of earth before the lingering warmth of life had altogether quitted his frame. The straw was then cleared away; the mourners by-and-by came back to their houses, and the court returned to its usual order and repose.
When the hour at length stole on which belongs neither to night nor day, yet possesses all that is most beautiful in both, the Tatars again came out, one by one, from their dwellings, till every here and there a group was seen squatting in committee. The meaner houses, too, at the sides of the court, gave forth their denizens, who proved to be Russians. About a score of young men, girded with a bright-coloured sash, their shirt, of every gaudy hue, hanging over their trowsers to the knee, and their long hair prevented from falling into their eyes by chaplets of brass or tin, lounged out in groups of two or three at a time, and took possession of an outside stair, where they stood, leaned, or lay down, in the most picturesque attitudes imaginable. By-and-by, a corresponding train of damsels appeared at a little distance, and these either sat quietly upon a bench, or stood in small knots, with their arms round one another's waists. The re-union was to all appearance accidental; and each individual, I have no doubt, fancied that it really was so; but yet this was the moment to which all had unconsciously been looking forward ever since the morning—and not only this morning, but every former one of their lives since the age of thirteen or fourteen. The appearance of the young women was the signal for a song from one of the young men. By-and-by, the air was changed by suggestion, and his comrades joined, singing in parts. Presently the voices of one, two, or more damsels were heard blending shrilly with the strain ; and at length, by slow degrees, and brought about as it were accidentally, a regular concert was begun, which continued long after I was unable, from the coming down of the night, to distinguish the figures of the singers. The music more nearly resembled the national melodies of the Scots than anything I have heard elsewhere on the continent. It was simple and melancholy, and if the performance did not require a vast knowledge of the art, still the voices were so admirably well adjusted, and so passing sweet withal, that the effect-in such a place, and with such associations—had something akin to enchantment.
The Tatars, in the meantime, either conversed in whisper, or listened in silence to the music of their heretofore victims. Neither party appeared to remember the day-although not very far distant-when the blood-stained crescent gleamed over the domes of the Holy City, and when the spoiler said to the captives of the Moskva, in the words that were spoken to those who sat down weeping by the rivers of Babylon, “ Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” But a more interesting audience appeared at the casements of the Tatar colony. These were the Mohammedan women, peeping from behind the curtains, and taking a stolen glance at the amusement below. I observed in particular for the first, but not for the last time, a young and pretty girl, who was even more than usually auxious to see what was to be seen, and yet more than usually afraid lest her curiosity should be chidden. She had a silken curtain drawn over more than two-thirds of her window, and at the aperture her face was never presented but furtively. I never saw a man in her room, and never discovered her engaged either in work or recreation of any kind, except playing at cards with an old woman, which she did regularly every evening: My eyes became afterwards acquainted with those of this agreeable infidel. She seemed amused by the interest she excited, and took a thousand opportunities, in the course of the day, of popping out her head, and then looking, in pretty alarm, to the stranger's window; but I never saw her nearer. She either did not go ont at all, or was so closely muffled up in her oriental veil, that I could not recognise her.
It may be supposed that the scene in the court, and the soft music, and the face of the beautiful Tatar girl, had altogether the effect of tranquillizing my nerves; and, in fact, I went to bed with little or no apprehension of my throat being cut during the night by the Barbarians of the North. The next morning I went forth to view the savage metropolis. I have never seen Timbuctoo, and am unable, therefore, to speak from comparison ; but of Moscow I would say, that it must be reckoned a very wonderful monument of barbarian art. In the centre is the Kremlin, a jumble of palaces and churches, surrounded by lofty walls, and walks and gardens; then the city, or the town of shops and merchants, also waller ; then another and much vaster circle of habitations, girded round by planted boulevards; and then an immense and shapeless suburb, as it may be termed, though bound in by bastions. The houses of the nobility, which are confined to the two last quarters, in general reproductions of the palaces of Italy. They are bound together by lines of buildings of meaner pretensions, but, as all are painted of some light and delicate colour, the effect is wonderfully elegant; so much so, that if Russia were not Russia, and the Russians not Russians, I am almost tempted to think that the city might be admired even by eyes accustomed to the architectural glories of Oxford-street and Tottenhamcourt Road. But the temples of Moscow-it is there that the taste of the
savage breaks forth. Their fantastic forms, their thousand domes and copulas, either gilded, or painted a brilliant green, have an effect, as they have an architecture, entirely their own. The civilized spectator is bewildered and amazed, for he cannot measure them by the square and
plummet of classical criticism which he carries in his pocket.' Not one of the conventional terms of art will apply, which he bears about with him on his tongue's end ; and, shrugging his shoulders, he turns away from the scene with a smile. But the picture follows him ; its unworldly forms impress themselves upon his mind; its rainbow colours tinge his imagination ; he dreams that night of the Arabian tales, and the next morning, with a bitter blush, detects himself writing in his journal the heretical words-Russian architecture.
But on this subject I have already bestowed enough of my tediousness upon the public*. My present object is to tell my anxious friends how I fared among the natives, and what kind of barbarians they are. Most of the newspapers of France and England have been endeavouring, day after day, for a long time past, to let out the secret; but, some way or other, this has been done in so indefinite a manner, that one feels one's blood curdle, without knowing why. That the Russians are barbarians of the north, is sure enough ; that the Turks, compared with them, are a polite and civilized people, is not denied ; that the latter, if fallen under the domination of the former, would cease to be what everybody knows they are, the civilizers of the human race, is a melancholy fact. All this is sufficiently obvious, but still something more is necessary. What kind of savages are the Russians ?—that is the question. How many generations are they behind the Spaniards, for instance, in the humanities of life? Does the atmosphere of this country vibrate with curses, like that of Ireland ? Does midnight murder stalk through the land ? Do the mothers bury their children alive? Do their atrocious superstitions convert the meek and holy Jesus into a brutal Moloch ? Do their devotees cut one another's throats because all do not believe precisely alike?
The next morning I called to deliver a letter of introduction to a “ Prince.” The Russians, like all other savages, are fond of titles, and of that of prince in particular. The title, however, is a mere ornament, like that of a ribbon at one's button-hole, and has nothing to do with determining the real rank of the individual. The title in this country descends not to the eldest son, but to all the children, male and female; and thus, in the course of a few generations, we have a flourishing colony of princes. The property, in the meantime, is divided among the family, and thus, in the course of a few generations, all these princes are poor. The poor nobles, however, are permitted to sell their property to the rich, and thus an aristocracy of wealth is formed; but even this is evanescent, for the rich in their turn become poor by the subdivision of their estates. Hence it arises that in Russia hereditary rank is held in little or no estimation; and that even the circumstance of wealth gives no permanent dignity to a family. Every man, therefore, is valued by his public utility, so far as this can be evidenced by the nature of the public service to which he is called by the Emperor. The Emperor, no doubt, makes a bad selection sometimes, like other men; but still, in theory, the plan is wonderfully wise for a nation of barbarians.
The prince I visited on the present occasion was high in office, and therefore one of the real grandees of the empire; but, notwithstanding,
“Journey to St. Petersburg and Moscow, through Courland and Livonia." Heath's Picturesque Annual, 1836.
Nov.-VOL. XLV, NO. CLXXIX.