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Memories - Mrs. G.E. Kirby Kirby, G.E., Mrs. 1883

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 :IES   Submitted by Mrs.G.E.Kirby, Cookshire,   "0 years gone down into the past, What pleasant memories come to me Of your untroubled days of peace And hours almost of ecstasy!   Phoebe Carey   32,500 Words. It was early in the year 1879 that I first had the privilege of visiting Russia. Brought up in a small sleepy village, which had a thousand years of history behind it, I was in danger of becoming a dreamer instead of a doer, when I received a letter from a friend asking if I would like to go to Russia to teach two girls--daughters of a Russian lady whom she knew.      I had recently finished my studies (if one can ever really call them finished) at an up-to-date boarding school, and was planning to become a finishing governess. Realizing the advantages of travel and the chances of learning foreign languages the way they should be learnt, I answered the letter at once, gladly accepting the situation.      Ay relations were somewhat alarmed when they heard of my decision, more especially when, throught the newspapers, we learnt that the plague had broken out in St. Petersburg, where the family Alexeiff were spending the winter. Lady A., who had offered me the position, assured me that her friends would await my arrival, but nevertheless I thought it wise to start without delay.      Never having been outside of England���not having ever seen the sea-- the long journey alone made my heart stand still, when I had time to think; and well-meaning friends tried to alarm me still more warning me of all the dangers of arriving in Berlin so late at night, and of all kinds of horrors connected with living in such a barbarous country as Russia.      On the recommendation of the German governess at my old school, I wrote to an address in Berlin where, she said, I could sleep and thus avoid changing stations in the middle of the night. I could not, however, wait for an answer. A friend of ours was in the foreign department of the General Postoffice in London and, through his kind help, I travelled as far as Ostend in the care of the mail clerks.      Looking back on that journey in 1879, I realize the many changes that have since taken place both as regards speed and comfort. London had not adopted electric light excepting a few arc lights in the streets, only one theatre was lighted by electricity; on the steamer, the cabin was warmed by an open fireplace and the darkness was illuminated by two candles.      Feeling miserably cold and ill, I landed in Ostend very early in the morning, and, travelling all day, arrived in Berlin at eleven o'clock that night. Through Belgium the scenery was not very interesting until we approached Liege and Verviers, where the country was hilly and wooded. Some time before dark, I asked a fellow traveller if she could help me secure a cab in Berlin and whether she knew the approximate fare to Konigstrasse. I addressed her in French and was relieved to find that she understood me and was very willing to do all she could. Page 2.   As a rule, i always like to see my horse and my cabman before giving myself up to their care, but in Berlin you had to take the one corresponding to the ticket given you in the station. A little snow had fallen which relieved the otherwise dark streets, but all seemed dreary and deserted. At last my cab stopped at a   tall house with not a light visible, although I had telegraphed the hour of my arrival. My box was deposited on the pavement and the coachman, of whom I thought now as my last friend, had departed before the door of the building opened.   A man and a woman--both but half dressed--stood before me, and presently they seized my trunk and began to mount the stairs and I with trembling steps followed the pair, wondering who they were and what was going to happen. It seemed possible that   Frau Klemcke, the lady to whom I had written and telegraphed, might have left the house, for in the hall, on the ground floor, were stacks of bricks and other evidences of building operations. Migher and higher we went, and on each landing the frouzy man and dishevelled woman deposited my trunk and jabbered about it and me--so I surmised, for I knew no German.   At last they arrived at a closed door and rang a bell. imagine my relief when a tall stout woman, properly dressed, came towards me with a smile. i literally fell into her arms. That was my first experience of an apartment house.   1 was famished and tired and cold, and Frau Klemcke spoke nothing but German. Fortunately one of her boarders was an American girl who kindly left her bed to act as interpreter and, a little after midnight, I was shown my room.   The apartment was quite full so I was to sleep in a small sitting-room, close to a very hot stove of white enamel. Shall I ever forget that bed! It consisted of two enormous feather pillows, six feet long and each of them a foot high, and found I had to lie between them! The difficulty I had in keeping the bed together! The top bed or pillow (both were covered with white pillow cases) would not stay put. half the night, near that terribly hot stove, i did not really want it on at all, but as no light covering was available I had to make the best of it.   The following day a young soldier, Frau Kleecke's only son, came to see his mother. After a little conversation with her, he came to me and in broken French said he would be pleased to   take me to the other railway station in the evening and to see that I took the right train. Frau Aemeke, a hind motherly soul, took me to the Thiergarten and to a big nn se ' , etc., all ofmtich enjoyed very much though i did not unuersthiu a word of her voluble explanetions. In the evening they gave _c a hearty send-off and invited me to go and stay with them on my way home.   Kith the help of a traie- e found a lady , ;err Page 3.   who was going all the way to St. Petersburg, and fortunately she spoke French and Russian. We sat together and chatted until, worn out, I at last fell into a fitful sleep. Trains always seemed to crawl in Germany and were often stopped by flags or by trumpets, which were answered ' melancholy whistles from the engine. This wayside signallir, was generally the work of women. Another uncomfortable method of disturbing one's slumber was the way the ticket inspector opened the carriage door while the train was still ia motion for the purpose of looking at one's ticket, and this he would do every hoar or so.   At Eydkunen everybody had to change trains and passports and luggage had to be examined. Here, alas: I could get no help from my fellow passenger for she was occupied with her own trunks. A kindly porter picked up my belongings and led the way into a big hall; not knowing what to pay him, I opened my purse and he extracted a coin, said somethingin Russian and disappeared. Much to my surprise, he returned to give me some change. I decided that Russians must be very honest people.   The room was rather full of luggage and the officials seemed busy; one of them was on the p irt of opening ��� box when, above the din, I heard myself called - name. I raised my arm and the chief inspector, bowing very low, c de to me sayi. that he   had received a telegram from xis Excellency asking hi to assist inc in every way. he, hi ,self, passed my luggage and conducted me to my train. I began to wonder who these people were to whom I was going; - a _;d i wondered still more when an Englishman in the station at St. Petersburg came up to se saying, "His hxcellency sent me to meet you." This man proved to be the courier attached to the Hotel d'Europe, where the Alexeiffs were staying.   The room to which he took me was an anteroom where three servants were drinking tea. One of them opened the door into a very large reception room and I was soon introduced to the girls I was going to teach and to their fater and mother. I was very much relieved at having come to the end of my five days' journey and to find the Alexeiffs such charring people. Dinner was just over but they ordered mine to be br a,ht in and suggested that, as I rust be very tired, one of the girls would stay at home with me, as they were preparing to go to the opera. f protested that I was not at all tired and would not think of keeping one of them at home, so in twenty minutes we were on our way.   'he opera was Aida. i was very glad i went for not only did I enjoy the opera with all the delight of hearing and seeing one for the first time, but I also learnt in the easiest way possible a little about my fa-tore companions, fur, in the intervals the gins and I retired to the back of the box, where we could converse unobserved. Page 4.   The Alexeiffs postponed their departure in order to show me the chief places of interest in St. Petersburg. I suppose that no other city in the world had so many fine paces or so many art treasures. The principal streets were very spacious and very gay with handsome uniforms, for no soldier in Pussia was allowed to   wear mufti and practically every man was a soldier or a civil servant who also wore a uniform. The noise in the streets was a little confusing at first, for the coachmen were continually calling out, "Take care:" and the bells on the horses were strange, for I had never seen or ridden in a sleigh before. On the frozen Neva I saw many a sleigh drawn by reindeer, which made a very familiar Christmassy picture. The Cathedral of St. Isaacs, with its wonderful pillars and other decorations of malachite and lapis lazuli and its beautiful gilded dome, impressed me with its appearance of fabulous wealth. We inspected the magnificent art treasures in the Hermitage and saw some very fine paintings by Aiversovsky and other modern Russian artists, in an exhibition then on view. Four of the Grand Dukes sons of Alexander II, were also at that exhibition.      We went again three times to the opera and saw Lohengrin, Faust and a Russian opera.      The most celebrated Pussian singer, Arne. Lavroveky, gave a concert, Sarasate the Spanish violinist gave another a .d (k. renter, called by Listz the "Queen of Pianists' yet another, all,, of which we attended. Sarasate had rooms in our hotel; the girls and I used to pace up and down the corridor to hear him practising.      The Hotel d'Europe filled a whole block; it was lighted by electricity and heated by a hot water system; our rooms were large and very handsomely furnished.      The very first day that we went for a walk in the   Winter Gardens, we met the peror, on foot and quite unattended. The girls had been longing to see him for some time so they declared I had brought them luck. After meeting us every day for maore than a week, he stopped and asked me if we were sisters.   could only smile for I understood not a word, but Vera, confused with excitement, answered, "Yes, your Majesty." "ll three?" said tie eerior, again low , way. "No, this is our English friend." After which he sal-ted and said "Good morning" in English, and e quite forgot to curtosy.      The girls e - ��n to wonder how they could let him know their names, and they decided to ask a lady whose daughter was the Emperor's godchild to walk with us. She came and, as we had anticipated, he said "Good morning;" and then he ave his hand to the lady and walking with hersome distance, e, who we were. Page 5.   Lord bufferin was the Enelish ambassador to Russia that year. Mae. Alexeiff told us an amusing story about Lady bufferin when she went to the Palace to peesent herself to the Empress. She was shown into a room and presently a very ordinary-looking lady came forward and talked with her for some time. At last the lady said, "Wo you know my daughter?" "No, 1 do not know your daughter. What is her name?" "The Duchess of Edinburgh." "Oh!" exclaimed the confused Lady bufferin, "i beg your Majesty's pardon. I did not know to whom I was speaking."      Towards the end of March we left for Moscow and I looked, from the train, on St. Petersburg for the last time. That beautiful city was, without doubt, what Peter the Great desired it to be--a window through which his subjects could see Europe. To-day in 1930, the palaces still stand but they house only ghosts of the past. Gone are the pomp and magnificence, the dignity and glory that one associates with palaces.--The window is not only closed but shuttered; and who may say what cruelty and avarice, what agony and bodily suffering, are lurking behind that shutter:      scow in April was anything but pleasant and it was decidedly unsanitary. The streets were winding and narrow and   full of muddy waters, for the general thaw had begun. The first 44.-Ila place we visited was the 'Crenlie, consisting of a group of palaces and three great churches all enclosed by a wall and the river Aoskva. Many ancient Russian cities have a Kremlin. In Moscow it is on high ground, from which you can see for miles over the city and the flat country which surrounds it. There were 365 churches, with their gilded roofs glittering in the light of the setting sun. Two of these churches we saw in every detail--the Church of Christ the Saviour and a sixteenth century cathedral. After the retreat of the French army in 1812, the Church of Christ the Saviour was begun as an act of Thanksgiving. It was still (in 1879) far from finished, and not to be visited by anyone without a ticket and, much to our disappointment, these tickets were not Ygoing to be issued for three months; however, when Mme. Alexeiff presented her husband's card showin him to be one of His lajesty's court, Chamberlain to His ne;esty and Grand jarshalt)f the Nobility of the Government of Ekateri ioslav, the officials made very low bows and took the greatest pains to show us everything. The frescoes were particularly beautiful, representing incidents in the life of   ,ee   Our Lord. They were painted by the celebrated Russian artist, Vereschargin. Another very remarkable church was the Cathedral built during the reign of John the Terrible, a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth. John sent for a renowned Italian architect and ordered him to build a church in which every window and every cupola was to be of a different design���no two alike. fahen it was completed, the Italian's eyes were put out so that the church should not be duplicated. Page 6.   Many other places were visited (chiefly for my benefit) including the largest fir store, where a beautiful blue fox skin was shown as the rarest pelt they possessed. We went into the   ba aar where Armenians, Turks, Russians and others had their goods displayed. Warned not to look at anything very intently, I refrained until I saw an exquisite enamelled ornament. I am sure I. did not glance more than twice at it but I tried to draw the girls' attention to it, when the merchant jumped up and told me he would give it me as a present for the small consideration of 15 roubles. I turned a deaf ear and walked on; but he continued to walk beside us, still holding the ornament and gradually lowering his price. This went on until we were out of the bazaapand half way down the street, when he seemed to realize that we were not purchasers. Every store in Russia was run in that way, and you would always know that half the original price would satisfy the shopkeeper.      In the train on the way to Ekaterinoslav we had time to talk about our future lessons etc. The girls were sixteen and fourteen years old. They complained that they were very much behind with their studies because of their frequent journeys abroad. When at home they were having lectures from several professors from the Gymnasium, as the high School was called, and would have only two free hours a day to divide between German and English; but they said that as long as they were away from home there wtould be no lessons at all with the exception of piano practising.      It was to me a new experience hearing girls arranging their own lessons, but their mother said she left it entirely to them. 1' ey spoke English as well as I did, with the exception of using so (e abbreviations of their own invention, like "I am't" (for, I am not) and the misuse of certain tenses. They had had English nurses and English governesses all their lives and always talked English to each other. Their French was also perfect, thanks to their French mother and to occasional French governesses. In German they were not so advanced which-was to my advantage, for they always tried to converse with Fraulein, who had joined us at Moscow, and I benefited by her corrections. Vera, the elder, was a girl of great strength of character. She and I soon became   0V great frients and our friendship has endured to this day. Ile had so many autual likes dislikes and were both of us strong and energetic, fond of riding and walking, boating andwimming--especially of walking. Olga was quiet and reserved aad constitutionally inclined to shirk violent exercise; she was, however, by far the better musician and played the piano with great feeling and spirit.      The country through which we passed after leaving Moscow was very uninteresting--miles and miles of forest and, when we entered a less wooded district, everything was hidden by high snow barriers. We had a special car from Moscow to Ekaterinoslav, by which means we were indifferent to the train's frequent long stoppages. When the first railway was about to be built in Russia, the engineers submitted their proposed line for the Emperor \:icholas's approval. Their plan evidently did not please him for he took a map, drew a straight line from St. Petersburg to Moscow and antother line from Moscow to Yalta (his summer resort in the Crimea), and instructed the engineers to build it in that way, utterly ignoring many important towns which were thus left more or less off the map.      Ekaterinoslav, the town in which the Alexeiffs usually spent the winter months, had about 25,000 inhabitants, many of whom were Jews. We were met at the railway station of a little branch line by many friends and officials and were driven in three carriages, each drawn by four horses, to the ferry boat where, side by side, all kinds of carts and carriages were packed, as close together as sardines in a tin. Taken in tow by a steamer, the ferry was drawn up the river and floated down to the landing place, the current being too swift to allow of a more direct crossing.      From the boat, the town looked very attractive: built round a hill, which rose almost directly out of the Aviver, with   some well-wooded and well-planned gardens and an old palace in the h highest part--all seemed to indicate a pleasant place in which to ,r spend the coming warm weather; but my ideas were soon changed. The dust was terrible and, in wet places, the mud was so deep that even four horses were not sufficient to pull the heavy carriages through. The cneif street was a very wide boulevard, running in a straight line up o the gardens on the hill. The part for pedestrians, lined with acacias, was in the middle of the wide street and it often happened that stepping stones had to be placed at the crossings to enable one to reach the footpath.      In those days there were two chief officials in each province; the Governor, appointed by the Czar, and the Grand Marshal of the Nobility, elected by the nobles themselves. Jr. Dournovo was the Governor and Mr. Alexeiff the Grand Marshal of a province that was larger than England.      Mr. Alexeiff's house was built right on the street, from which it was separated by a spiked iron fence. At the gateway to the yard were armed sentinels who paced up and down the bit of pavement or stood ia their sentry-box night and day. A whole regiment of servants were assembled in the yard to welcome the family home:-coachmen, watchmen, gardeners, footmen, cooks, waiters, maids and wives and children of some of the men. 1 was given a maid for my exclusive use, and, to find sufficient work for her to do, was quite a task--at first. She could speak French fortunately, and taught me a few Russian words every time she brushed my hair. The first thing I wanted was a bath. There was, however, no bathroom in the house; but a collapsible rubber bath was brought in and my maid directed that I must sit in the middle to keep the sides up while she poured water over me. Then she left me to wash while she brushed and shook all my clothes in the open air, a very necessary piece of work in such a dusty town. I was surprised to see such a long table in the dining room, with several extra places always laid. It was a hospitable custom; a provision for any stray guests; for if anyone arrived just before meal time they were expected to stay and eat.      The meals were:- 9 a.m. tea and toast, 1 p.m. luncheon, consisting of three courses, and dinner at 5 or 6 p.m. with from seven to twelve courses. Before dinner we were invited to a side table on which were a number of appetisers, which were eaten standing: oysters, cheese, radishes, smoked fish, etc., besides liqueurs, were spread before us: With the soup, various pates were handed round, or boiled cereals such as wheat, buckwheat, millet or rice with butter. The fish might be anything from the tiny whitebait to the lordly sturgeon. Occasionally this last fish was served whole; it would be carried in by two waiters on a narrow dish, long enough to reach across the table where it was passed over our heads, allowing people sitting opposite eache other to help themselves at the same tim. There would follow the usual entrees, a roast, various vegetables, savouries, sweets and fruit. A sucking-pig, roasted whole, was a favorite dish in spring. The sweet dish was usually ice cream. The head cook was very clever; he often made a large basket of spun sugar and filled it with balls of ice cream of various colors. Tea was served at 9 p.m. without sugar or cream; many people placed two or three tablespoons of red currant jam in their glass, others preferred a slice of lemon. After dinner a cup in a deep saucer was placed beside each guest and every one, very audibly, rinsed out their mouth: Vera whispered to me, "Wait till we get up; we will go to the side table." Inreq:ately after a meal the guests turned towards the Icon, or sacred picture, and said grace and then, even the children, walked up to their hostess and thanked her.      We arrived in the town during Lent, which in the Russian Church was observed as a fast for seven weeks. During all that time very little meat was touched and that only on Sundays or some feast day; fish and fish soups, vegetables, mushrooms, cheese dishes and junket constituted the chief dishes, and during Passion Week no milk or butter was allowed; olive oil, mustard oil and almond milk were the substitutes.      I was glad to be in Russia for Easter for I had heard it spoken about so often. There were services every day during Holy Reek and on the Thursday before Good Friday every one carried home lighted candles with which they lighted little lamps hanging in front of the Icons. The candles had been lighted in the Cathedral from a light brought from the Church of the ;frig sepulchre in Jerusalem. On Easter eve at 11 p.m. we drove to the Cathedral, all dressed in our best clothes. IA   had been cautioned not to wear   black or any dark colour, for this was their greatest festival; but I was very surprised to find the ladies in evening (low cut) gowns and the men in court dress or in gala uniforms. The Cathedral was crowded, every one standing or kneeling, for there are no seats in a Russian Church. Vera said, when I remarked about standing, "You would not sit down in the presence of an earthly King." For the first hour, the Bishop and Priests were in black and the singing was rather solemn; then the clergy retired through the small side door in the screen; perfect silence reigned, everybody on their knees.   At 12 o'clock the wide golden gates were thrown open (the only time during the year that the altar is visible) and the Bishop, in a white silk robe and vestments richly embroidered with gold and precious stones, came forward saying, "Christ is risen." The whole congregation then rose and replied, "he is risen indeed." And one and all walked up to the Bishop and kissed his hand. The whole congregation then seemed to be kissing each other.   Later in the morning when we went home the girls played a trick on me. During the drive they taught me to say "Christ is risen" in Russian and told me to say it to anyone I met. Standing at the door of the house in a long row were sundry coachmen and others, so I at once said "Christos vos cres." I was disagreeably surprised at the result, for they all came forward repeating the answer and kissed me, but not on my hand.   After the service we drove to the Governor's for now the long fast was to be broken. Presently all the chief people of the town arrived and the Bishop blessed the food that covered the tables. Coloured eggs by the hundred, pies, and cakes of every description but the most conspicuous were three Easter Cakes, each a foot or more in diameter and four feet high. I was told that for our cakes, which were very similar, the cook used (or charged for) one thousand eggs: The feast had begun at tne Bishop's and it ended later at our house; but we girls withdrew then, and crept into our beds as it was nearly 4 a.m.   Now that Lent was over, there were numerous dinner parties both at the lexeiffs' and at the Governor's. At one of these,   given by the d)rrnovos, there were twenty guests, nearly all intimate friends. we were looking forward to a very merry evening when a telegram was brought to the Governor. It announced the startling fact, that the Czar had been shot at, that morning. dr. Alexeiff decided to go to St. Petersburg next day to congratulate the Emperor on his escape. As Chenerlain he had the right to enter the palace at any time. The vole evening was taken up in sending telegrams and in making arrangeents with the other Marshals of nobility in the province. The s: e day that nr. Alexeiff went, the Governor was called to a disiewt town to quell some riots that had broken out. We heard some one remark that times were threatening.   After Easter, lessons began. The music teacher was a professional pianist but, owing to ill-health, she no longer gave public concerts but had six pupils in the town and lived at . Alexeiff's in the annex (the building on the other side of the gate). She offered to take me also as a pupil if I would play, as the others did, at her fortnightly private concerts, and give her some help with her English. There were three pianos in the house, two of them grand pianos, and almost every evening Marie Zakharovna would play to us by the hour--most beautifully. All morning from 6.30 the girls practised their music and prepared lessons for their masters. Directly after lunch, Fraulein or I would take them for two hours, then a professor from the high School would deliver a lecture, and from 4.30 to 6 p.m. another master would instruct them. Twice a week the music lessons from 9 to 12, and twice a week the drawing master would be there from 11 to 12:30. In the afternoon twice a week they had three masters, the priest being the third. There were no holidays except on Sundays, and even then they practised their music.      Whilst the professors were in the schoolroom, Fraulein or I had to sit in the adjoining room (the music room) to chaperon them; I suggested that we study English and German together, which we did.      Although I practised my music and studied German, I still had plenty of time on my hands, so Mme. Alexeiff often took me for long drives with her. There were two sets of horses in their stables, four blacks and four greys, with a (different coachman for each, so that we could always have a carriage without interfering with   . Alexeiff's duties, which were quite numerous. One day Mine. Alexeiff told me she was sending for three or four saddle horses, so I had better have a riding habit made--something for my maid to do at last!      My bedroom looked onto the yard, which was a grass plot surrounded by buildings,--cottages for the men and their families, the kitchens, the stables, more cottages, the carriage house and the annex. There was also a garden and a wood-shed, not visible from my window. .Four watchmen walked round the house and yard all night long, and to show that they were not asleep they had to shake clappers; not very conductive to peaceful rest, especially when two of them would stand antler my window for the sake of shelter. Later in the year, Ar. Alexeiff gave them little trumpets much more distracting than the clappers because they played different notes, making horrible discords.      The girls and I always practised with the windows open and were often amused with the remarks of passers by. One day a great number of men and women crowded the pavement and asked if they might come nearer the window. When given permission, they jumped over the iron railing and climbed up to the window-ledge to look at the piano which Jlga was playing. They were delighted   with it and asked what it was called. They told us they lived a great way off, on the Steppes to the east, and were going on a pilgrimage to Kiev, for they feared locusts were coming great quantities to their district. They had ,inever seen or heard any musical instrument, because the only building larger than a cottage with which they were familiar was the village church, and no man--   made instrument was in Russia considered good enough for the douse of God-- the human voice alone was permitted.      AA the beginning of June we went to the country seat, about seventy miles away. The trunks, which filled three wagons, had started at 4 a.m. and were drawn by fourteen oxen, accompanied by some of the servants and one coachman who was leading four hourses. Other servants, including the chef with most of his cooking utensils and two or three assistants, were on the road six hours before we steed. When we were dressed ready to go, we assembled in the dining room and sat down for a few minutes for silent meditation and prayer, which ended by all turning   to the icon making the sign of the Cross. This custom was followed whenever anyone was going on a journey.      We had three coaches, each drawn by six and afterwards by eight horses; four abreast, two in front with a postillion and two in front of them with another postillion--all hired horses. The river was low now, exposing a number of sandy islands; the ferry would have been dangerous and the crossing was ;ode by a bridge of boats. it was rather alarming, for our conveyances were so heavy that water came under the wheels aad we seemed to be going up hill all the way across.      Roads over the steppes we -.e ere tracks, often of great width if a muddy place were enco, tered a detour would be made.   The government had built a number of macadamized roads, each starting from some village and leading to no particular place, with the idea that they would be appreciated and completed; but in South Russia, where not a stone is to be found, this idea had not taken hold. We drove sever- ;lc nut of our way to go as far as this macadamized road permitted.      Mounted police accompanied or preceded us to show the best trails, for there were no fences on 17here and different properties were divided merely by ditches. nt the first village, the end of the (die aee, all the ast-hourses were cheshed. Here, a   man who had eeee reconnoiteriae cane to say we nas change our route, as a crevasse hsd formed in the soil. These crevasses are caused partly by the frest but increase in hot, dry weather such as we had been having.      About three hours after leaving aterinos]av, we arrived   at a village aelonging to t'. Alexeiff, we ad aach at the   house of a tenant farmer--a German. Jiro- here, ,_:c ff had   her own four horses with post-horses in front and, the ext time we changed, they all belonged to ar. Alexeiff. sae see...any was monotonous, for there were no trees excepting near rivers and no hills even in the distance; but the flowers were beautiful and varied, the rarest and prettiest being a large crimson ane ne which they say is never found where the land has been plou'hed. We had to ford a small river and, near another one, our coac, r received whispered directions. He took off his cap and crossed himself before -nipping his horses, to gallop over a small wooden bridge. Iera, woo sat in the same carriage with me, asked him what had been the co nenication and was told that the bridge was out of repair and covered with straw to prevent the horses shying at the holes; he had thought it best to cross quickly, whilst his prayer was still on his lips.      Ten miles before reaching Katovka, . lexeiff met some of his chief shepherds who guarded, night and day, his twenty thousand merino sheep, a Spanish breed celebrated for their beautiful silky wool. Arrived at Katovka, we were driven straight to the Church where the priest and all the servants (except those who were still on the road) were awaiting us, and we returned thanks for having arrived home safely. The Russians were certainly a religious people but there was also a tremendous amount of superstition, just as there is in many countries. No one travelled without bells on their horses, winter or summer, chiefly I think to alarm wild animals and to announce one's approach to villagers on the way, but I also heard it said that the bells kept away evil spirits.      It had been a very tiring journey, our skin was chapped and sore from the hot breeze and we seemed to be full of Cist. dme. Alexeiff and Ol had travelled in a closed card" =e and   had wound sheets them to keep out the dust, Id had preferred the op air notwithstanding the drawhac      I was delighted with Katovka--a long, rambling house with deep verandahs on three sides, and joined to the guest house by a long corridor on the fourth side. it stood in extensive grounds {89 acres) filled with a wooded park on one side and well-cultivated gardens on the other, a long sweep of lawn running down from the east side of the house to a small lake, behind which were some extensive woods, a river, and some hills in the distance. There were several summer houses, used occasionally as bed-rooms when the house was over-full, and a belvedere, or look-out, built on a lound on the -st part of the garden. Here the flag flew when the family was at home, and a man was always on watch to announce the approac of visitors or to give warning of a fire. From the upper part of the belvedere we had a very good view of the village; cottages standing well apart, with barns etc. all built by the peasants themselves of interwoven willow very thickly plastered and colour washed. These peasants seemed to be a very happy, contented class, always singing their beautiful little Russian songs ion their way home from work. The Sunday after our arrival was the feast of Trinity and Pentecost; the Church and Page 13.   our house were decorated with new mown grass on the floors and young saplings, of hard wood, in the corners.      .e. Alexeiff undertook to show me everything of interest and the first expedition was to see the sheep-shearing some distance away. It was in a very large building, where about seventy men were busy clipping thirty to thirty-five sheep each a day--one man clipped as many as fifty. They were paid two cents for each sheep shorn.   The superintendent told Ame. Alexeiff that wolves had killed four rams the previous night. In the same building numbers of girls were sorting the wool, some men packing it up and the clerk weighing and sending it off to the warehouses. A few weeks later, sir. Alexeiff went to the fair at Poltava and sat behind a stall in the open air, in company with other nobles, exhibiting samples of his wool to likely buyers. The price he obtained was fifty cents a pound. His sheep with a lamb (of the merino breed) were worth about ten dollars; but a peasant's sheep, which was the only mutton good to eat, was worth one dollar.      I could not imagine any of our nobility marketing their own wool or wheat, but it was the only way in Russia where there was no middle class--there were, it is true, merchants and bankers etc., but they were nearly all foreigners, generally Jews or Germans.      Mr. Alen'ff was of high rank--one below the Grand Dukes--but he had gained that rank year by year through his work for the country, just in the same way as a lieutenant may rise to the position of commander-in-chief. If he had a son, he would have been of the lowest rank until he had earned promotion. There were about twelve ranks in Russian society and it was entirely due to his own merit, and to the good opinion of those in art,ority over him, if a young man gradually worked his way up. The peror alone conferred the rank upon each individual, but he generally acted according to the advice of the Governor or ,tbf the Grand marshal of the province in which the young man resided. One could tell at a glance the rank of every man, for when not wearing the actual order (Star, Cross, etc), he always had a bit of ribbon denoting it in his buttonhole. In some cases, Orders and advancement flowed in with great regularity, but there were often cases where a hard-working, loyal man was seemingly overlooked. In Ekaterinoslav, I saw a doctor, nearly sixty years of age, burst into tears at the unexpected presentation of an Order which admitted him to the sixth rank; and one of the Grad Aarshal's secretaries, a man of humble origin looked inclined to e hesce everybody when after many years' service, he was given a sword or dagger which was the mark of nobility.   It may surprise some readers that I spoke of a doctor receiving an Order, but doctors were all under the government. They were paid by the state and, from the Feldsher in each village to the Superintendent or Surgeon-in-Chief of each government or province, all were subject to supervision. Each had a certain round of visits   to make to different villages or towns, somewhat like Sanitary Inspectors Page 14.   and all wore uniforms. In the larger towns were specialists, of course, but they were generally attached to some hospital and were in most cases paid by the government or by the Red Cross society, which, in peace or in war, did great work in Russia.      I was told, by an Englishman, that rank was sold in Russia to the highest bidder; but I am sure this was not the case. The idea must have arisen from the fact that when an Order was bestowed upon   a man, all he received was the ribbon--the ornament he had to pay for. He might get an ()iron one , a silver one or one elaborately worked in gold and set with diamonds, and as Russians were fond of jewels they generally bought the diamonds if they could possibly afford them. All these stars and ornaments were sold by the government and in that way, no doubt, a nice little sum was realized.      Soon after I arrived in Russia Is asked what my Christian name was, also my father's name-- because Mr. and Mrs. or Miss were not used in Russia, nor any prefix whatsoever. I, servant would announce Olga Ivanovna or Peter Ivanovitch without mentioning the family name. I was henceforth always called Loubov Richardovna--Amy the daughter of Richard.      Opposite the entrance to the drive were many buildings; dairy, laundry, stables, cottages for the chief retainers, kitchens, store-rooms, etc; the Church was on one side and behind the Church the village where 3,000 peasants lived. I visited the dairy which, to my surprise, was heated even in June. The milk was being durdled, a favourite dish in -ussia���very acid, and yet quite fresh, it was served in the evening with or without spices and sugar: a most wholesome and refreshing dish. Every kind of cheese was made them cottage, cream, cheddar and stilton etc. Seventy-five cows were milked and all the milk, butter and cheese they produced was used in the house. This seemed incredible to me until I heard that the cows reared their own calves.      The girls were too busy to go the rounds with us. They were . still practising two hours or more on the piano, though Marie Zakaroyna the music teacher, had remained in Ekaterinoslay. They were also very much occupied writing out, from their notes, the lectures they had heard from their masters. Vera and I used to rise at 6.30 and walk in the garden for two hours before breakfast, and she offered to recite the lectures on Pussia- history whilst we were walking. These I wrote out every day, ' ediately after breakfast, and found it very interesting. We had oe- Laglish lessons every other day, and I also read music with Olga as often as we were able. There were piles of classical music arranged for four hands, and some for two pianos; nearly every opera, concerto and sympbe, that I had ever heard of���and we enjoyed them all.      In that hot climate, the most enjoyable part of the day was that devoted to bathing in a river two or three miles away; Page 15.   we drove there every day before dinner, always with four horses. I had an unpleasant experience one day, while sitting on the box by the coachman, the place we liked best. Our road lay through   a timber belt where the mud holes could not be avoided in the way they were on the open plain. The whole way, we went up and down   over a series of cradle-holes, or what wire called in Canada 'cahots'. A young horse, on my side, fancied he could avoid an extra big hole by going the other side of a tree. All his harness snapped apart except the one rein, and even that was pulled out of the coachman's hands. There were six reins for four horses abreast and, for safety's sake, they were all tied to the iron bar behind. This one rein passed round me so tightly that I could hardly breathe. The coach-man, seeing my predicament, tried vainly to untie it. Then he jumped out and endeavoured, without alarming the horse behind, to force the others to back up; but there were four people inside and the carriage was heavy. He jumped in again and seized the rein and tugged at it until it broke. I don't know if, had the young horse struggled, I ih   should have been pulled off the box, but the coachman had come to that conclusion. Directly the rein broke, the horses went forward and we went down into the hole. The man looked very white and I felt very grateful to him, through I carried the mark of his knuckles for many a day.      in the evening we rode, cared to, and each   had a horse they called their own. were traine   head groom, who always accompanied a; ~e .ad been a cavalry an and trained the. horses by word of the first day I roe   country, I was mounted on a hi c ar belonging ', There   were eight of us riding and, as re walked out of the rive, I was talking with the Doctor and trying to understand his broken French when suddenly our horses started galloping. I lost my stirrup and told the Doctor that I could not pull up my horse; but just the:: the room said a word, the horses stopped dead and I went over   ead, landing under his very nose. :Ir. Alexeiff, -   rode ht always followed in a carriage, teasingly declared that if he had been in the Doctor's place i should not have fallen. The   poor Doctor never heard the last of it. We went to see the stud from which our mounts were chosen. There were two hundred mares and foals. Some cavalry regiments were supplied with horses from this stable.      I found village life in Russia most interesting. ' communal arah7e land was divided so that each household   share. l'e '' of each fa ' T elected annualle   (or as he was , seorsible for the tames cI   e was interec ' id having. everydY   farm w which was perfolmad as much by the we an as by the me   was entirely ais guidance; no sowing, no reaping, no turning   out of cattle was allowed. until he gave the word.      The Council of :ieehs (heads of eace !told) used to   meet to discuss village affeies outside the Alexe'ff's garden; where   an artificial with seaNts, on the top enabled us to witness   the meeting. Page 16      I was surprised to see how well it was conduc ted. The head man did not take much part in it at first; discussions would be carried on by several groups simultaneously and, after a time, he would call out, "Now, stupids, what do you want?" The problem would then be discussed aloud and soon settled. It was interesting to find that some women were allowed to speak and were listened to politely. This village Mir decided many things for the welfare or advance of village life--whether they would have a gin shop, what to do with refractory taxpayers, etc. It had existed for hundreds of years and was considered by many people to be the best form of democracy. There was one flaw that was usually considered a drawback; it was that, whenever the census was taken, the arable land had to be re-divided to provide for the increase in the number of families, which division was not conducive to good farming.   In the south central district the land was   extremely fertile, requiring no manure, though a three year rotation, or one year fallow, was followed. The peasants were sure of reaping abundant harvests and were seldom willing to undertake any farm work for the Great   Man, or Lord of the Manor. In parts further North, however, the soil was poor and the village communal farms were generally left to the care of the oldest and youngest members of the community, while the strongest--women as well as men--went south to do the harvest work for the wealthy. They camped out in the fields, and, after three or four months' work, journeyed back to their own districts,taking, as part   of their wages, wagon loads of wheat, tobacco, hemp, flax, maize, etc.      In the winter months every village had its own particular handicraft, besides the work of spinning   weaving for their own use. Four or five villag ewould   be engaged in making nails, others boots, others linen, etc. Although, as a rule, ignorant and lazy, they were quick to learn not only handicrafts but also higher branches of education. In Mr. Alexeiff's village there were coachbuilders, lace makers, cabinet makers and workers in metal. Amongst the footmen who were villagers, all understood French, two spoke French and English perfectly, one was quite an artist, another made the liveries they wore and all very musical.      The peasants lived quite simply; black bread, cucumbers and melons, vegetable soup and occasionally mutton or chicken formed their fare. They were very fond of sunflower seed   which they ate all day long, extracting the kernels with their ton tongues and df;opping the shells about --just like parrots. Page 17      Many people have the idea that Russian peasants were dirty. I admit that their home-cured sheepskin coats were very odoriferous, but they were not dirty in their clothes or their persons. Every village was provided with a public bath and its weekly use was almost a religious ritO, for the orthodox Russian would not think of going to church on Sunday without having under-gone his Saturday purification. The bath consisted of a room in which they were subjected to steam, produced,   in some villages, by water being poured on red hot stones. After a good rub, many of them would run out of doors, in winter, and roll in the snow.      e. Alwxeiff and Olga were not very well that summer and were recommended to try the grape cure in the Crimea. Accordingly, we left for Ekaterinoslav   where we entrained for Savastopol in a special car. There was not much of interest to attract our attention the first part of the journey, a flat dreary plain with not a tree or a village in sight, but very early next morning we got up to look at the putrid sea, whose shore was lined with a salt deposit which seemed to smell of iodine. Here we had an excellent view of the Crimean mountains, over one hundred miles away. Chatyr Dagh, like a tent, was the highest, and very beautiful it looked in the sun-rise. From Simpheropol, the chief town of the Crimea, the scenery was very varied; hills and woods and vineyards. The railway entered several tunnels and afforded us occasional glimpses of the sea, which was of a most beautiful blue. At Sevastopol, we took rooms in a hotel looking on the harbour and went out to view the town--it 4ould be more exact to say cumbered but, as for the town, the houses were ruins, bare walls with young saplings growing inside, all roofless; and yet it was twenty-six years since we bombarded it. A few new buildings, including a museum and two hotels, showed that it was not a city of the dead. Only near the harbour, where steamers and sailing vessels came up to disgorge their cargoes, was any real life apparent.      We took a boat to visit the spot where, to impede the advance of the British fleet, a Russian man-of-war was sunk in the narrow channel leading to the harbour and, on the way back, we climbed the hill on which stands the Russian Memorial Chapel in the largest of the Russian cemeteries. The chapel is built of stone in the shape of an Easter cake (some-thing like a pyramid). On the walls are the names Page 18      of the regiments that were annihilated and, inside the chapel, the names of the officers killed. For a war of such short duration, the number seemed to be unusually large: On the East side of the chapel was a very fine picture, painted on lava, representing an angel telling Mary, "Not here, but risen:" The cemetery was a large one and the inscription on nearly eve��y headstone was "Brothers Too"--(all of them unknown soldiers:      We visited Inkerman, celebrated for its pre-historic caves which honeycomb the face of the cliff. It was here that Pope Clement worked as a eonvicg in some neighbouring quarries; he and his fellow-workers worshipped in one of these caves, said to be the largest crypt church in the world. Clements was martyred for converting his fellow-wor0s. On the hill here, were remains of the ancient city of Theodosia. Whilst we were at Sevastopol, we heard that the Czar was coming to reviewsome troops. Numerous generals in g.la uniforms went to meet his yacht and with them .de British Consul, looking very distinguished in his quiet dress which exactly suited his grave and dignified demeanor, The streets were decorated for   the occasion and we made our balcony bright with flags and   4.e eeeae et. wondered if the Emperor would look up and recognize us. We were made perfectly happy when, on his way back, he glanced up and saluted and smiled. Three days later when Mr. Alexeiff was lunching with him, the Czar told him he had seen his little girls and their English friend in Sevastopol.      Some English people had commissioned Mr. Alexeiff to find and photograph the grave of a certain General, so we visited many 6f the twenty-seven English cemeteries accfmpanied by General Korff, the Commander of the Crimean forces. During the search, the tww gentlemen were much amused to find a headstone bearing this inscfiption, "Sacred to the memory of the right arm of Colonel Henry."      At Balaklava we took tea with an L:rm.enian Prince. The town, or rather village, of Balaklava is built on the shored of an arm of the sea, so shut in by hills that it looks like a lake. We walked up the long slope where our, Russian guns, and examined the simple obelisk that marks the place where they died. Iwas glad o hear words of admiration from all the Russians who were with me. After-wards some boys led us by a very difficult path round a cliff, until we could see the place outside the harbour where so much of our soldiers, payroll and equipmeng was lost, in a ship that foundered in water so deep that it has never been recovered, though several companies have Page 19      tried to salvage it. The hills were of red, white and green marble. On the summit of one hill were the remains of a Genoese town and also towers (built without mortar) of a much older ruin--thought to be Scythian. A light-house interested me, as I had never been in one before. It consisted of sheets of thick glass revolving round   a small oil lamp, and I noticed that it came from Chance's factory in Birmingham.      We left Sevastopol for Yalta, a distance of forty miles, one day at 6 A.M., in hired carriages. Arrived at the village of Baidar at 10 A.M., where a halt of three hours was necessary in order to give the horses a rest; we went a walk hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the Tartar women, who always cover their faces in the presence of men. We were successful; and those we saw were not only beautiful but wore very pretty costumes of many colours. They had long and full trousers, rather short skirts and a long over-garment which was turned back and fastened behind. The bodice was cut open in the shape of a V in front, with long, tight-fitting sleeves. All wore a great deal of silver and gold embroidery. On their heads were white shawls embroidered all over, and a large cloak enveloped them if any man appeared.      Men went to the Mosque to pray seven times a day; but women, who were thought to have no souls, were never permitted to enter the sacred edifice. At 12, we heard the muezzin calling to prayer from a little window in a tower near the Mosque, and saw the men troop in. Retaining their headgear but discarding their shoes at the door, they touched their ears, placed their hands on their knees and bowed to the ground. After praying silently, they said something aloud in a very mournful voice, sat down and told some beads, touched their beards and went out.      From the village of Baidar our road gradually ascended for four miles, when we arrived at the famous sate of Baidar. We had been driving through a somewhat dreary plain when, quite unexpectedly, the most magnificent view was unfolded. We were near the summit of   a hill 2000 feet high; on the left, in the distance, was a range of mountains and, at our feet, the bluest of blue seas. A man pointed out the place where the Prince and Princess of dales had had breakfast, for they had been at the Gate in time to see the run rise, which, he seemed to intimate rather reproachfully, was the proper time to see that beautiful view. Page 20         Our road, now, was all on the downward grade, winding backwards and forwards, often with short tunnels at the turning places. The trees were beautiful and the road well made. Yalta was the most fashionable seaside resort in Russia. It was built on the shores of a small sheltered bay, and boasted of possessing a climate as mild and salubrious as that of Nice. Every hotel and every private house was filled to capacity, and several parties just arrived could obtain but one room with a clothes closet for dressing room.      Fortunately Mr. Alexeiff had had five rooms in a private home reserved for us, at 250. a month, which was thought to be a ruinous sum. I had to share my room with Fraulein, who objected to sleeping with the window open; added to that, we were limited to a small allowance of water, not. because our own servanlis were unwilling to fetch more, but there was only one water jug to be had. But, compared with the privations some guests had to endure, mine were really negligible. The tent which we had brought with us was erected on the beach and, for the first time in my life, I experienced the delights of sea bathing. There is no tide in the Black Sea, so that our tent was not far   from the water, but we could not walk even that distance on the pebbles without wearing straw shoes. `bye had been advised to provide ourselves with a certain earth (like Fuller's Earth) which would lather in sea water, and thus prevent the stickiness usually left, especially in the hair, after bathing. It is excellent and is found in quantities, norbt of the Crimea. The water was warm and extremely buoyant, so that I found swimming quite easy, Although there were no regular tides, yet, towards the end of our stay in Yalta, there was one stormy night and the sea nearly swept our tent away.      The ruins of the ancient city of Khersonesus interested me for it was there that Vladimir, the first Russian Prince, was baptized. When Vladimir changed his religion, he chose to belong to the Greek church but was too proud to ask for baptism--as he thought it beneath, the dignity of a Russian to ask a favour from anyone. Not powerful enough to attack Byzantium, he Page 21         took an army into the Crimea and laid seige to Khersonesus, an important Greek fort. After a year's siege, it seemed that the town was impregnable and the Russians might have given up the takk if a Greek priest had not betrayed his countrymen. He sent a letter secretly to Vladimir and told him that the   only water supply was a small river and, if the course of that river were turned, the Greeks would have to capitulate. The priest said he was betraying his countrymen because he realized the great gain to be derived to the church by the conversion of Russia. Vladimir caused a canal to be dug and was soon master of the situation.      Proposing his own terms of peace, he demanded that Princess Anne, the sister of the two reigning Emperors of Byzantium, or Constantinople, be given him in marriage, and that some priests and a Bishop be sent to him. He was then baptised a# Khersonesus (in 988) and he took the Bishop and Priests to Kiev. The part of the town still existing was in the care of the monks of a monastery standing within the ancient walls. The lower parts of many of the houses, mostly marble, were still in good preservation and in many places the floors were of a coarse kind of mosaic. Their Chapel was built over the Church in whick Vladimir was baptized. We examined some of the numerous wells sunk by the Greeks during the last weeks of the siege, in their vain endeavours to find water. From Khersonesus there was a fine view of Sevastopol, ennabling us to trace the position of the various forts which defended that town for so long.      Another day, we went to see St. George's Monastery. The drive was along a dry, burnt up plain high above the sea, but wearisome and hot though it was, we were fully repaid for our discomfort. The Monastery was built on the very edge of the tableland, and the cliffs below were as remarkable for their beautiful verdure as the rocky plains above were remarkable for their barrenness. To the right, in the distance could be seen another cape and, near to us, bare, beautifully coloured granite rocks rising out of the sea below. $ ~e Page 22   decended by a winding path and one thousand rough stone steps to the bench, to get a better view of the Cape St. George (Fiolente) from which, in ancient times, all strangers found on the coast were hurled into the sea, as sacrifices to the Tauric Diana, afterwards called Iphegenia. The beach was covered with beautiful pebbles--rare stones among them. As we came up again, a dilapidated cottage attracted our attention; it had been occupied for some time, were told, by an English General (Lord Raglan, I believe) during the Crimean war. The chapel of St. George was very beautiful and rich in jewels.      There were several show places in the vicinity of Yalta: Livadia, the Czar's villa, situated in a beautiful garden; and Orianda, a much more pretentious home belonging to his uncle. This mansion was a large square building with an interior court where fountains played. The grounds were very extensive, rising in natural terraces from the sea in a gentle slope for several hundred fe r. In one part of the grounds were two artificial ponds, exact replicas in shape of the Caspian and the Black Seas, with every town named in its proper place.      But the most beautiful residence was that of Prince Worontzoff, called Alupka. This Prince was one of the richest men in Russia. It was said that his father used to send his soiled linen every week to a laundry in England. Alupka, build by an English Architect, reminded me of an old Norman castle; its walls covered with ivy Were of green porphyry. Prince Worontzoff owned many vineyards and the fame of his wine owed much to the natural caves in which it was kept.      We enjoyed many rides in the Crimea. The small Tartar horses, famous for their peculiar trot, were called "other goers." They seemed to run instead of canter. I rode one that had belonged to the Duchess of Edinburgh, a favourite mount, I was told. Mme. Alexeiff dropped her handkerchief one day and the Tartar who accompanied us dashed up and restored it to her without slackening his pace. We tested him further by dropping small coins; he was equally clever in retrieving th&m. Page 23   This same Tartar asked if we would like   to see a Tartar house and, as the idea pleased every-one, we were conducted to the door of a cottage. The roofs of Tartar houses in the Crimea were quite flat, covered with earth which quickly became green with   grass. Balconies nearly surrounded the houses, and on these balconies could be seen tobacco and grapes drying on the floor and men lounging about--for they were very lazy. In this house were three brothers, their sister and their mother. The men could speak Russian very well. We were taken through their best room to one in which were some chairs, where we were invited to sit down. Grapes, walnuts, other nuts and some very nice apples were offered to us. The men and the girl remained standing and we noticed that the girl never spoke in the presence of the men. The men talked about many things and seemed to be very intelligent. Mr. Alexeiff asked if they ever found any coins and the eldest said he had a few. While Mr. Alexeiff was examining some of them, lime. Alexeiff pointed out that   I was English. This surprised them and the eldest brother immediately brought me some more grapes and tlld me to tell Queen Victoria how I was treated in a Tartar house.      Mr. Alexeiff as?red how much he must give for the coins he had chose, and the man turned to me and said that he had heard that the English were the most intelligent and honest people, so I had better decide. (I cannot think how he received that impression, for   it is not at all the idea of the Russians; at a fortress near Sevastopol an old soldier told us that the English were Jews, are Jews and always will be Jews.) In the end, Mr. Alexeiff gave him six shillings and he actually asked for more. I think itwas the sight of a gold cigarette box that made him greedy. They each took a cigarette but would not receive fire from anyone but the youngest. Afterwards, the eldest brother took us to his house across the yard and we were shown into the best room. It was beautifully furnished. The   floor had a handsome carpet, cushioned divans were round the walls and there were a number of cushions on the floor also, most of them silk and embroidered with silver or gold.   _broidered drapery covered the walls and the window was screened with thin muslin covered with silver embroidery. Page 24   He called his wife--a handsome woman, tall and slight, with beautiful eyes and delicately shaped hands coloured with henna. She wore a costume of silk, a massive silver waistband, a gold embroidered cap and numerous rings. The Emperor had been present a *heir wedding and had given to each of them a ring, and to the man a watch as well. He turned to me and said I was to tell the English that, though they did not make pistols here, they made their houses comfortable and pretty. As he accompanied us to the ymard, he pointed to a very handsome horse with a saddle of black leather embossed with gold, and said casually that that was for the wife he was going to marry next week. Whereupon Fraulein began to moralize and we, to cut her short, made our adieux and hurried away.      The most notable personage at Yalta was General Todleben who, during the Crimean war, had defended Sevastopol ao gallantly. He was a tall, fine-looking man, a favourite with everybody, and held the post of Governor General of the Forces. The Emperor came into Yalta one morning to honour Todleben by giving him the title of Count, as a recognition of his services. Everybody congratulated him and Todleben told the Alexeiffs that he did not prize as much the title of Count as the manner in which the Emperor had announced the honour to him. It was after &lurch service that the soldiers were drawn up in order and the lnperor, placing himself in front of them, saluted Todleben and said, Hurrah for the Hero of Savastopol:rt In the harbour that day was a round ironclad called, after the name of the inventor, a Popofka. Most of the vessel was under water, only a flat deck and a conning tower, fitted with guns pointing in every direction, was visible. A salute was fired from all the guns in honour of the Emperor and Todleben. We often met and chatted with the General--I was rather annoyed when he asked me if I came from Switzerland; but perhaps I should have considered it a etmpliment because the English rarely have a pure French accent. He said that, although he had been to England several times, and although his daughters had an English companion, he had never mastered the language. Page 25         All this time we were taking the 'grape-cure.' (I took every cure that was being taken, to be more companionable and to give less trouble about meals). We started with a pound of grapes a day, gradually increasing the amount until our throats were parched. I never ate more than five pounds a day, but manta people ate eight pounds. They were the native grapes, not very large, pinkish in colour and costing five cents a pound, which was a little dearer than usual. The gardens of Nikita were very interesting, for there could be seen every tree, plant and shrub that would grow in the Crimea, and the largest collection of vines in the world. The palms and magnolias were very fine, also the Tauric pines. As the end of November drew near, we packed in preparation for driving to Simpheropol. But three times our journey had to be postponed owing to heavy rain.      The third day we really started but, about thirty miles from Yalta, were overtaken by another downpour. Our carriages were quite open to the sky, which fact forced us to seek shelter in a dirty little town called Alushta. Here we stayed the night. The road from Yalta to Alushta was almost as beautiful as from Sevastopol to Yalta. We were now in front of Chatyr Dagh, which we found covered with snow. Near Chatyr Dagh was a mountain named after Catherine II because, in the rocky summit, is a natural head resembling that sovereign. There is a fountain on the wayside raised to the memory of General Rutuzoff; while defending a bay near Alushta from the Turks in 1774, this officer was shot; the bullet went through his head from theright eye to the left ear. He lived until 1813 with the loss of one eye only.      From 6impheropol we took the train for Bakchiserai, a Tartar industrial town and the former chief place of residence of the khans, or Tartar princes of the Crimea. Arrived at the station, we took carriages and drove to the palace. It is impossible to describe the condition of the streets. To begin with, some kind of pavement had evidently, in bygone days, been laid down, for large flat stones appeared in places as islands in rivers of water and mud, upsetting the equilibrium of our rattletrap conveyances. Then the streets were so narr ow that, in order to pass another Page 26   carriage, you had to climb the precipitous sides, giving a still more alarming tilt to the carriages. At last we arrived at the palace. Mr. Alexeiff had telegraphed to the officer in charge that we wished   to spend the day there; accordingly we found two rooms ready for us. The furniture was unique. The Turkish and Persian carpets and the unusual decorations on the walls, which were partly painted and partly covered with beautiful curtains, were characteristic of Asiatic art. We were delighted with what we saw in those two rooms, but left further exploration until our return from Chufut Kale, the real object of our visit pet to Bakchiserai. This was a town belonging to the Karaim Jews, a tribe peculiar to the Crimea and parts of South Russia. This town was built four or five hundred years before the Christian era--probably by some of the Lost Tribes of Israel. It is situated   on the summit of a precipitous rock 2500 feet above the level of the sea, accessible only on one side and, even on that side, the road was so poor and so steep that we preferred to walk most of the way. It was a walled city with only one entrance and one street wide enough to admit any wheeled conveyance. Other streets, though narrow, were paved with stones or bricks. A few houses were intact, also the Synagogue, in which we were shown the Books of the Law (scrolls} by a Rabbi who apparently lived in the town. The Rabbi was very tall, with fair hair and s kin, entirely unlike the ordinary Polish or Russian Jew. We learnt that these Karaim Jews do not accept some of the teachings of the Talmud. They are much respected and skid to be honest in their dealings, even with Christi ans. As we went back through the gr. eat iron gates in the wEll, we passed the Jewish cemetbry and saw some very ancient tombs. From Chufut Kale we drove to the Monastery of the Assumption, which is, like that of Inkerman, in natural caves up the face of a rock, said to have been originally inhabited by Trogledites.      On the way back to the palace) we stopped to watch the Tartars plying their various trades almost in hhe open air, for there were no fronts to their shops. There was not one woman to be seen, for here they were very strict in covering themselves. The articles being Page 27         made were knivers, scissors, shoes and slippers, shawls, silver ornaments, leather bags and saddles all hand made. Mr. Alexeiff bought some scissors and they bore an English inscription, "Cousine & Sons, Sheffield."      On re-entering the palace, we were shown all   over it and found that it covered a great deal of ground. Built in the fifteenth century, it was the residence of the Khans of the Crimean Tartars until they were finally conquered by the Russians in the eighteenth century After the Crimean war, it was used as a hospital when the harem was mostly burnt. The rooms were high with   small windows, very 1R#Peet interesting --especially those of Marie Pototska. She was a Christian prisoner taken by the Tartars during a raid in Poland, and she could not be persuaded to marry the Khan because he was an infidel. One of his other wives, becoming jealous of her, contrived to murder her secretly. The Khan was very grieved to hear of her death and, in a large hall, he raised a curious fountain to her memory. It represented an eye weeping.      The next gain to Simpheropol would not start till midnight and, as Mine. Alexeiff was reluctant to negociate the dark and dangerous streets at night, it was decided wiser to sleep in the palace. Two more rooms therefore were prepared for us and, although we felt sure the beds were damp, no ill resulted. No charge was made for our rooms and the food was very moderate. As Chamberlain, Mr. I.exeiff had the privilege of entering any of the Pnperorts palaces. A gold key that he carried attached to the coat of his official uniform proclaimed this power.      Before leaving, Mr. Alexeiff asked if it would be possible to see the renowned Dancing Dervishes. The reply was that they had just said their prayers and did not wish to repeat them; but finally, for the sum of five dollars, they were persuaded to change their minds. It was a shocking sight. The dervishes threw themselves about, barking and growling like so many dogs. Their object was to excite themselves until one of them foamed at the month. This they thought was the visible presence of the Holy Ghost, and the others took of this foam and put it on their beards: We very much regretted having asked to see and hear such revolting ritual. Page 28_         When the Tartar invaders took possession   of Russia in the thirteenth century, they were heathen--   b ut were converted to Mohamedanism a hundred years later. Now they were gradually becoming Christians, but all too slowly.      When we returned to Ekaterinoslav, we heard that several cases of smallpox had been reported, so I had to be vaccinated. Accordingly, the doctor came the day after our arrival and with him, a young woman and her little baby. I was asked to notice how healthy they both were and then, with vaccine taken direct from the baby, I was vaccinated, just above the knee (Mme. Alexeiff said she did not understand how anyone could submit to be vaccinated on the arm, it was so unsightly).      That winter, 1879-1880, was the coldest any-   one could remember. In Perm, the thermometer registered 100 degrees of frost--Fahrenheit--(68 below zero) and in the Crimea, most of the grape vines were destroyed. In St. Petersburg, very few of the children could go out of doors all winter, and in the streets numerous stoves were installed, for the benefit of the sleigh-drivers and wayfarers. Wolves, too were very trouble-some. A peasant, whom we knew, was driving to Katovka one day, when he heard wolves in the distance. He threw the reins on the horses8 backs and lay down in the sleigh, carefully covering himself with his sheep-skin coat and rug. The horses galloped as fast as fright could make them, and ally stopped when one of them dropped down exhausted. The man escaped, for wolves will not eat dead animals And they mistook the man, covered as he was with .is fur, for a dead sheep.      The usual round of festivities now began, for the nobles were in town holding their annual meeting. The girls were again in the throes of their Russian studies and, even if they had not been so occupied, they would not have been permitted to go to the balls that were taking place, for they had not yet been presented at Court. I had lately induced a great friend of mine to come to the Dournovots to teach Lily and Nina. This friend, Katie, and I were invited to several big balls and for the first time we danced the Polish Mazurka, also the Cotillion. The Mazurka would often occupy two hours or more, depending on the versatility of the director or steward. At one of these balls, I met and danced with Page 29         the hero of Adrianople, a Hussar named Strukoff. He was quite young and at first I feared that he would not care to dance with an English girl, for the English had lately prevented the Russians from entering Constantinople. He wore a very handsome uniform, ruby red tight-fitting trousers, high boots, and a blue jacket trimmed with silver. The various uniforms lent great gaiety to ball-rooms.      For round dances no introductions were considered necessary; a man would stand in front of you   and bow, Of. you would dance with him onde or twice round the room and he would leave you at your seat again--by youd chaperone--not that you would have time to sit down, for another and another would take you round in the same way. For square dances, when there would be more time for conversation, an introduction was always considered essential.      On Christmas Eve there was the usual Christmas Tree--not an evergreen, for they were very scarce in that part of Russia, but a hardwood tree gilded and trimmed, in places, with green paper for leaves. Lighted cangles and many ornaments made it look gay, but it seemed to me a very poor substitute for a fir tree. Hay was spread under the dining-room tablecloth, as a reminder of the manger in whick Jesus was born. Instead of the usual pudding or pastry, we had boiled rice and boiled wheat served with milk and sugar-not cow's milk but milk of almonds, milk of walnuts or milk of poppy seeds, for it was a fast day: New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were looked upon as greater holidays than Christmas.      A few days before New Year's Eve, the guests   who were going to dine with us were all asked to choose their favourite dishes. It was amusing to hear their different tastes. Katie, my friend, asked for tipsy cake, and, if the cook did not know how to make it, she wanted beef steak, very underdone. This last choice was rather a shock to those listening, as they thought it savoured of barbarism to like raw meat. However, Vera and I made the cook understand how to make the Tipsy cake. Page 30         I chose celery, but could only obtain the dried root. This dinner consisted of the usual numerous courses   and in front of each person was his or her special dish as well. Katie had her tipsy cake, which she served to anyone who desired it. I had celery soup instead of the fresh celery--and everyone had something they wished us to taste. After dinner, games were played until 9 o'clock, when we were invited to a table, in another room, for coffee. Here we were asked to choose one of a number of turned down plates and what we found beneath it would tell our fortunes. Under   mine was a little cake made like a sheaf of wheat, which      meant abundance. Dancing followed and round games, such as "hunt the Ring" (something like "Hunt the Slipper") until the clock struck 12, when we sang the National Anthem. Just before twelve, a turkey, a cock and a hen were brought in and all the unmarried people formed a circle about them. At the foot of each person was   a handful of grain and, if the birds pecked at your heap, it signified that you would be married during the coming year. Everyone declared that the red embroidery on my dress frightened the turkey from my feet (dresses were long in those days) and Katie was so alarmed when it walked towards her, that sale frightened it away by running away herselfi At 1 a.m. we went to the dining-room to a hot supper of several courses, served like a dinner, after which our guests departed. In the morning I wakened in a fright; I was being pelted with whe at by a little boy four or five years old, (the son of the butler and a general favourite); he also recited a long speech, wishing me prosperity and happiness in the New   Year. On the breakfast table, numerous presents   surrounded our plates, for Mr. Alexeiff was never so happy as when giving presents. At Easter, one's birth-day and Name's Day were other occasions for giving presents.      Ceremonious calls were made on Jan. 1st. and were returned in a few hours. Some friends had moved into a new house and the Alexeiffs went to call on them. According to custom, Mr. Alexeiff took a large loaf of bread and a salt cellar of salt and Mine. Alexeiff a   bouquet of flowers. This custom of offering bread and salt Page 31         was a very ancient one, and no one who had over eaten bread and salt in another man's house would grudge him a favour, or dream of doing him harm.      Nearly the whole of that winter when we were   not dining with the Dournovos, they dined with us. Our fortnightly concerts had one more performer, for Katie was a fair pianist. In some countries a musical performance on the piano is a. signal that all may now talk--it was quite the reverse in Russia. In the middle of one of our little concerts at the Governor's, a young man was quietly admitted. He looked rather surprised to see people sitting in the middle of the room, but noticing the music he silently took a chair too, and it was only at the end of the piece that he was greeted by the hostess.      I mentioned Name's Day as being a fete. The baptismal names given in Russia were always those of a saint, and the day on which that saint died was called the child's Name's Day. I do not suppose my mother knew that my name was the name of a saint. In Russia, I found that I had a Name's Day. There had been a certain Sophie, who was martyred with her three daughters on the same day. The names of the three daughters were Faith, Hope and Charity; as Vera's name meant Faith and mine meant Charity, we both had the same Name's Day. Two of her friends, whose names were Sophie and Hope, were usually invited to dine with us that day also.      On January 6th, we went to the river to attend the ceremony of Blessing the meters. It was the day set apart in the Russian Church as that of our Lord's baptism. A little pavillion, surmounted by a cross of ice coloured with beetroot juice, was erected on the river. Holes were made in the ice in the shape of crosses and, after the blessing had been invoked by the Priest, many people took home some of the water, others dipped their heads in and Mr. Alexeiff told me he had seen men strip off their Clothes and jump in--especially soldiers going into action -- even in zero weather.      Catherine the Great had a palace built and furnished entirely of ice--even the clocks were of ice. Page 32         In nearly every country, pancakes are served   on Shrove Tuesday; in Russia, however, we had pancakes every day for a week before Lent. They are often served with sour cream and salt, os sour cream and caviar, and were delicious that way.      The ice broke up on the 1st of April; we   went to the Potemkin Gardens to see the sight, which was quite new to me. The noise, at times, was deafening and the big ice floes would often stand upright, forming an enormous wall of ice, the strong current causing it to fall and re-build again in quick success-ion. Sometimes in northern rivers the floes remained heaped up for several days.      The Emperor had now reigned twenty-five years and Mr. Alexeiff, as Grand Marshal of his government, went to St. Petersburg to present him with an illuminated address, bound in a very handsomely chased silver folio (which cost nearly $1500). T he Czar was so pleased with the address that he took it at once to show to his family. A noble, who was present, told us afterwards that Mr. Alexeiff's speech was so feelingly expressed, that two other people who were present asked to be introduced to him.      The Minister of the Enterior was shot at about this time, but fortunately the would-be assassin was captured. Again in February the Emperor's life was miraculously spared. The dining-room was blown up with dynamite at the time when the Imperial family would have been at dinner, if the Empress's brother had not kept them waiting half an hour. Eighteen people were victims of this outrage.      Directly the snow had melted in Ekaterinoslav, the whole town seemed full of its aborigines--pigs, they were called, but I thought them much more like wild boars, minus the tusks. They were black or dark brown, with raised bony backs covered with very long black bristles. They passed the windows in companies and appeared to be common property, like the dogs. The frost was not outs of the ground, but there were streams of water of every shade from deep red-brown to pale yellow in which the Page 33         pigs, quite indifferent to passing traffic, would wallow with satisfaction. At crossings, you would   see strings of pedestrians held up, when trying to hop through the mud on stones, by a drove of porkers. When the frost came out of the ground, it was not only muddy, but the mud was so deep that one day at the post-office in a carriage and four, we were so solidly stuck in the mud that oxen had to be brought to the rescue.      The time having gone by during which my English passport was of any value, a new one had to be made out. T he Chief of Police and Mr. Alexeiff sat down and wrote a description in Russian of my appearance. I asked what they had written and Mr. Alexeiff, always so fond of teasing, translated it all wrong, saying "Her nose is crooked, one eye is grey and the other blue," etc. A year or two later I lost this passport in Switzerland and we often wondered what nihilist might be tramelling in Russia, in my name. The music teacher could not understand a joke. One day Mr. Alexeiff said to her   "My poor girls are so tormented with their German, English and Music:" which so offended her that the following day she would not come down for dinner but stayed in her room.      On the 1st of April we had a number of guests to dinner and most of the dishes were fakes. At the side table a big pie was cut open and out flew a dozen sparrows; the soup was made with vinegar and when the real soup was brought in, the pates served with it were filled with uncooked beans. The fruit jelly had salt in it and other dishes that looked very tempting were most disagreeably flavoured. After dinner, Mme. Alexeiff invited all the twenty-four guests to go for a drive and All were soon seated in an omnibus, drawn by eight horses;- then   the trouble began, for there were no springs to bhe vehicle and the roads, in A Aril, were full of ruts. There were shrieks and cries-, telling the coachman to stop and turn back; but Mr. Alexeiff had told him explicitly not to stop on any account, but to drive straight through the town at a gallop.      The Monday before Ash Wednesday, when we were beginning lunchion. two women who lived in the yend came into the room. They carried thick sticks; one of them walked up to me and the other to Fraulein. I thought the Page 34         woman was going to kiss my hand, but I could not remember having given her anything--but no: She seized my leg and not my hand. Amid a chorus of laughter she tied the   stick to my foot and stood up, as if waiting for something. As soon as Mr. Alexeiff could stop laughing, he explained the singular proceedings thus:- The Russian Church will not perform any marriage ceremony during Carnival or Lent and it is a custom, among the peasants, to punish any women who have not by then chosen a husband by tying them to logs of wood, only releasing them upon receiving a sum of money.      In the summer of 1880, South Russia was visited by a very destructive beetle which attacked the wheat.   It first appeared in Russia in 1878, coming from Austria, and was called Anisoplia Austriatica. T he eggs of this insect are laid in the ground, more than three feet deep, and it takes three years for them to develop into perfect insects. They had spread so much that this year a famine was feared. On the 1st of July, directly after breakfast, we all drove to the wheat fields to help destroy the pest. There were over a hundred workers, men and women, and thirty from our house. There was a law in Russia that whenever locusts or anything else that could be called a common plague appeared, everybody should help for three days in destroying them. The Katovka peasants, however, were not willing to come and could not be persuaded, until warned or threatened by the police. The first day was not   too hot to work, but the two following days, were very trying. We walked in a long line through the wheat, very near together, under the command of the steward, each carrying a tin can or a jug. The beetles were something like the Colorado or potato beetle, but the stripes were of a different colour. We had to pick them off by running our hand up the ear of wheat and dropping them into the tin. On the second and third days, there were as many as seven hundred people working in Mr. Alexeiff's fields and, during those three days, three tons of beetles were killed and weighed: They were killed with boiling water, which was constantly hauled in carts and heated at a fire not far off. The fourth day it rained and, the day after that, the steward declared that the beetles were as thick as ever, on the part that the men had been over already Page 35         three times. Mr. Alexeiff had 4533 acres of grain and nearly 12,000 pounds of beetles were gathered. They destroyed so much wheat that there was not enough left for our use and for next year's seeding. At that time, the price of wheat was thirty cents a bushel.      The weather continued to be very hot and disagreeable--not a breath of air: About the 20th of duly we were dining on one of the verandahs; the waiters were moving their long-handled peacock feather fans around our plates, to keep away the flies, when, without any warning, the temperature dropped; it became so cold that we each took our plate and went indoors to finish dinner there. Soon, over the trees, we saw a great dark cloud approaching very quickly. It came   in one straight line and, when it had reached the zenith, a terrible wind began to blow and it became quite darat. The old lady told us it was going to be what is called   in Russia a 'Sparrow Night.' We soon discovered that she was right for, after the first half hour, the lightning never ceased and the birds flew hbout as if it were day. At first there was no rain but a storm of wind and dust, very penetrating, and then the rain and hail came down with such force that the drawing-room became a snall lake, although all the windows were closed and a covered balcony protected them. There were several fatalities in the village; a man and a cow were killed and a wind-mill was blown into a cottage. The next morning, Vera and I went round the gardan to see what damage had been done; we counted thirty-two great trees thrown down or uprooted and, in the adjacent wood, all the tallest trees were no more.      One morning some peasant girls, carrying on their arms beautifully embroidered towels, came into the large hall and bowed (with their heads touching the ground) three times, before each of us. They were inviting us to their wedding feast. This takes place the eve of the marriage. Eight couples were to be married at the same time and Mr. Alexeiff lent them a room in one of his numerous buildings, where they could dance as well as feast. The following day I saw them married. Everything in the Russian Church is symbolic. Page 36         The couples to be married were each placed on a square of white satin, to show equality. After the rings were placed on their fingers (the man wore a ring as well as his wife) their right hands were tied together by the priest, with the towel the bride provided, and they were led by him round the Church three times, following a Bible and a candle, typifying that they had been joined by the church and must follow God's ordinances. They were given to drink out of the same cup, which meant that they must share weal or woe; crowned as kings and queens of future generations and given lighted candles, to show that the Light of God was to overshadow their lives. The brides wore on their heads raised bands, with many coloured long ribbons hanging from them. Arrived home, these ribbons were distributed among their friends, for now, as married women, their hair would be always hidden under a coloured cloth or handkerchief. Each of the sixty-one provinces had its own national dress, very varied one   from the other but all beautifully embroidered. The dress worn by peasant girls in the government of Ekaterinoslav was a red woollen skirt, hanging in three loose pieces from the waist, many colours being woven into this skirt in a variety of patterns; the blouse was of white linen with very full sleeves, all embroidered in cross stitch. also a white apron. Yellow ob bedi high boots and the head dress mentioned above completed the costume. The young wives were taken to live in the homes of their fathers-in-law and their physical fitness for farm work was more important than their beauty of form or character. In case of matrimonial separation, the deserting wife had to pay alimony to the head of the family, as compensation for the loss of her help on the farm.      We were invited to the wedding of a cousin of   Mr. Alexeiff's at a country place ninety miles away.   Starting at 7:30 a.m. in two carriages, each drawn by six horses which had to be changed four times, we arrived at our destination at 5 p.m. We were welcomed by the bride, a young widow, her son aged sixteen and her mother and   brother. The bridegroom was a Dane (his aunt came to   Russia with the Grand Duchess Dagmar, and was her chief companion). Page 37         The house was large but very scantily   furnished, for the family never lived there. It was beautifully situated on the left bank of the Dnieper, about 200 feet above the water, with gardens clothing the slope. A number of other relations arrived on the following day and most of the time was spent in playing billiards or croquet--for we took our croquet with us. Vera and I decorated the house and acted as bridesmaids at the wedding, throwing roses and wheat for the bride and groom to walk upon.      The marriage ceremonies were the same as   those of the peasants that I had witnessed at Katovka, but as Colonel Thal was a Lutheran, another marriage was afterwards performed by the German pastor, in the house.      At the wedding breakfast, one of the guests cried out, "The chanpagne is bitter!" Others took up the cry and the noise grew louder and louder until Colonel and Mrs. Thal kissed, which sufficed to make it sweet, for a time. Again it was declared bitter, until Mr. and .Mme. Alexeiff kissed, and again for another couple present.      The country place was near the cataracts of   the Dnieper, which we went to see. The river was considerably narrower there and the current dangerously swift, obstructed by many beautiful rocks. This was the place where Norsemen in their little boats, going to and from Byzantium, would be set upon by native savages and relieved of their booty and often of their lives as well.      But the cataracts of the Dnieper became   still more famous in later years, for it was there that the Cossacks of the Dnieper made their fortified camp. These men were a company of armed warriors living in-dependent free lives, owning no ruler but their own elected head man, or 'hetman.' They lived in courts or sheds sometimes as many as six hundred in a shed, and earned their livelihood by fishing and plundering. These warriors kept their families in villages, more   or less distant from the camp, and visited them occasionally, Page 38      returning with any son old enough to join the band. They were very particular about admitting new associates; no one who did not believe in the Trinity and the Virgin Mary was accepted. Their camp, into which no women were allowed to enter, consisted of an outer court, an inner court surrounded by the sheds, and the Treasure House. The Russian princes tolerated and secretly encouraged these Cossacks by giving them ammunition, for, on the borderland of hostile jealous neighbors, they proved to be a useful barrier. Their raids were made chiefly on the coasts of the Black Sea, against the Turks on the one hand and the Tartars of the Crimea on the other. Catherine II disbanded them after she had subdued the Crimean Tartars and now they were merely mounted militia but still most valuable to the Czars, owing to their wonderful power of endurance; they were often employed to guard the Asiatic boundaries.      The chief beauties of a plain are the gorgeous sunsets and the wonderfully clear atmosphere through which the hosts of stars are so distinctly seen, even close to the horizon. One evening we had been playing crgguet which we often did, even in the dusk, by having some of the maids hold lanterns near the hoops or balls. The moon was bright and cast our shadows in front of us as we were walking away. Suddenly I saw two shadows and then the one cast by the moon disappeared. In alarm, I looked behind me and saw a beautiful meteor fall to the ground. It was in appearance as large as the moon and left a trail of various coloured lights. The next day we drove in the direction in which it had gone and made inquiries in several villages, but in every instance the only information gained was that the star had fallen further to the S..      A nether day a bright star near the horizon grew larger and brighter and then suddenly disappeared. The same month one of the watchmen told us there was a comet visible at 4 a.m. with a tail of all colours. We rose early to see it and after that we determined to study astronomy; in this we were encouraged by Alexeiff who at once bought several books on the subject. This was the beginning of a correspondence with that interesting astronomer, Camille Flammarion. Page 39      Our Journey to Ekaterinoslav in November was uneventful, the crossing of the river by the bridge of boats being the most disagreeable part of it. We were glad to hear that   a bridge was going to be built over the Dneiper, from the town to the railway station, which would make it nearly two miles long. It was to be of two stories, the carriage way below the railway. What a great boon to Ekaterionslav that was going to be: I was sorry to think that I would never see it, for it would not be finished for three years. The chief engineer, Mr. Beregin, had just completed a bridge over the Volga, at Tsaritzin, which was one of the longest in the world.      The annual 'Assembly of the Nobles' of the Province took place in December, followed by the Zemstvo. We went to see the opening ceremony of the Assembly. All congregated in the Cathedral and after a short service, the nobles were required to swear, by holding up two fingers, to a declaration read by the Bishop, promising to elect their Grand Marshal according to the dictates of their own consciences and to be influenced by no man. All nobles over the age of twenty-five years and belonging to the Province, or Government of Ekaterinoslav, might attend this Assembly. After the oath had been taken, they marched headed by the Governor, to the Palace of Potemkin, where their sessions were held. The Governor might only stand in the doorway and say, "Gentlemen, I have the honour to tell you the Assembly is open." Had he owned land in that government, he might have entered afterwards as a simple nobleman.      Mme. Alexeiff and I went into the gallery to hear Mr. Alexeiff, the retiring Grand Marshal, read his opening speech. Every one was in uniform and behaued as though the Emperor were there, for he was represented by a tablet surmounted by the Russian Eagle, placed on the table opposite the Grand Marshal. Round the table sat the Marshals of the eight districts into which the government was divided. Later in the day, Mr. Alexeiff was re-elected, receiving 158 out of 180 votes. Numbers of people came to our house to congratulate Mme. Alexeiff and every evening that week, there were big dinners with sometimes one hundred guests--men only. We dined on such occasions at the Governor's.      The Commune fixed the date for cutting hay or for ploughing the fallow land; debated what should be done with those peasants who were not punctual in paying their taxes; gave or denied permission toy erect buildings on communal lands, divided and allotted the communal lands as they thought fit; settled the question of allowing a gin shop to enter the village; elected its elder or mayor, also its tax collector and watchman; sometimes it even interfered with the domestic affairs of peasants. The Zemstvo was a more modern institution than the Mir or village Commune. It was intended to take in hand the rural problems that Mirs could not handle. Eaeh district and each province had a Zemstvo; and the members were elected from Page 40      the Nobility, the Communes and the Municipal Corporations. The Zemsty o elected Justices of the Peace, had the care of lunatic asylums, hospitals, village schoolmasters, primary education, sanitation, the repair of bridges and roads--   in fact, everything pertaining to the welfare of the country. It was non-political. It will be seen that autocratic Russia was a country of anomalies and in some particulars possessed the most democratic forms of government.      In March 1881, the poor Czar, who had had so many miraculous escapes, fell a victim to a bomb thrown by a nihilist. The first bomb blew out the back of his carriage and wounded some of his Cossacks. The Emperor immediately got out of the carriage, though the coachman begged him to go home before anything further happened. A man came up and asked if he were hurt; the Czar replied, "No, thank God, but I must look after my wounded." The secong bomb made a hole in the ground seven feet wide, killed the horses and a man and mortally wounded the Emperor. It was believed that the second bomb was thrown by a man who was killed in the explosion. The bombs were made to resemble snowballs.      It seemed incredible to us that a man so well beloved by all his subjects--"The Liberator of the Serfs" -- a man so anxious to do all he could for the welfare of his people and the advancement of his country, should have come to his death in such a brutal manner.      Erom what I heard, he was thought to have made one great mistake. Like autocrats all the world over, he had been too precipitate in his reforms; he insisted on compulsory education, before he had made provision of a sufficiently large supply of teachers. This lack of teachers was the greatest opportunity that revolutionists and nihilists ever had for spreading their pernicious doctrines, and they quickly availed themselves of it.      . Alexeiff was in St. Petersburg, when the Emperor was killed, and was detained there for some weeks, He was one of the Grand Marshals appointed to stand on guard by the coffin where the Emperor lay in state, during the hours set apart for the Imperial Family's private devotions. At the funeral, he had charge of the Regalia, accompanying it from the palace to the railway station, on its way to Moscow. The escort drove in gold carriages, with a very long procession in full uniform..      All kinds of false reports were mysteriously spread throughout the country and the people were very credulous. In Kharkov, when the people heard that their beloved Emperor had been murdered, they declared that it had been the work of students. They beat and ill-treated many of these unfortunate young men and tried to destroy the University. In Katovka,   when Mr. Alexeiff returned from St. Petersburg the peasants came in a body to the house to see him. They had been told that he was in prison because he and others, with Loris Melnikoff, had brought about the death of the Czar, in order Page 41      to re-introduce serfdom. We were now wearing mourning for the Emperor. Mme. Alexeiff had to follow court regulations which decreed a black flannel dress, very simply made but with a train one yard long. an the front and sides of the dress, also on neck and wrists, were bands of white, covered with black crepe. Black bonnets and very long veils were worn. That was the way the wives of the first four classes of the nobility had to dress for the first three months; black woolen dresses the next three months and after that black silk ones. The last three months of the year's mourning, colours might be worn with the black. At Easter, however, everyone wore white.      On Thursday in Holy Week, Katie and I received the   Holy Communion in the Russian Church. I wrote and told my god-mother, giving her all particulars, and a few weeks later was surprised to see my letter printed in "The Guardian" (the English church newspaper), under the heading of 'The True Union of the churches'. Part of the letter was as follows:-   "Mr. Alexeiff asked the priest at Katovka if I could communicate in the Russian church. He thought not; and at the same time, r. Dournovo asked another priest, who also said "No." but the week before last Lily, whilst having her Scripture lesson, asked the priest casually whether members of other churches could communicate in theirs, and he said, "Only the English". Katie and I were very much pleased to hear that, but as Mr. Alexeiff thought that this rather young priest might be making a mistake and might possibly get into trouble, we thought it best to ask the Bishop. His answer was that if the priest did not object, he himeself saw nothing against it. There * are a great many ceremonies and we thought it best to do all the Russians do, so that we should not offend.      "Of course, private confession was necessary, but as we did not understand the language sufficiently well, the priest said a prayer generally used for sick persons. The Absolution Vera translated, as also the prayer said during Communion. The former was as follows:- 'Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, with the bounty and mercy of His love for men, will forgive thee, child, all thy sins; and I, unworthy priest, by the power given to me, forgive and absolve thee from all   thy sins, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.'      "The prayer said by the priest was:-'I believe, Lord, and confess that Thou art verily Christ, Son of the Living God, who camest on earth to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. I also believe that this is Thy pure Body, and this Thy pure B load. A nd I pray Thee have mercy upon me and forgive me my trespasses willing and unwilling, either by word or action, known or unknown, and make me worthy to par-take, without guild, of Thy pure Sacrament for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life. Son of God accept me as a sharer of T by mysterious Supper, for I shall not disclose the mystery of Thine enemies, nor give Thee the kiss of Judas, but like the thief will I say, "Remember me in Thy kingdom." May the Page 42      Conununion of Tht pure Sacrament be unto me not for judgment, but for the healing of soul and body. .Amen.' At first, I hesitated as to the meaning of the word 'pure', but I decided that it would be wrong to refuse the blessed means of grace offered, for the sake of the various meanings which could be attached to a word; And besides, English clergymen knowing that the Russians believe in Transubstantiation, would not advise the receiving of the Holy Communion in this church if it were wrong. So we took our own prayer-books, said our own prayers and followed the ceremonies of the Russians.      "these ceremonies, as I said before, are numerous, but we had seen them so often that we did everything quite naturally, without having to take our thoughts away from the more serious subject--a thing which might have happened, had we never been in a Russian church before.      "I believe that we are the first to have been admitted to Communion in Russia, but I have read that in Roumania and in some part of America members of either church have been permitted to communicate in the other."      After receiving the consecrated elements, people were permitted to eat bread, great chunks of which were handed young the church. This was a necessary precaution for many of the communicants had travelled far, and having stood or knelt through a long service might, and sometimes did, faint. I forgot to mention that, the day before communication, it was usual to go and ask everyone, friends and servants, to gorgive any ill thing we might have done to them. The usual answer was, "God will forgive you." After the service, people came up and congratulated us. The old lady I have spoken of told us we must not do any sewing, or we might prick our lingers and thus lose some precious blood:.      The new Emperor, Alexander III, ordered the 128 divisions of St. Petersburg to choose each a man, who was to have the care of his own district and to act as extra police.      During his protracted stay in St. Petersburg, Mr. Alexeiff often dined with the Thals. Col. Thai's -aunt related to him a pathetic conversation she overheard between two of the Emperor's children, the Grand Duke George and his sister, aged eight and seven years respectively. The little girl, talking about keeping her father safe from the naughty men, said to her brother, 'Don't you think we ought to go to Moscow, George, as there are so many bad men here?"--What good would that do? Moscow is a large place like St. Petersburg and bad men can very easily hide there."-- "Then suppose we go to Tzarskoe Selo" (a country place in the north)? "That would be just as bad," said George, "for mines could be laid there."--"Then let us always live in a railway carriage:" --"Don't you remember how they tried to blow up Grandpa's Page 43      train?" Then, after a long pause:- "I know: We must go up in a balloon and live in the sky. We should be quite safe there." This proposal struck the brother as being a very good idea, for he saw no danger in it.      I have mentioned the library that Mr. Alexeiff had in his country home. It was, I discovered, in a terrible state; books in many languages so mixed up that one did not know what was there and there was no catalogue. I obtained permission to sort them out and catalogue them; it was a work I enjoyed very much, especially in hot weather, for the room in which the books were kept was the coolest one in the house. It took me nearly all summer but the result pleased everybody, especially Mr. Alexeiff who presented me with a gold watch the day I finished. Our studies in astronomy had made great strides and Mr. Alexeiff was going to have a telescthpe made.      Other things that interested me were the curiosities that had been taken out of the tumuli that were to be found in various places on the steppes; their origin never having been solved. Mr. Alexeiff was a great authority on coins, especially those of the early Grecian period, of which he possessed a very valuable collection. I admired them greatly.      I dipped into numerous books, chiefly Histories, and would gladly have asked questions about some, but we were never encouraged to talk about Russian politics; it was too dangerous because your next neighbour might be a member of the secret police, you might be betrayed by him and find yourself sent out of the country, or even to Siberia. I had also been warned never to write home about anything political, for every tenth letter was opened and read; foreign news-papers, especially those from England, seldom arrived without some defaced columns. English politics were, on the contrary, freely discussed. They did not disguise their pleasure when Gladstone became Prime Minister, for they both hated and feared Disraeli. Very often, when playing cards, if I were near they would say, "Let's play for India." A country of such vast resources and of so large an area could not possibly develop trade to any great extent, they said, without a sea-board. The Arctic shores were free from ice for only a short period, the Black Sea and the Baltic might be closed to trade at any time if the Turks or the Germans so wished, and the Pacific Ocean was very far away. They were very angry at being stopped on the way to Constantinople, when they had visions of a Mediterranean sea-board, and all their anger was centred on Disraeli. Gladstone's pamphlets and speeches were much admired and his private life was often discussed. Mr. Alexeiff even tried to imitate his out-door life, and cal-led for volunteers to chop down trees. V era and I, of course, joined the gang, but the weather was hot and it was hard work, so I never ventured on trees more than six inches in diameter, and soon became tired of such violent exercise. Page 44      The country house was full of visitors that summer and we sat down, as many as twenty-four, nearly every day. Our meals were often served on one or other of the verandahs, or sometimes in the garden, and yet the hot dishes were al-ways hot though the kitchen was a long way from the house. We often went for picnics, ten or more miles away, but coo3 and waiters were there before us and chairs and table and even carpet to cover the ground were all in place, for hot meals would be served. V era and I agreed it was not a picnic unless we sat on the grass, which we generally did notwithstanding the danger of tarantulas and ticks. Our hostess would tell us the day before what to wear--sometimes she would say, "All wear white," at other times, "All peasant dresses," which was a great addition pictorially. The men wore white pique or homespun--silk in the hot weather.      The woods were carpeted with many beautiful wild flowers, especially lilies of the valley and, later, there were quantities of wild strawberries. Nightingales were   very numerous, both in the woods and in the gardens of Katovka. We noticed there, that they sang night and day, with the exception of from 9 to 10 at night and two hours in the middle of the day. They had enemies amongst the birds, for many were found dead in the autumn, killed it was thought by owls.      Many of our guests were fond of hunting or had some kind of hobby, such as music, but the majority spent a great part of the day playing cards, especially in wet weather. They would sit down to play as early as 9 a.m. Mme. Alexeiff disliked to see people doing nothing, so she always kept quantities of silk bits and these she gave to any idle man to unravel. She intended to use the ravelled silk for stuffing a quilt, instead of down, and had enough for one quilt before I left Russia.      She was always quietly busy herself and spent a great deal of time knitting white cotton gloves for the waiters,   who were never allowed to handle food or dishes with bare hands. In june, she and I drove to the estate of Baron Gershan (a cousin of Mr. Alexeiff's) to spend the day. The family never lived there, so the flowers and fruit were sent regularly to Katovka. We took with us, besides maids, an old lady (one of Mr. Alexeiff's pensioners) who was going to show us how to mike rose-leaf jam with the petals of the cabbage rose. The old lady was very excited and would not let us talk, or even think, of anything but the jam and when we were prdparing to return home she was too ill to go. Every day, or every other day, one or other of us went with Mme. Alexeiff to make more jam, which all proved to be very good. On the last day, we brought the old lady back, none the worse for her week away from Katovka, with its accompanying anxiety over the jam-making. She was the widow of a former priest and was given a comfortable room and every care, in Mr. Alexeiff's house. She   helped me greatly in learning Russian because she repeated   her stories of bygone days, as often as I cared to sit and Listen. Page 45      The Russian language is very difficult not only because of the pronunciation (there are thirty-four letters in the alphabet) but because there are masculine and feminine terminations to pronouns and verbs. More men, in my hearing, spoke Russian than ladies, so that I was apt to pick up the masculine language. Another pensioner was the daughter of a former tutor--whe was always called Melle. Elise, a dear, good-natured middle-aged lady, but one who never seemed to be able to find anything to do but talk, and she generally spoke French.      On the eve of St. John's Day, June 23rd, we drove round the village to see the peasant children jump through fire. They made fires of straw two or three feet apart,   said a prayer and then ran from some distance and jumped through them. The children wore wreathes of flowers on their heads, and seemed to care nei#her for the sparks on their bare feet nor for the smoke and flames, which quite hid them from sight. I could not find out the origin of this strange custom but was told it was the remains of fire-worship.      I was invited to enter a cottage. It was scrupulously clean, the walls colour-washed and the floor sanded. Round the walls were benches, and I found the place of honour was the corner under the Icon or sacred picture. The chief object in the room, however, was the stove, plastered all over and down to the floor and colour-washed, like the rest of the room. It was not very high but in width measured about six feet each way. There were several ovens and a fire box all quite small. In very cold weather, I was told, the family slept on the top of the stove. There was a great scarcity of fire-wood in South Russia so the peasants, during the heat of the summer, spread their barnyard manure to dry in the hot sun and this, when cut into small bricks, made a good fuel.      Some of our visitors were worthy of special notice. Prince Hilkoff, a cousin of Mr. A.lexeiff's was a very interesting young man; he was an officer in a Circassian regiment, which ranked as the first regiment in Russia. His uniform was an elaborate copy of the dress worn by Circassian tirbes, the ordinary one for every day being brown and the gala one all white. The Prince spoke English well, he entered into all our games with great zest and taught us others. I have since heard that, in later years, he followed the example of Tolstoi, gave up his property, lived with the peasants and did all he could to raise their condition intellectually. When the first Russian settlers came out to Canada he travelled with them as interpreter. Other guests were Baron Gershan and his daughter. The daughter was the very clever girl who was already writing stories at the age of fourteen. She died a few years later, when only seventeen years old, and her father was heart-broken. Page 46      Amongst her papers he found an unfinished manuscript written in English, which he brought to London to ask my advice about publishing it. It dealt with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and is called 'Quicksands'. With the help of a friend, it appeared shortly in print, a really remarkable book for such a young   author.      Mr. Alexeiff became interested in the price of poultry in England, and began, in a teasing way, to form a goose club for sending geese and other poultry to England, as they were   cheap in Russia. (Spring chickens colt six to twelve cents each.) At first there was a great deal of fun but later Mr. Alexeiff thought something might be done along that line, and he inquired if my father could dispose of 5,000 geese sent alive. One of the visitors said he could promise 50,000 geese for export in November. The project did not materialize at that time, as my father would not have anything to do with it, but years later poultry was exported in large quantities, both alive and dead.      I liked the bustards, or wild turkeys, as food almost as well as the domestic turkey. They were, however, very difficult to obtain; they fed in large flocks, on the steppes, and were apt to run away if they saw anyone approaching even a long way off. One of the coachmen was a great sportsman and very clever--he was usually sent to escort anyone who wished to hunt, for hunting and shooting were generally accomplished in carriages and seldom on foot, owing to the scattered and scanty groves of timber. If any bustards were seen, Andre would drive round them in a very wide circle, gradually drawing nearer. The bustards seemed to be fascinated, watching and facing the carriage unable to determine when they should flee, until it was too late.      For some time, Vera and I had determined to disappear   for a whole day. Mme. Alexeiff, who often had that desire which could not, however, be indulged in when the house was so full of guests, entered into our plans and everything was settled. Directly after breakfast, I slipped out of the room and went to   the stables, where I told the men I wanted the pony carriage. I watched the men harness for, as we were going unattended, I knew I should have the harnessing to do before returning. Daniel, the head groom, laughed at the idea of our understanding nothing about it, but I was confident. Vera soon joined me and away we went. We took stools, drawing materials, provisions, books and a large carpet, and went to a very pretty dyke about five miles away. We found several hundred cows standing in, and near, the river, under some ancient willow trees, making a very picturescue scene. The poultry farm was on the other side of the river and we thought of putting our horse in charge of the man who lived there, but four savage dogs beset us so furiously that our pony was frightened; so, turning back, we unharnessed and tied the animal to a tree. We had a delightful morning and were eating some sandwiches when a boy came. I gave him one of my sandwiches and, after he had eaten it, he brought back the paper. I threw it on the grass, which seemed to surprise him Page 47      for he askedif he might have the paper, and went away delighted. A woman came by and we asked her to water our horse, as it seemed to be rather restless. Then a number of boys came and asked questions, in Little Russian--the language of South Russia. Vera explained to them that I could not understand them because I was not R ussian. They shrugged their shoulders and laughed but continued to ask questions, not having the remotest idea that there could be anyone 'not Russian'. Vera asked if they could read; a boy of sixteen said his brother could. Did they go to school, they and their sisters? The boy said, "Girls don't go to school" and as for him, he was soon going to be a soldier and would learn then. Vera told them that children in Katovka went to school and could read books and papers--which elicited the real reason why they were pestering us: they wanted some papers--for making cigarettes: A few newspapers delighted them and they were runing away when the woman, who had watered the pony, seized a boy and told him he must give her half, whereupon some more had to be found for her. Soon after three o'clock, we thought it was about time to start for home, but when we went to the tree where the horse had been tied, we were very much annoyed to find it gone. From an elevation I could see it, kicking up its heels and galloping across the steppe. How we laughed when we thought of the remarks of the stablemen, when the horse would arrive home: We sat down and considered how long it might be before they could fetch us and, thinking that Mme. Alexeiff might be anxious if we did not appear soon, Vera decided we should walk. Just then a man came by and remarked, "So you've lost your horse? We told him we were going to walk back and   would he take charge of our things? He replied he would, if we wou would count everything we left. He was delighted when we gave him two glass bottles and a bit of newspaper.      T his incident will show how simple their wants were and how much they valued paper more than food. (After the Revolution in 1917 Mr. Alexeiff's books, 27,000, were all stolen before the house was set on fire. Who can say to what ignoble purposes those valuable works were put?) Or what benefit?      Although Mme. Alexeiff could not escape for a whole   day, she and I often went for short excursions. She would send her maid to waken me at 3 or 3.30 in order to ride with her before the sun was hot--or she would busy herself in some cool sheltered nook in the garden, or in some wood, for hours at a time.      She and her husband were often consulted in cases of sickness and it was surprising how many of the peasants were cured of all kinds of diseases with homeopathic remedies.   Many home-made medicines were also used; the old lady collected numerous herbs for teas and poultices:-the insides of venomous snakes, they said, would cure their bite; a small, flat, round bone found in the head of crayfish was carefully kept, as it   was useful in helping to extract foreign substances from the eye. If anyone had earache etc., a plaster made of bruised cantharides was placed near the seat of pain. Page 48      These blister beetles were very numerous and formed   an article of commerce. They lived on ash trees and were shaken down, collected in sheets, and taken to the warehouse to be shipped to many countries. Instead of tea we were often given in springtome a decoction of black currant leaves, which was pronounced to be more wholesome; and many other things could be mentioned on this subject.      In September 1881, an officer named Zuichenko, liv-   ing in Ekaterinoslav, made an interesting discovery. He found that silk could be made from the mulberry tree itself, without the help of silkworms. He experimented, after obtaining Mr. Alexeiff's perrnissioni. with trees in the Potemkin Gardens and the silk produced was almost identically the same as real silk. Forty branches, one inch in diameter, were required to make one pound of silk. I never heard if he were able to manufacture it on a commercial basis or if he gained any credit for his discovery; probably not, for enterprise was not a Russian trait. The peasants were too poor and too ignorant and the nobles, wrapped up in their farming, too well-to-do or too proud to undertake any business. Former reigning sovereigns had re-cognized the desirability of fostering trade and establishing a merchant class, and Catherine thought it would be done by building towns and by sending young Russians abroad to learn foreign ways; in ten years she built over two hundred towns, but the middle class had to be recruited from other countries.      The clergy in Russia were of two orders:- Priests   and Monks. Bishops were selected from the monks, often cal-led the Black Clergy. The priests, or White Clergy, had no hope of such preferment; stationed in parishes, often far from the outside world, they too often sank intellectually to the level of their parishioners, much to the disadvantage of both. Until quite ecently they were a class apart: their sons were educated in a-heels called Seminaries, kept for the exclusive use of priest's sons, who were brought up them-selves to become priests.      When they had finished their education and were pre-paring for ordination, these young men were extremely fortunate if they were able to find a suitable help-mate, for marriage before ordination was obligatory. If a young man failed to in-duce one of his friends or acquaintances to share his humble lot, he -eould be obliged to apply to the Bishop for help. Nothing would be more to that dignitary's liking, He had at his fingers' end--or his secretary had--a number of parishes where the priest was needing help, through age or infirmity, and whose family would presently require to be cared for. A daughter of such a priest would therefore be selected for the candidate's wife. After the marriage and ordination, the young couple would be installed in the old priest's parsonage--probably for the rest of their lives. Page 49      I could understnad the disadvantages of living with such a household, not forgetting the proverbially difficult mother-in-law, but my sympathies were drawn more particulary to the death-blow such a life would give to any intellectual or spiritual aspirations the young priest might have had with regard to his sacred calling. The Parish Priest at Katovka had many advantages. There was no actual poverty in the village and the proprietor, a highly educated man, not only lived on his estate but treated the priest with due deference and friendship. Moreover, the priest was allowed access to a splendid library and was the recipient of many valuable gifts. He was such a good man, so broad-minded .hd yet so loyal, so gentle and unselfish, with such a fund of pleasant humour, that we all loved him. When leaving Russia, I was not able to bid him farewell but wrote a few words to him in Russian. His answer I have greasured to this day; he gave me such a good character and said I was the best foreigner he had met:      At Katovka I attended the Russian Church and, when sufficiently conversant with the language to understand the Priest's sermons, I sound them to be very practical and thoroughly adapted to village life. Mme. Alexeiff give me a French translation of the prayers and responses, by which I could follow the services quite easily. The priests were mediums through whom the Czar's wishes, in the form of ukases, were spread and explained and the peasants of Katovka were most loyal in their affection for, and reverent in their attitude towards their priest, their Czar and their God. When news of the Emperor's cruel and untimely death first reached the village, it was pronounced in church. The people were heart-broken; they sob-bed aloud, threw themselves on their knees with their heads on the ground and were quite inconsolable. He had been to them 'The Liberator', the Head of the Church, the anointed King; and the anointing of kings and priests was a sacrament in Eastern Churches.      We were invited to the parsonage for the baptism of   a new addition to the priest's family, and Vera was to be the godmother. Shown into a large, barely furnished room, I was presented to the baby's mother. It was hardly an occasion for small talk but she gave me the impression of being a housewife and mother, too much occupied to give a thought to anything outside her family. The only thing to do was to admire the baby and ask its name. Vera presented her gifts--a little gold cross to wear round his neck, a bib and a few years of some new cotton material.      A cross is worn by all Russian Christians. Vladimir, the first Christian prince, being very determined to make all his subjects forsake their idols and take the Christian Faith, ordered to be put to death any who refused to comply with his wishes, and to those who were baptized was given a cross, which often proved to be a real talisman, Page 50      The baby was disrobed, immersed and named with the sign of the cross; he was placed in the folds of the new material, signifying that he had cast off the cloak of wickedness and sin and had been thoroughly cleansed. Every member of his body was then anointed and a prayer said by the priest, something like this:- "May these lips ever speak the truth and what is pleasing to Thee. May these feet walk in the way of righteousness. May these eyes behold Thy glory,"etc. A Bible was given by the godfather.      When walkin g home, after the ceremony, I was told   of a curious decree of the Russian Church relating to sponsors. No marriage could ever take place between the godparents of a child.      The people in South Russia had many grievances against the Jews; trade was almost entirely in their hands and never were Jews more grasping than in that part of the world. There were many insurrections against them in 1880 and 1881, and some-times it was difficult to discover the origin of the riots, but agitation were evidently at work. Now and then a Russian child would disappear and a whisper would awaken, in the minds of the people, the old belief that the Jews killed children as a religiouE rite at certain of their feasts; a rising would immediately ensue, causing much loss of life. At one place a man appeared representing himself to be the Governor-Gener&l; he told the people that the Government wished the Jews to be killed; he said that the police did not know of this order yet, and if they tried to interfere it was that the Government wished to make some show of resistance. Printed proclamations were discovered everywhere, some were distributed in Easter eggs--all were to the effect that Jews were their chief enemies and should be killed.      Mr. Dournovo went with a large military force to quell the riots in the South and he had to send for more soldiers. In Odessa the people were ordered to disperse, or they would be fired on. The warning was repeated three times but they only laughed, until a doz en of them were shot.      In Kiev, three-fourths of the Jewish shops were destroyed and their contents thrown away--700,000 pounds of sugar were thrown into the Dnieper. One rich Jew offered X1000 to the populace if they would leave his property and his family alone. A Russian took the money and tore it up in contempt, saying, "hat! take money from a Jew;" The large monasteries, however, opened their doors to the fleeing Jews and the soldiers, after much difficulty, at last succeeded in dispersing the crowd. In Ekaterinoslav, the authorities had the guns loaded and every other preparation made ready for dispersing the mob, if unruly meetings took place.      Apart from these riots against the Jews, 1881 was a year of robberies, formerly of rare occurfence. A house, not far from Katovka, was entered by burglars who killed the owner and started to burn the wife and servant, until they told him where the money was kept. (After hearing of that outrage, Mr. Alexeiff had twenty watchman instead of eight to walk round our house at night). Page 51      A priest came from a neighbouring village and asked Mr. Alexeiff to use his influence in his behalf; burglars had entered his house, taking all his money and clothes;he had nothing on but a brown holland suit,--and the weather was cold. His wife had to stay in bed, for nothing had been left for her to wear.      Owing to the numerous riots against the Jews, the :hnperor asked each government to give him advice as to what should be done with, and for, them, A commission sat in Ekaterinoslav a whole month, presided over by Mr. A lexeiff.   I do not know what advice was forwarded to the Etperor but Mr. Alexeiff, in his joking way, told me afterwards that they wanted to make a present of them to Queen Victoria, as she was the only person who loved them.      Doctors were paid by the State, but they also received substantial presents from well-to-do people as well. T he Doctor of the district of Katovka used to stay at our house when on his rounds and Mr. Alexeiff paid him to come often, so that any sickness might be checked, or avoided--a real case of paying the doctor to keep you well. One day he was asked to examine some Koumiss Fraulein was taking, which was not doing her any good. Koumiss is fermented mare's milk; it was used a great deal in Russia for diseases of the chest and has been know n to cure consumption. For real Koumiss invalids were sent to the South East of Russia, where some nomadic tribes, the Bashkirs, kept horses principally for the milk, which was drunk as a delicious cooling beverage. The Koumiss in Katovka was made of cow's milk prepared with yeaBt, and the specimen Fraulein produced was declared to be poison--it had lost its effervescence, not having been well corked.      The village surgeon, or Feldsher, was not always very capable as a surgeon. I had an accident one day when riding a favourite horse. (We afterwards discovered that the poor old thing was nearly blind). She put her foot in a hole when cantering, fell on her nose, throwing me; then in getting up she stepped on my leg. The feldsher was called in and he treated the grazed skin, quite ignoring the bruise, which has caused me trouble ever since.      iilst we were still at Katovka Pine. Alexeiff and the girls went to the consecration of a new church, in one of the villages belonging to Mr. A lexeiff. They planned to be away four days. In the village there were, besides the cottages, only two houses; in the smaller of the two, occupied by a tenant farmer, the Alexeiffs were going to lodge, also the Bishop. It was, they knew, very poorly furnished and all sorts of things were sent from Katovka to make it more comfortable: tables, chairs, beds, etc., besides food; the cook also sent every-thing necessary for big dinners, for there would be many of the clergy and several neighbouring proprietors there. It was fifty miles away, I was afterwards told that the Bishop and the Page 52      clergy had, as part of the ceremony, to put on shirts and overalls and scrub the altar before consecration.      We left Katovka about the middle of November and,   owing to a recent fall of snow which had melted, the roads were muddy. The journey took two days, though we had eight horses to each coach. At every post-house, dir. Alexeiff gave us a little mental arithmetic;- one cent a horse per mile, etc. We stayed at a small farmhouse, where four of us slept in one room, our heads on the sofa and our feet on chairs. This was almost the only place in Russia where we had occasion to use plenty of insect powder.      The Alexeiffs had wished to travel abroad this year.   The journey had been put off at first because it was feared the beetles would reappear on the wheat and if so, it was planned to burn the crop standing. The next cause of delay was the threatened hostilities with France because she would not give up the murderer of Alexander II. The diplomatic relations be-came so strained that both the Russian and the French Ambassadors left their Embassies. A s newspapers were censored in those days, it was not always easy to find out bblthem what was happening outside our own district. The constant delay pleased the girls who were anxious to finish their Russian studies before leaving home, and this they were able to do for we did not start until near the middle of December.      The weather was very cold and a great deal of ice had formed in the river, which made the crossing quite exciting. We were all in the cork life-boat, preceded by another boat in which were men who made openings for us by chopping the ice or by holding back moving floes. Roth boats were guided by experienced boatmen and as they signalled to each other by a movement of the arms, with no shouting, we really did not know when danger was greatest. In the centre of the river the current was very swift and, with the bows of the boats heading up the river, we seemed for a time to be going anywhere but towards the landing place. I had my warmest winter clothes on and a big fur coat that Mme.   A lexeiff lent me, yet I thought I should freeze before landing. I suppose, however, that the excitement kept the blood circulating. The crossing took two hours. (A week before, a man had been four hours in crossing, but he had had no second boat to open a channel)      A special car which would take us as far as the A ustrian frontier was waiting at the station. The price paid for it was twelve tickets for eight people. The eight were the Alexeiffs, two servants, Katie (who was going with us as far as Vienna on her way back to England) and myself.      There were six hours to wait at Kharkov and as we had friends there--Sashes Mazarkky, Mimi, her French companion, and Sashafs brother-in-law, the time passed very pleasantly. In two days and nights we arrived at the frontier, where a change of trains was necessary because the guage of the Austrian lines was narrower than the Russian. I was sorry to leave the comfortable Page 53      car behind, for now we sometimes had to sit in separate cars owing to the increase in the number of travellers. The scenery, though, was much more varied and in summer it must be beautiful.      We arrived in Vienna a day or two after the burning of the Ring Theatre. It had been a terrible tragedy for it was thought that as many as 800 people were burnt. Crowds of people were wandering about in the vicinity of the disaster and the authorities were still working near the smoking pyre. The disaster did not prevent us from going to the Opera for two performances, for Lucca, the greatest Austrian singer, was to   be the chief actress. B etween all the acts, the iron curtain on the stage was lowered, to reassure the audience that every pre-caution against fire was being taken.      V ienna was a beautiful town--many old streets very   narrow, it is true, but the newer ones, especially the Ringstrasse, were grand. On each side of this wide boulevard, and separated from the tram-lines and carriage way by trees, was an unpaved road reserved for riding and we were surprised at the number of ladies indulging daily in that exercise. A few days after our arrival in Vienna Mr. Alexeiff asked me if I would like to go home for a holiday. I was delighted and, after promising to re-turn to them, I starred with Katie and arrived home in time for Christmas.      It was nearly six months later when I rejoined   the Alexeiffs. They were staying in a Chateau in France with relationsw-in fact they were in the midst of a family reunion, Mine. Alexeiff's brothers and sisters and their families being there--twenty-three people counting the Alexeiffs. Life in a French family was very different from life in Russia. There were very few servants, the rooms were smaller and small economies were noticeable. But if there were fewer servants they were wonderfully efficient, especially in cooking. We had two meals a day, breakfast at 11 a.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.; at each meal there were many courses, sometimes as many as twelve. Whildt we were eating one course, the next dish would be standing for a few minutes in front of the host or hostess and would be whisked away to be carved at the side table by the butler. Early in the morning, coffee was sent to each person in their bedroom and in the after-noon, fruit and cakes would be handed round.      We went to see several neighbouring castles, travelling in a large coach--that is to say, most of them were inside but Mme. Alexeiff and I sat on the top behind the coachman's seat, near a young man who blew a horn at every corner. Valancay   Chambord, Blois and Tour were all visited. Valancay was the largest castle that I saw in France. Chambord belonged to the rightful King of France, as my friends called the Comte de Chambord. It was noted for its lantern staircase:-two people could mount   the stairs from opposite sides and would not meet. Tour and Blois, much smaller castles, were perfect gems of architecture. It was Page 54      very depressing to see all these beautiful homes empty.      r#f+e. Alexeiff's father was a man of great distinction,   the friend of M. Thiers and a poet. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at all meals and was entertained by his reminiscences of numerous great people he had known. This old Count went to Paris with us--a very fortunate arrangement for me, for he took me to most of the interesting places which I should have had to visit alone, but for him. The girls were very much occupied with singing lessons, and all were having dresses made by Worth, the renowned dress-maker, for the Coronation. One day we went   to V ersailles, the largest Royal Palace in the world; but it would take a week to see it prtperly. I had no idea the grounds were so extensive--fifty miles in circumference, the Count said. The wonderful picture galleries of the city would take much more than a week, for there are beautiful specimens of every school to be seen there. I ccu ld not possibly give anyone the least idea of all I saw in Paris.      We dined every day in the Louvre Restaurant in a beautifully decorated spacious room where, at numerous small tables, four hundred and eighty people were served at one sitting. I have mentioned before that Vera had written to M. Cammile Flammarion about different celestial phenomena observed by us. Mr. Alexeiff now called on him and invited him to dinner. He was a short, rather stout man with bushy black hair and rather weak eyes; we had been wondering what we could talk about to such a celebrity, but our anxieties were soon allayed for he, himself, did most of the entertaining. Directly we had finished dinner, he turned to the girls and said, "Shall we go to the circus?" and of course everyone was quite pleased to go. I do not know when I laughed so much, partly from seeing Flammarion laugh and also because the English clown was an unusually good one. (Flammarion did not talk English but could understand it). The next day he called at our hotel and the girls and I were alone and delighted to entertain him, or rather, be entertained by him; he was so amusing. He brought Vera one of his works which he had promised to give her and he asked us all to call at his flat, where he would show us his vo wn telescope and other interesting things. (Mr. Alexeiff had commissioned him to have a telescope for Katovka made just like his). M. Flammarion said he had a number of friends studying Astronomy and he allotted one small   area of the heavens to each, so that nearly every constellation had its observer.      The next day we went to his flat. Mine. Flammarion did not get much attention from us, I fear, we were too much taken   up with her husband. He had a large library containing many valuable works which we were examinging when he brought one book for our inspection--it was one of his own works, bound in white kid. After pointing out the splendid binding, he made us read a short sentence on the cover. The inscription was "This book is bound in human   skin--a woman's." It was startling and Mr. Alexeiff, who had held the book, was so shocked he would not touch anything until he had washed his hands. M. Flammarion stated that a doctor came to him Page 55      saying that a lady who had read and admired many of his works had just died. She had bequeathed to M. Flammarion the skin of her back in which to bind one of his books and he, the doctor, had promised to see that it was done;      We examined his telescope; it had over the lens a vertical line which, when the telescope was pointing to the zenith of due South, marked the meridian; this line was made of the finest thing obtainable--a spider's web. M. Flammarion presented one of his works to each of us.      The day before we left Paris, a man from Worth's came to pack the Coronation and other dresses that had been made by that establishment; we sat and watched him with great interest. Every sleeve was filled with creased tissue paper and every flower encircled with cotton batting and tissue paper. Tape was passed through the short sleeves and tacked to two sides of the trunk to keep the waist from creasing. Mme. Alexeiff had a yellow satin evening dress with a very long train trimmed with purple irises. A dark gf'een silk was trimmed with lime flowers and green Spanish lace, with bonnet to match. Vera and Olga had white satin and tulle dresses trimmed with white jasmine and wild roses; pale blue silk with bonnets of dark blue trimmed with the pale share; sapphire blue velvet with bonnets covered with forgetmenots.      Heidelburg was our next stopping place, for there a famous doctor lived whom Mme. Alexeiff wished to consult. It was a beautiful town situated on the river Necker, with steep   wooded hills behind it. The ruins of the famous castle were visible among the trees. Vera and I enjoyed walking to the castle and up to the top of the hills.      The doctor sent Irne. Alexeiff to drink the waters at Carlsbad in Austria. On bhe train we were much amused by an irate Englishman who, whenever spokento by ticket-collector or porter, answered, "Why can't you speak English, man?". The only word he knew was 'Carlsbad'. I discovered that he was an Irishman named Col. Griffiths and I heard that the poor man died at Carlsbad, leaving a young family.      Whilst drinking the waters (I drank the very mildest and Mme. Alexeiff the strongest, which boils up like a geyser), we were allowed a very little bread and no raw fruit for all the time we were there and for six weeks after, and we had to walk two or three hours a day.      Mr. Alexeiff met some Englishmen and became quite friendly with them:- General Palmer, an Irishman, Sir George Bowen, late Governor of Mauritius, and Mr. Hodgson. One day Mr. Alexeiff invited them to join us on an expedition to some mineral water springs that were being bottled for a table drink--Giessubler by name. We drove to the gate of the Restaurant, where scores of people were eating and where we stopped to Page 56      greet the Englishmen. I was walking beside Mr. Hodgson who was lame. Suddenly he said, "I see they are going up the hill and   as I cannot walk up hills, I will sit down at one of these tables and have my lunch here." I did not know what to do. I thought they would possibly come back again but, fearing to lose them, for the hill was thickly wooded, I offered to order whatever he wished to have for he could not speak German, and then I excused myself. The paths were winding and shady so that one could not see beyond a few yards but I followed other people who seemed to be going to the spring, and at last I found my party. The two Englishmen made a great to do when I appeared, asking if we had quarrelled and where I had left him, etc. Of course I explained, but Mr. Alexeiff aaid not a word. We spent four hours on that hill and it seemed very discourteous to have left our guest all that time to himself. When at last we went to find our cabs, Mr. Hodgson was waiting at the gate. He walked up to me and in rather a loud voice said, "Will you allow me to give you this little box as a souvenir? I feel very grateful to you for having tried to entertain me." Of course I took the box from the poor man, although I noticed the look of anxiety shown by the girls. The incident soon passed out of my mind; but four or five weeks later a Russian whom we knew very well was spending a few days with us. He took me aside and asked what had happened between me and Mr. Alexeiff, for he had noticed that he never spoke to me. That made me think, and I traced his silence (which I had taken for ill-health) back to the day of the picnic. He had thought I was setting a bad example to his girls by being teased about a man and, more especially, by taking a present from him. The next day he was no longer sulky, so it was evident that our mutual friend had given him a little talk.      Once before--in Russia--I had offended him, in a very different way. I had been sitting in a small drawing-room between the large hall and the music room. Olga was playing the piano in one room, her father in the other room was playing an instrument called the harmoniflute and in my room a chiming clock began to play a carillon. I came out into the hall and said, "You have no idea what discords I have been listening to." He took it to mean his own music, although I explained as best I could to others in his hearing. I donit think he over played again in my hearing.      The town of Carlsbad was situated in a very narrow valley, or the centre of four valleys, surrounded by forests; there were beautifully kept paths winding up the steep hills, enticing one to go ever higher. Seats were placed at the most picturesque points and shelters to protect one from sudden showers. Two or three bands or orchestras were employed by the town to en-courage the invalids to sit in the open air most of the afternoon and evening. A small head-tax helped to defray the expense of these splendid open air concerts. Express boys circulated the streets, ready, for a small sum, to deliver messages or to fetch anything one needed. One of our party needed their purse which had been left in a bedroom drawer. The key to the room was given the boy and a description of what was wanted and, in a very short time, the boy returned with the purse. The whole Page 57      company of messengers guaranteed the honesty of each individual. An Englishman whose acquaintance we made here, and who had been a great traveller, was very helpful in recommending the various places to be visited and the best railway routes we should take after leaving Carlsbad. His name was General Doria, brother-in law of the Bishop of Worcester; an ancestor had been a Doge of Venice, which accounted for his Italian name,      Our journey by steamer to Dresden was through what is called 'Saxon Switzerland.' The river Elbe ran here through comparatively narrow channels and the banks were high hills of varied shapes like thos e on the Rhine, but the rivet was more winding and the scenery was not disfigured by the regularly planted vineyards. There were, however, very few picturesque ruined castles but on the highest hill was a strong fort called Konigstein, the only fortress in Saxony and there, in times of great danger, all the treasures of Dresden were taken. Whilst we were staying in Dresden we saw all these beautiful treasures. There were works of art by the greatest goldsmiths of the eighteenth century; some very valuable collections fof carved ivory; the regalia and many more royal treasures kept in the Green Vaults of the Palace--but the most beautiful treasures were the pictures in one of the most famous picture galleries in Europe. The Sistine Madonna alone, occupying a whole wall in a room to itself, is worth travelling across Europe to see. We went to the beautiful Opera House, small compared with that of Vienna but a perfect gem, where we heard Mozart's opera, "Figaro's wedding;" and we paid a long visit to the Meissen China Works, where the celebrated Dresden China is made.      At Leipsic where we had to change stations, I r. Alexeiff lost his purse; he informed the police of his loss and at the next station received a telegram saying it had been found. We waited for the purse in Frankfort, where rooms were taken in a hotel and the day was spent in sight-seeing. It was one of the richest towns in Germany and far more imposing than Dresden. The Jewish street presented a decided contrast to the rest of the city. It consisted of narrow, very tall houses (five or six stories) each of a different height and so narrow as to give the impression of being squeezed together, the very pointed, gabled roofs adding to that impression; there were little tiled reefs over some of the windows and receding lower stories. Wooden steps or ladders led up to the entrances and--what spoi'ed the picturesqueness of the street--washing was hanging out. Near the house where the Rothschilds were born stood the modern well-built and important Bank belonging to them: an inspiring object lesson, demonstrating the truth of the old proverb,--"Honesty is the best policy". It is many years since I visited Frankfort; half the Judestrasse had then been demolished and I have no doubt that little of it remains to-day. Page 58      One other show-place I must mention and that is the Roemer Saal, or Emperor's Hall, a building with full-length portraits of German Emperors from Charlemagne down. I noticed there was room for only one More portrait, and I asked the caretaker if there were to be no more Emperors after the death of Frederick. He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, but could not answer.      One day in Heidelburg to consult again the celebrated physician, and then our road led to Switzerland. We went by way of the Black Forest in order to get a view of its beautiful mountains. The railway wound back and forth turning corners in tunnels and gained to a great height before arriving at the pass. The quaint houses of dark red-brown wood, roofs with deep eves and ornamental balconies all beautifully decorated with carvings, were like gems in their lovely green setting.      rde spent the night at Constance in the Inset Hotel, a building full of interest. It was formerly a monastery the chapel of which was now used as the dining room. There was a room where John Huss was imprisoned for eighty-four days, so small that one could scarcely turn round in it and the window no bigger than the hole in a dovecote; and near by was the Council Room, long and gloomy, in which Huss and Jerome of Prague were condemned. The hotel still retained the ancient decorations and in one corridor were to be seen frescoes of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This sight-seeing was all done before eight o'clock in the morning, when we boarded the train for Ragatz Pleffers where Mme. Alexeiff wished to stay a few days.      Ragatz has long been famed for its hot springs which were much recommended as a treatment for rheumatism. In earlier days, the patients were let down through a narrow fissure between steep cliffs to the source of the spring in baskets, as the gorge was so narrow that there was no road. When we were there, the water was piped in large wooden conduits to the Hotel in Ragatz two miles away and you bathed luxuriously in the warm water in a big swimming pool. Here at Ragatz we had the pleasure of meeting some English friends, including General Doria and his wife.      Mr. Alexeiff wished to drive into Italy by the Simplon Pass, so we went to Chur and stayed the night, thus enabling us to start early by hired coaches up the Via Mala. It was a wonderful drive; the road, which was very good, had been cut out of the mountain wall first on one side and then on the other side of a brawling stream--the upper waters of   the Rhine. The weather became colder and colder as we ascended and in the end, after passing Thusis, we were forced to turn back owing to the report of a heavy fall of anew near the Pass. Page 59      We took train for Lucerne and it was somewhere in this part of Switzerland that I lost my passport. Lucerne was wet all the time of our stay so that we missed the chief beauties of the lake and surrounding mountains, but we were able to visit the Gletscher Garten to see the largest mills in the world made by a glacier of long ago. At the entrance to this garden was the dying lion sculptured on the face of a rock in commemoration of the Swiss Guards who died when defending the King of France at the time of the French Revolution. There was a curious old covered bridge at Lucerne with painted sides representing the Dance of Death. We were going to Vevey but spent a few days at Lausanne on the way.      It was always the wish of the Alexeiffs to avoid the beaten track or if that were impossible, to avoid the most fashionable time for visiting a place so that they attended as few social functions as possible. And just as English people when abroad try to avoid people of their own nationality, so the Russians avoided Russians--perhaps not for the same reason. English people whom Inert on the continent were often so loftily superior to everybody and everything around them, or else they belonged to that class so indifferent to the impressions they made, so careless of their appearance and their talk, that one was ashamed of them. Russians outside of the Empire, especially those in Switzerland (a very hotbed of political discontents} were shunned because it was dangerous to pick up casual acquainta*nces--Zurich and Lausanne were notorious centres of Nihilism.      . Alexeiff found a quiet hotel about a mile from Vevey on the Lake of Geneva, where we stayed some weeks. The scenery was beautiful, the lake ever changing in colour and the rugged snow-clad mountains presenting a decided contrast to the wooded slope of the Tyrolean shore which faced Vevey. The river Rhone entered the lake from a valley to the left and its yellow water could be traced for many miles before it mingled with the clear water of the lake.      We Went to see the Gorge du Trient, a small river falling into the Rhone; it emerged from a precipitous cleft something like, but longer and more winding than that of the Ragatz. We walked up the Gorge on a wooden path above the rushing water and admired the ferns and mosses which grew up the sides of the cliff, but the noise and the spray soon caused us to retreat. On the way home by steamer, we noticed   a prisoner with a piece of string fishing out of his very small dungeon window in the Castle of Chilton. This castle, one of the beauty spots on the lake, was built right on the water which is said to be 2500 feet deep at that point. It was being used as a military prison. This is the castle immortalized by Byron in his "Prisoner of Chilton". The way to Chillon lay close to the lake and was often taken for our daily walk. The road up hill behind the hotel led to quaint villages and to wider views of the mountains, but it lacked shelter from the hot sun.   Switzerland seemed to be overflowing with English Page 60   people; at the English Church in Lucerne there were four hundred and at Montreux nearly every person one met was talking English. The Prince of Wales came with his two sons to Onchy, a port on the lake; Mme. Alexeiff and her friend, an English Countess who was stgying with us, went to write their names in the Prince's visitors' book but, as he had come for the day only, to install his two sons and their tutor in their rooms, the book had not been brought. The princes were to   spend the winter there studying French and their father in leaving was heard to say, "Now mind: not one word of English or I shall fine you;" We wondered how they would be able to avoid speaking English with so many of their countrymen and women around them. Our living in Vevey was very cheap: room and board at 41.50 a head and for our servants 41.00 each. We left Vevey late in October and went by boat to Geneva for a few days sight-seeing. You get a beautiful view from Geneva of the glacier in the Chamouni Valley. We drove into France to see Voltaire's house at Ferney, a veritable museum of the works and treasures of that great writer; the object of our especial admiration was a portrait of Catherine the Great of Russia, worked by herself in tapestry.      In Augsburg, our next resting place, we stayed in a very fine new hotel called "The Three Moors". It had been built at a cost of 000,000; there were only one hundred rooms and the profits did not cover the daily expenses but it belonged to a rich merchant who, it was said, would keep it in repair. The corridors were as wide as rooms and all the floors were of mosaic. Augsburg, one of the oldest towns in Germany, was named after Augustus Caesar in whose time the town was first built. During the Middle Ages it was one of the most famous of the Free Towns of the German Empire; and many of the older buildings dated from that period. In the more modern part of the town the streets were wide and the buildings large and handsome. One of the rooms in the Town Hall was particularly beautiful--the walls were covered with frescoes and the ceiling was a work of art. It was called the 'Golden Hall'.      Once more in Vienna, we were installed in the Hotel Metropole where we had been nearly a year ago. Mr. Alexeiff took a box at the Opera next to that of the Imperial family and as we went there night after night for nearly three weeks, the officials and others began to think we must be royalty in disguise. Vienna was renowned as the most musical of all European cities and the performances at the Opera House were marvellous, especially the 'mise en scene'. We saw the whole repertoire of the Treason, and Lucca was perhaps the most famous of the singers.      Mr. Alexeiff called on the Comte de Chambord, or as he was called by French Royalists, Henri V. He lived in a castle not far from Vienna and although at this season he did not receive visitors, Mr. Alexeiff obtained admission. Page 61   The Comte received him very cordially and at the end of a long tete-a-tete gave him an autogfaph photograph of himself.      !ne A lexeiff and I went into the hotel kitchen to learn from the chef a certain way of cooking potat oes. The kitchen was very large and beautifully equipped, and the chef had such grand manners that Mine. Alexeiff hardly liked offering him 10 roubles.      Mr. Alexeiff's cousin, Princess Hilkoff, joined us in Vienna; she heard that I was leaving the Alexeiffs shortly and wanted me to go to a cousin of hers, Princess G. who lived in St. Petersburg in the winter and in a beautiful country place near the Hilkoffs in summer; but I had promised my mother that I would return to England when the Alexeiffs went to the Coronation.      We crossed into Russia a day or two before Mr. Alexeiff's leave of absence expired (no one could leave Russia without a permit) the weather was still warm in Ekaterinoslav and the streets consequently were exceedingly muddy. How much more muddy and disagreeable they seemed to us after the beautiful roads in the countries we had just visited: It was very pleasant news for the Alexeiffs when the chief of the police told them that the street passing their house was going to be made when the bridge was completed. The construction of the bridge was well advanced and it was to be ready for traffic the next winter. One   sad accident had taken place in connection with the concrete foundation; some of the workmen died in a diving bell when thb hoisting tackle broke, and the bell could not be raised.      A few days after arriving home the usual formal calls were made and Vera and Olga went for the first time with their mother. These calls took up several days and then the return visits began. There was a new Governor--not very popular8-and everyone regretted having lost Mr. Dournovo but it was good to hear that he had been made a Senator. It was a position held for life and possessed many advantages such as a pension. Years later Mr. Dournovo became Minister of the Interior. Mme. Alexeiff had in-tended going to the country for part of the winter but for a whole month it was so cold (1S below zero, cold enough for coachmen to freeze to death) that the project was riven up; there were actual cases reported, of people losing their way and dying of cold on the steppes not far away.      I received many warm expressions of regret at my approaching departure and several offers of other positions--one of which was very tempting. It was to go to the A mour with the Korffs where the Baron had just been made Governor. It is a government near Corea, north of China, and the journey by sleigh or by coach all across Siberia would have taken three months. Page 62      Dances and dinners took place now which Vera and Olga attended and so the worst of the winter months passed. The Alexeiffs had engaged some time ago a furnished apartment in St. Petersburg for three months at the cost of '41000 a month; they would take with them their cook, a maid or two and two menservants. It had been their intention to take also the German governess but when they arrived from abroad, they found she was engaged to be married. The wedding took place in December.      Now after four years I was going to leave these dear Russians of whom I had grown so fond. At a luncheon, with other friends present, Mr. Alexeiff drank my health and made such a touching speech that I had to retire to my room. Mme. Alexeiff followed me and wept with me, thanking me for all I had done for her girls. Mr. and Mme. Alexeiff gave me a beautiful enamelled silver gilt cup and spoon and inside the cup I found hidd en my railway fare. The girls gave me a long gold watch chain. The numerous links, they said, were symbols of the friendship which united us.      Mme. Alexeiff had some magnificent diamonds which were always kept in the Bank excepting when she went to Couft. She thought I would like to see them and had them brought from the vaults for my inspection before I left: a tiara and a necklace as well as numerous broaches and bracelets; it was good of her to let me see/ them.      I had been invited to visit some friends in Kharkov on my way home. Sasha Mazaraky and her French companion Mimi St. Remy had stayed at Katovka several times and we had become great friends; they lived with Sasha's brother-in-law. When I arrived, Mimi had been ill and   Wiesselovsky begged me to stay as long as I could as it was rather lonely for Sasha. Kharkov was famed for its   U niversity. I had heard so much about it from Mr. Alexeiff because it was there that he had studied as a young man. He had told me he intended to leave his valuable collection of Greek coins to this University of his daughters continued to take no interest in numismatics. I was surprised to learn that the fees at the U niversity were only 05 a year. The day after my arrival in Kharkov, I awoke at about 5 a.m. hearing a great noise. Sashats brother-in-law did not keep such a big establishment as Mr. Alexeiff and I found that the noise was produced by hired polishers--men who came on certain days to polish the parquet floors. They wore the brushes on their feet and seemed to enjoy the skating.      I went with my friends to a concert at the Institute, the name given to schools for the daughters of the nobility. The fees at this school were only 4130 a year, for which sum the pupil was not only instructed in every branch of learning, but housed, fed and provided with a uniform as well,j The dress was singular, mdde of a coarse woollen material the colour varying according to the grade or Page 63      class in which the pupil was studying. It was cut in a perfectly plain style, with low-necked waist and short sleeves. With it was worn large bibbed white aprons, short white capes to cover the bare necks in the daytime and, fof delicate girls who were sensitive to cold, tight-fitting white sleeves and sometimes woollen capes as well. This uniform was worn on all occasions, morning and evening, and no jewelry was allowed. (It was not considered good form in Russia for any unmarried girl to wear lace or diamonds). At this Institute there were five music and two singing masters for the 220 girls. Governesses sat in the class rooms but the teachers were all men--professors from the University or from the Boys' Gymnasium. The Directrice was the widow of a General. A week later I was invited to some theatricals at the Institute followed by a dance.      Vera wrote telling me of their presentation to the Empress Dagmar (sister to Alexandra Princess of Wales). The Empress was in rather a hurry as she was on the point of starting for a picnic. She said a few words to each, giving her hand each time. She spoke to Mme. Alexeiff about her French relations, to Vera about her travels and then she turned to Olga and asked how old she was. When Olga told her she said, "Well you look to me to be all three the same age:" Another day when receiving the Alexeiffs she spoke of a dress she was wearing saying she was afraid people were tired of seeing it, but she wanted to wear it out. She and her sisters had been far from well off in Denmark and had been accustomed to many economies.      I heard Melnikoff, the best Russian baritone, at the Institute. He had a very fine voice and was very good natured, singing again and again when encored. Another singer was A delina Patti's sister, Mme. Gerster, whom I had heard once before and whose voice was, like her sister's, very sweet. Besides the Institute, there were two other schools for girls; that for the daughters of priests, with very small fees, and a day school called the Gymnasium which cost the pupil only $20.00. Sasha had attended the Gymnasium because she could board at home. Sasha's brother, a lieutenant in a Dragoon regiment, came home on a short leave. He told me how poorly paid they were in the army--he only received 410.00 a month. General Radetsky of Kharkov was to have special charge of the Eirneror's person at the Coronation; he would be given only $20.00 a day and Sasha said that would not be sufficient to pay the expense of a carriage if he did not take his own with him. The other officers associated with him in thus guarding the Emperor were to,$be General Todleben and General Gourka. Every-body who spoke about the coming Coronation seemed to fear that something might happen but none were afraid to go. Sasha was invited to the Coronation and just before she started for Moscow, I took the train towards home. My journey from Page 64   Kharkov to Berlin took three days and three nights going through Warsaw.   The old Count, Mme. Alexeiff's father, had written to my mother inviting me to spend a few days in Paris so my route was Warsaw, Berlin, Paris. The day before arriving at Warsaw, I noticed that a man walked through the ladies' coupe several times and at last he stood in the doorway and spoke to me in German. I pointed out that my coupe was one reserved for ladies; he replied that he felt lonely so would I mind if he came to talk with me sometimes? I replied that I was tired and did not wish to talk, but he persisted. We were apparently alone in the carriage and I was too alarmed to sleep. Early in the morning, he asked if I would have break-fast with him--the train, he said, would presently stop at a small station for breakfast. I declined with thanks, saying that I knew enough of the language to get what I required. `imagine my confusion when I found that we were now in Poland, and that the waiter and I could not understand each other: Without turning my head, I knew this German was quite near; he had evidently been on the watch for he came forward at once and ordered a good breakfast for me. I thanked him and felt that it would have been polite to ask him to sit at my table, but I did not want to encourage him. Later in the day he showed   e some photographs of his wife and children and when we arrived in Warsaw where I had to change stations, he put me in a cab and said 'Goodbye'. When I came to my destination the cabman said his fare had been paid by the gentleman who had   asked him to see me to my train. He had not been an attractive man at all and his behaviour had been too forward to please me, but I was really sorry I had not been a little more genial.      In Berlin I was very kindly welcomed by Frau Klemcke with whom I stayed three days, enjoying the sights of the city in itd spring beauty. The old Count met me in Paris and I   spent two days in talking about his daughter and her daughters and in calling on other relations. A few years later I again met   e Alexeiffs and spent three weeks with them in Ostend. After the Coronation of the Russian Emper&r, Vera was Maid of Honour to the Ehipress and remained at Court until 1894, when she was married to Prince O.      en the great war broke out, the Prince had charge of the work of the Red Cross of the whole of South Russia including the Roumanian front and the Black Sea, and his wife was president of the Red Cross Sisters of Ekaterinoslay. The Palace in the Potemkin Gardens was turned into a hospital and another hospital was established in a private house. They also opened a summer hospital for twenty patients in their country house at Katovka.      The Prince spent his entire time overseeing the hospitals in that wide district, arranging transportation of sick and convalescent soldiers. They fitted out a Red Cross Hospital Ship in which many of the doctors and nurses were from Page 65      Ekaterinoslay. This ship, the Portugal, was sunk by the enemy in the Black Sea; and the Princess wrote of the great grief that tragedy caused them. We corresponded regularly up to the time of the Revolution in 1917, after which time no mail service existed in that part of Russia, and no newspapers were printed, so that my friend knew nothing of the outside world. Her father and sister had died early in this century and the Princess considered it one of her blessings that those dear ones were spared the horrors of the Revolution.      I still wrote to the Princess, addressing my letters to Citoyenne Vera O., but none of them were delivered. She contrived to get two letters taken to Brussels, without envelope, addf ess or signature, carried in somebody's pocket. They were taken to her cousin, the Vicomte d'Ormesson, who forwarded them by mail. The first one I received in 1919. In it she told of her husband being in the Caucasus, where he was kept as a hostage with other nobles by the Bolchevicks. These eighty-seven nobles were afterwards taken out in their night clothes, shot and thrown into a common grave. The Bolchevicks had taken possession of the Alexeiffs' town house and were using the yard and garden as the burial place of their many victims. In Katovkathat much-loved country home--everything had been burnt and all the trees cut down. Part of her second letter, in 1921, was as follows:- "If you received the letter I wrote two years a go, you know something of what we have gone through and of the martyr's crown that was destined for Colin (her husband) which made my life so desolate. I thank God that I have my Mamma Left to work for and tkke care of, and for my good health which enables me to lead the hard life I am leading in the midst of ruins and desolation.      This town has undergone in less than four years twelve changes of government and seventeen sieges including (1) a dreadful hailstorm last summer (1920) which broke all the remaining windows which had been spared by the bombardments and spoilt all the vegetable gardens. (I had been busy over a spot allotted to me a citizen of the town and had hoped it would feed us the whole summer.) (2) A hurricane in winter which tore off nearly all the roofs. It really seems as if the calamities which are predicted in the Scriptures, as attending the end of the world, are all let loose on it. I don't think you would recognize Mamma and me--we are so aged and changed, but find pleasure in the smallest things. God helps me to keep up somehow, but outwardly I am quite grey and we are both as thin as pokers. We have lost all our earthly possessions everywhere even the most indispensable things and have to do without all kinds of comfort. A year and a half ago the town was in the hands of a gang of marauders as numerous as a whole army, headed by a robber named Machino, and they were pitiless towards all the in-habitants, even the poorest, and pillaged and killed without mercy or discrimination, and we suffered the most during during their six weeks' stay. Now I am earning my living by giving lessons in foreign languages (English, French and Italian--especially English) Page 66   and am very busy all day and have enough exercise thanks to the enormous distances I have to cover. I am so glad I was inured to exercise by the out-of-door life I always led and the sports I always indulged in, for now, after walking for hours, I can dig the earth and carry great weights on my shoulders, as I have to do everything for myself. We live chiefly on millet, cannot always buy bread or milk; potatoes are an expensive luxury this year and we have almost forgotten the taste of sugar, fruit, etc.      The worst is the intellectual privations one has to endure; a nice book is such a rare treat when the spirit is lacking. But there is no time for anything outside the 'trivial round and common task' come down to its commonest level  we live not far from the Bishop's house, which you probably remember, ov erlooking the Dnieper, where I bathe in summer and walk about barefooted to gather chips of wood and bones to throw into our tiny iron oven which is also our kitchen grate in our one room. Our room is large and airy but very damp in winter--the paper comes off the wet walls and everything gets covered with mildew and rust. We know nothing of anybody anywhere and very few of our friends have remained here--all lead the same life that we do--absorbed in their struggle for existence."      This letter was neither addressed nor signed and by the time I received it the paper wasnearly worn out. All those dark years I constantly wrote to her but my letters were never received. After this last letter, I sent her parcels of food through the American Relief Organization and I received from New York official receipts signed by her. Her French relations with whom I kept up a correspondence were equally unsuccessful in establishing communication, and parcels of clothing, particularly of stockings which they hoped would reach her were returned from the frontier. Italy was apparently the first country to resume trade relations with Russia and some Italian friends were then enabled to get in touch with the Princess and in 1923 they succeeded in procuring transport for her and her dear old mother to Italy by sea. They are now living in comfort with these kind friends; but the Princess is earning what money she can by teaching English and Italian and is thus able, to a certain extent, to keep her independent spirit. This year she sent me a copy of the Diary she kept during the Revolution. It almost breaks my heart to read of the privations , the in-dignities and the persecutions she had to endure; deserted by all her servants, robbed of all her possessions and often forced to change her abode at a moment's notice to avoid the cruel fate suffered by many of her relations and friends. Her steadfast courage in withstanding the unjust demands of the Bolchevicks, her devotion to her dear mother so often in poor health, and her humiliation at the conduct of so many of her compatriots arouses one's keenest admiration and sympathy. Page 67   "Perhaps on earth I never shall behold Her outward form or semblance   Therefore to me she never will grow old, But live forever young in my remembrance.   (The end)

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