« ПредишнаНапред »
All the Year Round” 7, 11
19, 25, 31, 35
FROM LOCHLEVEN CASTLE · 5 41, 45, 50, 54, 60, 63
89, 94, 98, 104, 109, 113
131, 135, 143
169, 173, 177
J. A. Froude 189, 194
Sir W. Scott
I had been living for some months in a town on the Volga, in the centre of European Russia, forty versts from Jaroslav, the government county town. To reach that town I must traverse a wild and uninhabited track, where there were only two small hamlets, at one of which the twenty-verst post-station was to be found, if not buried in snow. My team of three horses, commonly called in Russia “a troika,” had been carefully selected
” from the various stabling establishments in the place, the cost for driver and horses to be three and a half roubles, or about half-a-guinea (the rouble of a hundred
kopecks being worth a halfpenny or two more than three shillings), which was no great price for such a journey in such weather. Two wolves had been killed in our principal street within a week. One I had shot in my own court-yard the day before we started, and many reports were current of their hunger and unusual bold
It was even said that a small village, about thirty versts distant, had been attacked by them in force. These facts and stories made me careful about requisite defences. My six-barrel travelling-companion was carefully loaded and placed in my belt ready for use, a magnificent nine-inch bear-knife in a sheath, and a formidable blackthorn cudgel, heavily weighted at the handle, belonged also to my armament. The brandyflask, bag of provisions, bottle of water, matches, cigars, and portmanteau having been stowed away, I was about to step into the open sledge, when a Russian neighbour came up and asked leave to join in the journey to Jaroslav. My neighbour, though a gentleman for whom I had much respect, was the last man I should have chosen as a travelling-companion in a narrow sledge, for he weighed over twenty stone, had a great difficulty in breathing, and, when once he was seated, almost required horse-power to get him up again. He was a phlegmatic, lazy, good - natured, cigarette - smoking monster who was not to be refused, so, his request granted, he rolled in on the right side and filled three parts of the sledge. My Russian servants crossed themselves, whereby they meant, “God give you a safe journey. The members of my own family cried, “Goodbye, God bless you !” and the driver having gathered up the reins, I jumped in, and with a "noo noo” to the cattle, off we went, dead against a blinding drift.
Fatsides, having observed my weapons, grunted in his own Russian, of which he made the least possible use,
“ Pistolet. Wolves. Shoot. Good.”
“Have you any weapons ?” I asked. .
Daylight came struggling through the heavy morning clouds, and disclosed a cheerless waste of ridges
valleys of snow. The trees, which at wide intervals indicated the route, did not save us from often plunging into great pits of soft snow the moment the driver turned but a few feet from the track. This took place so frequently, and gave us so much trouble in digging ourselves out, that was noon before we had made sixteen versts-hardly ten miles—having been six hours on the way.
At this point in our journey, the driver sent the