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Doctor, as they approached one of the ice-hills, down whici numbers of persons were, with astonishing rapidity, gliding in sledges, very like a butcher's tray.
a EDWARD, - How are these hills formed, Sir ; they ap. pear perfectly smooth; if they are artificial, they are very ingeniously contrived."
DR. WALKER." A scaffolding, which is generally thirty feet high, being erected upon the frozen river, boards or planks, four yards broad, are laid in an inclined position from the top, their ends resting on the ice. Pieces of ice, about four inches square, are then laid close together upon these planks being sprinkled with water they become quickly one solid mass.
“ It requires no small agility and skill to steer those sledges accurately; and observe, Edward, how those boys skate down there upon one leg,” continued the Doctor; “ thus you see what creatures of habit and education, we are, place either of us upon the top of that scaffolding, and we should, I fear, not have resolution even to enter the sledge: put that boy in the whiskey, and tell him to drive a spirited horse, he would express the same fears and ignorance as we do about the sledge. Many a brave man, who has faced the
enemy with dauntless brow in the field of battle, has never been able to conquer his fears of the water, so far as to enter a boat ; while the sailor, on the other hand, who has often dared the storm, may tremble at his own shadow in the dark, so inconsistent an animal is man! Peter the Great had an extraordinary antipathy to the water. I have heard that his fears were accounted for by the following circumstance: when he was quite a child, he was travelling with his mother, and during their journey they either passed near, or, I believe, crossed a bridge over a tremendous cataract. The rush of the water, and its tremendous noise, made such an astonishing impression on his childish imagination, that he was from that moment always seized with a violent trembling whenever he approached a river, or even the smallest streamlet. As, however he advanced to manhood, the conside. ration of the great disadvantage this antipathy would be to the prosecution of his future plans, which were yet but dawning on his mind, he was in the habit of expressing much uneasiness upon the subject; being, therefore, one day by the side of a river, one of his courtiers plunged in, crossed it, and then returned to his master. Peter watched bis
progress with mingled sensations of terror and envy; but at length
after a considerable degree of agitation, he so far subdued his fears, that he followed the directions of his friend, he also plunged into the water, and from that moment not a trace of his former apprehensions remained. I believe we have now seen all that is to be seen in this rising city, and, therefore, to-morrow, agreeably to the plan we have marked ont, we will proceed to Smolensko, on our way to Konigsberg. I protest there is our Highland laddie skaiting,” continued the Doctor, “ he appears to afford more amusement 'than he receives ; those people, by their gestures, seem inclined to persuade him to mount the scaffold; but I hope Colin, though he appears a little merry, has not so far lost his good understanding as to make such an attempt.”
At this moment the Highlander espied his master, and brushing through the surrounding crowd, he soon reached them. “ Colin maun gang hame with ye,” said he, as he doffed
“ for the Russians are too fond of liquor for him. I ken but little how much I have drank. Their heads are strong as well as their liquor."
“ The intense cold, Colin, habituates them to the use of strong liquors," replied the Doctor, “ and they can drink a large quantity before they feel any ill effects from it; but to. morrow we leave Moscow, Colin.”
" I'm right glad on't; and where are we going then?”
DR. WALKBR. " To Smolensko, and from thence to Prussia; so Colin, follow us home, and
for to-morrow's journey. This city is of great importance, Edward ; it is the centre of the inland trade of Russia, and communicates by water with Petersburg, with Asoph, and with Astracan.
CHIEF TOWNS-THEIR TRAFFIC-FORESTS.
“ Dr. Walker.—“And now, by the bye, we will, if you please, just take a slight glance at the principal towns in the Russ' o dominions, and I will begin with Revel, a rich town, in whose harbour part of the Russian fleet is laid up.
Here are good houses, fine gardens, and a college with four pro
fessors. It has annually two fairs, which are well attended by English and Dutch merchants.
“ Pawlow, on the Oka, is the Birmingham of Russia.
“ Wologda has also a considerable trade; the country is marshy, and abounds with forests, lakes and rivers ; the wool in these parts is of a good quality.
“ Archangel, the emporium of the north of Russia, exports timber, tallow, bristles, hemp, flav, mats, linseed, rye, wheat, iron, train oil, tar, and pitch. In winter the weather is intensely cold, but serene; in summer it is remarkably hot. Near the rivers the country is fertile.
“ Odessa is situated on an extensive bay of the Black Sea. So great is the traffic carried on at this place, that in the year 1803, before the first of May, 502 ships arrived. Grain is the chief export.
“ The port of Toganrog is of great consequence to Russia. The environs are fertile, and trade considerable, though in the winter months it is interrupted by ice.
“ The country, from Asoph to the Donetz, is rich, and inhabited by industrious Tartars. Pit coal is found almost on the surface; limestone and clay are plentiful.
“ Cronstadt, on the island of Retusari in the Gulf of Finland, is the chief arsenal of Russia. ·
“ Riga, 250 miles S. E. by E. of Stockholm, is very opulent, and the most commercial port in Russia, Petersburg excepted. It is situated about five miles up the Duno, over which is a floating bridge. The environs are deep and barren sands. Its principal exports are hemp, flax, timber, pitch, tar and potash.
“ Caffa or Theodosia, has an excellent harbour, a productive vicinity, and a mild climate.
“ Cherson, the chief mart of the south of Russia, is so unhealthy in the months of July and August, that the opulent retire up the country. It was here that the humane Howard ended his days, and his memory is held in the highest veneration.
• Jaroslawl is a well-built trading town, on the Wolga. Its manufactures of red-leather, woollen and linen are in great estimation.
“ Astracan is situated about 50 miles from the Caspian, on an island of the Wolga, and is surrounded by a strong wall : it has a good harbour, and enjoys an extensive commerce with Persia and India. The fish here are excellent;
and the salt met with in these parts, is a consderable article of trade.
“ Tobolsk is situated on a high hill of great extent. The inhabitants are chiefly Mahometan Tartars and Russian exiles : their commerce with China is very considerable. To the S. E. between the rivers Irtish and Oby, are very productive silver mines.
6 Irkutsk contains about 2000 wooden houses. The government of this name is the largest, but least peopled part of the empire.”
Soon after our travellers quitted Moscow, they entered the vast forest of Volonski. Here as they traversed roads which were at this season of the year almost impassable, they were repeatedly in great danger. Sometimes their progress was interrupted by drifted snow, and sometimes by the trunks of trees, which had fallen across the road. More than once they were obliged to quit their vehicle, and assist in removing the obstacles which impeded their progress. The strength of their faithful Highlander was at these times of incalculable service to them. One night they passed in their carriage, and with difficulty the next day they reached Viasma.
6 What an immense forest is that of Volonski we have just traversed," said Edward, as they entered Viasma; “ Why how long do you think it is, Sir?”
DR. WALKER.-“ Nearly one hundred and fifty miles ; and from this forest, which begins at Viasma, and reaches, as you perceive, almost close to the gates of Moscow, the greater part of the navies of Europe are supplied with masts. It is principally composed of the fir, the larch, the Scotch pine, and the yew-leaved fir; but Russia produces also the elm, the lime, from the inner bark of which the Russian mats are made, and from whose blossoms the immense swarms of wild bees collect their honey; the elegant birch, the alder, the trembling aspin, and the Sycamore contribute also to adorn and enrich this extensive country. On the pastoral banks of the Don and the Dnieper. On the shores of the Black Sea, and in the deep recesses of the Taurida, the stately oak, the black and white poplars, the horn beam, the nettle tree, and the magnificent beech, grow in wild and rich luxuriance. Many of our English fruit trees blossom and thrive in different parts of this vast empire; besides which it
boasts of the olive and pomegranate, not to mention peaches, apricots, vines, &c.
Two days they remained at Viasma; for Doctor Walker felt rather indisposed. The journey through the forest of Volonski had exhausted him extremely; but on the morning of the third day after their arrival, they again set forth, and after a less fatiguing journey they arrived at Smolensko, the capital of the government of the same name.
The approach to this city is particularly picturesque. Smolensko is built on two mountains, and on the valley between them. The alternate rising and sinking of the walls, from the inequality of the ground, their Gothic architecture, and grotesque towers, the steeples rising above the trees, which in general conceal the houses; the gardens, meadows, and corn-fields, which are all mingled together within the city walls, form the most agreeable and most extraordinary sight imaginable.
Smolensko carries on some trade with Dantzic, Riga and the Ukraine, in linen, hemp, honey, wax, furs, timber and iron; yet it contains no object of particular interest; and Dr. Walker and his young friend, therefore, did but sleep there one night.
Minchi, in Russian Lithuania, was the next town they stopped at, celebrated for its honey; and from thence they proceeded to Wilna, rendered immortal by the council of war which Buonaparte held with his officers in his retreat from Moscow, in the year 1813. At this place he took leave of his army, and returned to France overwhelmed by defeats and misfortune. Wilna is a large city containing an university, and upwards of forty churches, most of which belong to the Roman Catholics. Its situation is very picturesque, being seated in a mountainous country on several little eminences.
At an entertainment given at Wilna, by a Polish nobleman, Edward was extremely surprised at one custom in particular, which Doctor Walker assured him upon their re