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A voyage to Russia in 1908 & 1965 (1)

Found- an anonymous account of a a trip to Russia on The Salsette in 1908 written by a young woman of an artistic bent. There is a certain amount about the ship, mostly at Shona's Wrecks (many thanks) which mention this voyage to Northern European cities, the Salsette's first major outing. In 1915 the ship was hit by a torpedo and lies 600 feet down off Portland Bill, now a favourite wreck for divers to explore.In 1965, probably by then in her mid 70's, our diarist flew back to Russia and remarks on the changes (to follow).

ON BOARD “THE SALSETTE”

20th August, 1908

  It has been rather rough and cold all day but for all that I have greatly enjoyed it. I was so tired after last night that I slept on till past 9 o'clock this morning, and then had breakfast in bed. All the competitions have started again, and out of the two I have played to-day I have again won one. It has been very nice and restful having another whole day at sea - one gets so frightfully tired sightseeing. Every town we have been to see so far has been paved with cobble stones, roads and pavements alike, and this, especially when one has thin soles to one's shoes, very quickly makes one's feet ache.

  I cannot yet quite realise that to-morrow morning when I wake up we shall really be in Russia! I am looking forward to it with very mixed feelings. It will seem so strange to be regarded by everyone with the greatest suspicion and to feel that many of the people against whom one brushes in the streets may be either police spies or anarchists. But oh! it ought all to be so fearfully interesting - I only wish I were more accustomed and better able to write down my impressions. I am conscious of the different atmosphere (this is the only word I can think of to explain what I mean) that envelope all the new countries to which we have been, yet I find it dreadfully difficult to put into words all I feel and see. But I must just let everything soak into me, and simply content myself with writing here the bare actual facts, and without doubt all I see and feel will influence the whole of my nature, and deepen my understanding and make altogether a greater artist.

Friday 21st August

  When I came on board this morning I found the whole place swarming with Russian officials of every kind and description, and the ship herself entirely surrounded by Russian warships. Somehow my first impression was horribly gruesome. Standing right out on the water - one on either side of us, are two big great buildings, these are prisons and fortresses combined, and it is here the Russian government sends many of their unfortunate prisoners. From one of the buildings this morning four long objects wrapped in canvas, were shot into the water and sank immediately. These were dead bodies of prisoners (at least I hope the poor wretches were dead) and I am told the bodies are always got rid of in this way. All the day the Czar's yacht the "Standard" was sailing up and down - without doubt many of the prisoners are able to see it as it passes - how they must curse the Czar and all that he represents, and probably though God knows, he is more to be pitied than envied, and surely he has little enough real liberty, poor man. Some time ago there was meeting among the crew of the Royal yacht anchored here, and when it was suppressed all the leaders were drawn up on these very ships and shot - and were then strung up to the masts. Oh! Russia is very horrible and relentless.

  When the officials came on board the first thing they said was "All these war ships you see round you here have received the order to fire on you if you lower any boat before we have searched this ship and given you permission to do so" - had they fired of course we must have sank immediately. But I wonder, would they ever have dared to, surely not?

  The officials that came on board were half police and half custom house officerd. All the uniforms are most striking and effective and many of the officers are very good looking and well made men. But oh! the common men, they are horrible beyond all words, they are very dirty and unshaved, and absolutely cowed looking. Poor devils, they do look most wretched. The whole time they are either cringing or drawing their heels together with a sharp click and saluting. The head men treat them absolutely like dogs, or rather infinitely worse than any English dog is ever treated - of that I am sure.
  
  The suspicion with which we are regarded is absolutely incredible. First of all a complete search was made all over the ship, they took out all the matches and examined the inside of every match box. Then every passport was looked at and compared with papers the officers had in their possession, after which an inspection was half of the entire crew, and lastly all handbags and light baggage which the passengers wished to take with them on shore had to be brought up on deck and the contents examined. Of course anything suspicious looking, like a gun case for instance, had to be sealed up - was there ever such a country? I believe they are not really so suspicious of us, but they think we are such a free and unparticular nation that we might easily harbour any amount of anarchists without being aware of it!! They have been all day over these endless formalities, and of course this has prevented our landing as we had expected to be able to do - for until the officials were absolutely satisfied that we were really quite harmless - not a single person was allowed to leave the ship.
  
  This morning some of the officials who had nothing to do came into the saloon and started playing the piano. One or two of them played quite charmingly. They played entirely by heart and wandered on from one thing to another. They played all kinds of music, and all with the most beautiful finish and feeling… they certainly are a marvellously musical race. Imagine English custom house officers sitting down and giving an impromptu concert like that - why the idea is positively ludicrous. Then they asked the passengers to play something, and a girl sang a song (the same one she sang the other night; she tells me she knows only two!) but I fear the Russians were not greatly impressed by her singing. And then I went and got my ladle. They really were the most delightful audience to which I have ever played. Tremendously enthusiastic and as still as death when I played; several people have told me there was one man in particular who stood as though he were in a trance and drank in every note I played and every movement I made. I wish I could always be sure of having as great a success as I had to-day. An amusing incident occurred after lunch. To go up on deck I had to pass through the saloon where all the Russians were lunching - and as I passed through they all clapped me. I really felt most embarassed and got through the room as quickly as ever I could. Then later when they left the ship they all came up to me one by one and thanked me and wished me good-bye, bringing their heels together with a smart click and making me a deep bow. Then when they got into their launch they took off their hats and waved them to me, so I waved back my handkerchief and we parted the very best of friends. To be absolutely honest I think some of the other girls were just a tiny bit jealous of me. But really I couldn't prevent those men from behaving like this. Of course only the officers and some of the men have gone. One or two Russians are still left on the ship as sentries, and most precious villains they look too. I suppose they will stay with us until we leave. The Russian Colonel photographed us before he left. We were not obliged to be done, he only did it just for his own pleasure, I should like most awfully to get hold of a copy but I don't see how I possibly can.
  
  Well, to-morrow we really do go to St.Petersburg - I wonder what it will be like. So far, I think the Russian poor classes are quite terrible. But the educated men seem absolutely different and really very nice; but all the regulations of the country are so completely irreconcilable with English ideas. Really if I lived here very long I believe my whole character would alter, and I should become suspicious of everybody and everything. I hardly see how one could avoid it when one is given absolutely no free will or independence and nothing is ever trusted to one's honour.
  
  To-morrow we shall make a very early start - so now to bed.


Saturday 22nd August

  The sunset last night was lovely, and to-day is perfectly glorious. A hot sun, but cool breeze, the air both here and in St.Petersburg is extremely pure and bracing.
  
  The railway carriages here are most comfortable, far superior to the English ones. They are very large and roomy, and the seats let down into berths for the night.
  
  The droshky drivers in St.Petersburg are immensely fat because they never take off their clothes as the Winters are so terribly cold. Their great ambition is to look as monstrously fat as possible, so they just wear dozens of coats, each one made a size larger than the ether, and when they are off their seats, they look just like fat old washerwomen muddling about - a truly ridiculous sight. They also wear very thick gloves made with only two divisions - one for the thumb and the other for the four fingers - just like a baby's in fact. Of course this prevents them driving in the English fashion - for they held one rein in each hand, and stretch out their arms to their fullest extent. It looks such a very dangerous and haphazard way to drive! The streets are most villainously paved with great uneven cobble stones, and oh! one does get so shaken in the droshkies, for they have neither india rubber tyres or springs! But they are all rather picturesque little things. The horses are all very well treated and in excellent condition. They all have a big wooden arch which stands up over their necks and is fixed to the two shafts, and it is here that the sleigh bells are attached in the winter time - and curious silver chains are hung over their heads instead of leather straps.
  
  All the men here either wear their hair very long or else shaved quite short - there seems to be no happy medium in anything. Everyone seems either very rich or frightfully poor - as far as I can see there is no middle class here at all, which is probably one of the reasons why the country is in such an unsatisfactory state, for I am sure that it is the respectable and uninteresting middle class which steadies and keeps the balance true in England. Here a man either fawns and cringes or else orders everyone about as though he were lord of the whole creation! The priests all trying to resemble as nearly as possible the traditional conception of Christ by having long hair and never shaving - out of doors they wear very flowing black garments so that they look quite different from an English or a Roman Catholic priest. Most of them are very creepy looking but I have seen just one or two who were dear fatherly looking old men, but the majority inspire me with a very deep horror and mistrust.
  
  One sees ever so many different types of faces in the streets, there is the purely Russian, and the Mongolian then one sees many rather degenerate but good looking individuals who might be either art students or anarchists and then the Cossacks and the high officials, and the peasants - the moujyks. Then there are a great many deformed and diseased beggars almost everywhere who are most repulsive looking, poor things. But the thing that impressed me most was the religious devotion of all the people. Everywhere there are Ikons - in the streets, in the shops, in the stations and in the restaurants - and before eaca one there are candles burning and people continually stopping to say a prayer. They seem absolutely oblivious to all external things: one sees them stopping before the Ikons they pass in the streets or the railway stations and falling on their hands and knees to pray and then touching the ground with their foreheads; when they have finished they kiss the ground and then get up and kiss the Ikon and then walk quietly away. It is really most beautiful and never strikes one in the least as being ludicrous for they are in such deadly earnest. But I am told kissing the floor and the Ikons is a great source of disease in Russia.
  
  These Ikons are generally a picture (it is considered idolotrous to have any graven thing, so everything has to be quite flat) of the Madonna and Child, and sometimes they are of various patron saints, and occasionally of Mary alone and of Christ alone.
  
  Naturally the droshky drivers when engaged are not able to stop and pray before each Ikon, so they just cross themselves and lift off their hats as they pass by. And one frequently sees old women in the streets crossing themselves - and when the people pray before the shrines they never stop making the sign of the Cross, which gives them a strangely unquiet and restless appearance, especially too as they are continually bending down to touch the floor with their foreheads.
  
  The Moorish and Oriental styles of architecture prevail everywhere which gives St.Petersburg a very attractive and un-European appearance, and another very un-English thing is that nearly every man one passes in the • streets wears a uniform.

  The two things that strike one immediately on entering a church is that there is never an altar, and there are no chairs - one has to stand all the time during the services.
  
  We saw the Square where the crowd marching to the Czar's winter palace on "Red Sunday" were shot upon by the soldiers and massacred. It is a huge open space, with the winter palace going down one side of it, and in the middle rises a huge column built to Alexander I on the top of which stands a figure of victory. Our guide told us he had witnessed the massacre and had seen one who when shot had spun round five or six times before she fell dead - the whole thing is most ghastly to think of. The place looked so ordinary and cheerful with the sun shining on it that it was difficult to imagine how it must have looked that day.
  
  Everyone stares at us but I must own that all the men are most polite.
  
  First of all when we got to St. Petersburg we drove and walked about the streets and got an idea of the whole town, parts of which are extremely fine. Then we went to lunch at the hotel Europe. We had certainly a very good lunch but everything there is most frightfully dear. To begin with we had some caviar each helping of which cost four roubles (one rouble s equal to two shillings,) - and the rest of the meal was about in proportion with this!! The others took some vodka, which they said was absolutely horrible. Very fiery and salty.
  
  After lunch we went straight to Saint Isaac's Cathedral. To me this is quite the most beautiful building I have ever seen. It is most perfectly proportioned and gorgeously decorated without being in the least bit overdone. I have been told that its golden dome can be seen for miles and miles glittering in the sun. Inside in front of the sanctuary are two enormous pillars made of lapis lazuli, and ten even larger pillars made of malachite. They are of the greatest value and their colour is unequalled by anything I have ever seen.    From the other end of the Church (which is built in the form of a Greek Cross) they look like huge masses of brilliant green and blue light. Between and behind each pillar are huge mosaic pictures. Most of these are of Russian work but one - which is to me the most beautiful of the lot - a Madonna and child - was made in Italy. Until one examines them very closely and in a certain light it is impossible to believe they are not paintings, so wonderfully are they done. We went round to the Sanctuary which is the most holy place of all and into which no woman is allowed to enter. However from the door I could see a great deal of it. It is filled with wonderful objects all made in massive gold and silver - amongst other things there is a model of the Cathedral (St.Isaac's) but this is a very large thing and is only in silver gilt. Opposite the Sanctuary doors is a colossal window representing Christ with his hands outstretched clothed in a vivid scarlet robe. At the great service (would they call it High Mass?) the Sanctuary doors are opened and right the way down the aisle the figure in the window can be seen - it must be a most wonderful sight.
  
  Round by every pillar there are Shrines and Ikons, where many candles burn all the time and before which all the passers-by stop to pray. These Ikons are all decorated with huge precious stones of fabulous value. One cannot help contrasting a little bit the miserable poverty and ignorance of the people with the colossal wealth these Ikons represent, and wishing that some of the jewels and other things of value might be sold and the money spent on the people. But really I do not know how one could start reforming Russia, it is such an enormous place, and the whole system upon which everything is based is so hopelessly wrong. Everything here is obtained by bribery, and it seems impossible to stop it. But I am wandering away from what I was saying about the Ikons. The hands and faces of the figures are painted in a very dark brown shade and the beauty and brilliancy of the jewels that completely cover every other part, accentuates the ugliness of this - and though this effect sounds most grotesque, yet it has a peculiar quaint charm all of its own, and somehow it never enters one's head that it is in any way ridiculous.
  
  Suspended up in the dome, higher than anything else in the Cathedral can dimly be seen the image of a dove - which of course typifies the Holy Ghost.
  
  I could write simply pages about this one Cathedral - but I really must tear myself away, for we have seen so many other things to-day. But I do hope we shall be able to go back and see St. Isaac's again before we leave.
  
  We then drove to Peter the Great's cottage. This he made himself and lived in while Petersburg was being built. It was originally all of wood but Catherine II had it covered over with stone in order to preserve it. It is quite a fair size considerably larger than an ordinary English cottage. One of the rooms is now turned into a shrine and contains the Ikon Peter the Great himself used. There are always crowds of most fervent worshippers here. I think it is so splendid to see that people can still pray and Become so completely oblivious to all outside things as these Russians do. And it is not only the poor and uneducated who go to shrines for I saw some very well dressed people there too. In the other rooms were Peter the Great's furniture and his own boat. It was all exceedingly interesting.
  
  From here we went to the Church where all the Czars are buried, but we were not allowed inside owing to some repairs that were being made. So we then went on to the Kazan Cathedral. I did not care for it nearly so much as St. Isaac's. I suppose we ought really to have seen it first. It is simply packed with Ikons, all of which are decorated with great huge stones and necklaces. In this Church is one of the most holy of all the Russian Ikons - one of the Mother of God the whole of which is simply one blaze of diamonds and other precious stones. A priest arranged in a beautiful green embroidered cope was holding a service in front of it, so we could not go very near to see it. Just as we arrived a woman came away from praying by it, and all the way down the steps she made the sign of the Cross over her body. Somehow this little scene greatly pleased me. The Russians are considered to be a very superstitious race, well for my part I say if this earnestness and deep religious feeling is superstition, then long may they remain so. For surely it is better to be as they are, than absolutely callous and indifferent to everything as so many people seem to be.
  
  The fortress of St.Peter and St.Paul, one of the worst prisons in Russia, where S is now confined for ten years imprisonment, is a most terrible looking place - it is completely surrounded by water which of course makes any escape from there quite impossible.
  
  Peter the Great built St. Petersburg so that he might have a town quite near the sea from where he could attack the Swedes whom he eventually conquered. He had to contend with the greatest difficulties for all the ground was one huge swamp which he had to fill up with piles and stakes before he could even start to build a single house (and even when the town was finished he had great difficulty in forcing his people to live there.) But he eventually gained his point over this, as with everything else to which he turned his mind. Indeed he was a truly marvellous man - even though he has been dead all these years, he still seems to dominate the whole of the country and it is easy to imagine that his spirit still works in this town which he created.


Sunday 23rd August

  This morning we went to the great Winter Palace, Buckingham or any other palace I have ever seen is not to be compared with it, so enormous are the rooms, and so endless seem their number. The staircase and entrance hall is in white and gold, and the rooms are lighted by great chandeliers and enormous solid crystal candlesticks that stand about 9 feet from the ground. How splendid it must all look when the big court receptions are held there with all the beautiful women and the men in their many coloured rather barbaric looking uniforms. I am told the Russian women of the upper class are very lovely. Certainly one cannot say the same of the ordinary women in the streets, they are all so crushed and miserable looking and they have such pathetic, tired, patient faces. Many of the walls in the Palace are covered with gold plate that has belonged to the various Czars; of course they are very handsome and massive, but honestly I cannot say I care enormously for them. One mantlepiece I especially noticed as being very beautiful. Above the fireplace is a very fine piece of mosaic work representing a landscape and some figures, and all the rest of the mantlepiece is in carved marble, with lots of little cherubs standing right out from it in bas-relief. It is a most beautiful, as well as a very wonderful, piece of work.

  We were shown all the rooms of the late Czar Alexander II who was assassinated. Absolutely nothing has been altered in the room since the moment of his death, the very clock was stopped when he died - I think the hands marked 3.40. There were I think four handkerchiefs lying about the room, and some small coins and several cigarette ends - all just as he left them when he went out for the last time. One thing struck me as being very significant. On the dressing table lay a four barrelled pistol, evidently he always kept one near him in case he was suddenly attacked when alone - what a shocking life to lead. We were shown too the couch on which he was laid when he was carried in mortally wounded, and upon which he died. The guide who showed us round was most particular that no one should leave his sight for one moment, and if any of us stopped behind for just one second to examine anything, he would not allow the rest of the party to go on until he one behind had joined us again.
  
  I was very surprised that there was not one good picture in the whole place. There were hundreds of war pictures, the subjects of some of which were most interesting. But not one of them was really worth looking at as a picture - they were all such fearful daubs.
  
  It is very sickening to think of this beautiful palace being never used now - for ever since "Red Sunday" the Czar has never lived in St. Petersburg - and so the whole place lies absolutely deserted.
  
  After lunch we went to the Memorial Church which is erected over the very spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The whole of the inside - pillars, walls and everything - is covered with mosaic work and right the way up the walls to the ceiling there are great huge figures which seem to stand one on top of the other. The background to these figures is a very vivid light blue, and as each figure represents some saint they all of them have golden haloes. The whole effect to me is not a pleasing one, I cannot honestly say I cared for it. In the middle of the Church in a covered in space are the stones upon which the bomb exploded and upon which the Czar fell. People were praying by it and there were lighted candles all round it - so evidently many people regard him as a martyr. We were able to buy some pieces of the stones used to make the mosaics and which are quite interesting to have. There was nothing more of very great interest in this Church, beyond some beautiful Ikons set with huge precious stones.
  
  Then we went again to St.Isaac's which I was very glad to see once more. To-day I had time to go round and examine all the Ikons and things carefully. So many of them are set with such marvellous jewels it really is very wonderful that they do not get stolen.
  
  We then went again to the Kazan Cathedral. And this time we were able to see the famous Ikon. It really is most gorgeous and has a very interesting history. It was found in Kazan some time during the 16th Century. Then early in the 17th Century it was taken to Moscow - a hundred years later it was transferred to St.Petersburg where it has remained ever since. From here we went on to the Carriage Museum, where are all the State carriages, coaches and sledges used by the Russian sovereigns since the time of Peter the Great. They are most of them made in very much the same style as the one in which our King goes every year to open Parliament. Some of them are very beautiful - they are of carved gilded wood (made in England) and the panels on the sides are painted by Watteau or Boucher, and many of them too, are ornamented with jewels, and have jewelled crowns on the top. The sledges look so comfortable and luxurious - some of them were quite enormous, able to hold dozens of people and some were made to hold only two. All the carriages too were beautifully slung - they did look so delicious comfortable. Then, too, there were some tiny miniature coaches, standing not more than four feet from the ground, which had been made for some little Princess. These were just as beautifully made as the big ones, and they really were most sweet.
  
  Forming a startling contrast to these gay carriages was one plain black brougham, of which all the back part was completely shattered and broken. It was in this carriage that Alexander II was driving on the day of his death. The first bomb was thrown an instant too late, and only killed the footman standing up behind and broke the back of the carriage, the Czar being this time quite unhurt. He got out and started to walk to the Palace, when a few yards further on another bomb was thrown and this time the aim was more accurate, and the Czar was mortally wounded. I believe his legs were completely blown away; it is most horrible to think of. He was then driven in an ordinary droshky (which we also saw in this museum) to the Palace and laid upon the couch in his room where he died. Oh! what terrible scenes there have been in this unhappy country. Things certainly seem to be much more settled now, but still the present Czar never dares to come to his capital. Thank God things are different in England. Personally I think it is a great mistake keeping all the mementoes of the assassination of the late Czar. It must certainly help to keep the pot boiling' and remind the socialists and anarchists of what they have done in the past, and urge them on to commit further atrocities. These poor Czars are so awkwardly situated, it seems whatever they do they cannot escape from a violent death; for one story says it was not the anarchists at all who murdered Alexander II, but his own party! He had just - under threats of death from the people - signed agreeing to have a Constitution, and the Grand Dukes, fearing that he would grant still further liberties simply had him killed, but nobody knows for certain by whom it was done. God help, say, this poor Czar and all his family. I would not be his wretched wife, no not for worlds. God have pity on them and upon this unhappy country.


Monday 24th August

  To-day we went to the Hermitage. It has a most wonderful collection of pictures - oh! how I wish that some of them were in our National Gallery. I believe several of them belonged at one time to Charles I for at his death much of his collection was dispersed all over Europe. It does seem such a pity that Cromwell was so absolutely unable to appreciate beautiful things. Just think what a great thing it would be for us if he had only kept for England all the works of art Charles had so diligently collected. I think the pictures in the Hermitage that I really liked best were: Madonna della case d’Alba, Raphael - Madonna and Child, Leonardo da Vinci (doubtful) - a picture by Fra Angelico, Toilet of Venus, Titian - Holy Family, Rembrand; Watch Dog, Paul Potter. Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Murillo - Portraits of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, and Lord Wharton, Van Dyck.
  
  We then went to a part of the Hermitage called the Kirtch Museum, where there is a large collection of beautiful old Greek jewellery. There was some beautiful old pottery - which is generally kept hidden - being shown to an old German professor while we were there and which we were very lucky to have the chance of seeing. The modeling and colouring of these pieces of pottery was most beautiful. One piece - which was absolutely intact - was especially beautiful - it represented a woman's face and body coming out from two shells. The rest of the pottery was mostly women's bodies with head and feet of an animal. I am told these shapes often figure in the borders of Pompeian frescoes. The old professor man said that these figures had all been made 500 B.C. and to us they looked exactly as though they had just been modelled by some very finished artist of this 20th Century. After this we did some shopping.


Tuesday 25th August

  We again went to the Hermitage, and to-day I just walked through the galleries, and looked only at the very special pictures I had liked. We then went to Peter the Great's museum in the Hermitage, and saw all the machines he had used, and a great deal of his furniture. His clothes too were all hung round the rooms. He was a very tall man - about 6 feet 5 inches in height, and he must have been enormously strong too, for the walking stick he always used was made of solid iron, and weighed a great deal. We saw several wax masks of his face, some taken during his life, and some after death. He must have had a very strong intelligent face, very broad and square in shape with a very large forehead. Altogether his whole appearance must have been very striking.
  
  We then saw the jewellery etc., that had belonged to various Russian sovereigns. I think in their way they were the most marvellous things I have ever seen. There were big gold caskets studded thickly all over with enormous pearls. Huge sapphires and diamonds set in the handles of fans, jewelled snuff boxes etc. as well as proper jewellery that could be worn, like necklaces and rings of which there were hundreds of every conceivable design, size and colour.
  
  After we left the Hermitage we went and finished our shopping.
  
  We had two most pathetic farewells, first from our droshky driver, and then with the guide. We wanted to give our driver a tip, but as we had no Russian money left, we had to give him some English money. However, we told him through the guide that he could get it changed at any hotel. But he assured us in a lengthy speech (which our guide translated to us) that he would never part with it and would always keep it as a remembrance of us - and then he took off his hat and bowed and smiled to us - and of course we did the same - he really was a most dear old man. Then our guide too was really most distressed at leaving us, and said he hoped he should see us again some day - and then he made a separate good-bye to each one of us, and when he came to Mother, he bent down and kissed her hand. It did look so nice for he did it so gracefully and naturally. I am told it is the custom here - I do wish it was done in England.
  
  I had noticed that many of the shop windows had all sorts of things painted on them, and to-day I asked our guide what this meant and why it was done. And he told me that none of the peasants can read at all, and on the shop windows are painted the articles that are sold inside so that the peasants may know in which shops to go and buy the various things they may need!! And then the guide went on to tell me about several other very interesting things. He said that the Russian post office authorities think absolutely nothing of opening letters, and that frequently a letter will be delivered three months late with its envelope cut open right across the top! Truly this is an awful country! I then got talking to him about the Greek Church, and amongst other things he told me that the custom of kissing the Ikons, and the ground is a great source of disease here. This is quite easily understood, and when once an illness (like cholera for instance) is started here, I cannot think how it is ever stamped out.

  I am dreadfully sorry to leave Russia, though in a way I feel it would not do for me to live here long - for if I did I know I should grow absolutely callous and heartless. Even now driving along I have felt it was everybody’s business to get out of our way - and our old driver evidently thought so too for he never slackened his pace in the least, and whenever we turned a corner, or if there was anything in the distance blocking the way, he just called out at the top of his voice ‘HAIYOUP’ (or something that sounded like that) and dashed madly onwards. We have frequently nearly run over people and as a rule they just scuttle out of the way and seem to take it quite as a matter of course. But to-day I really thought we had killed someone, however the man was quite unhurt, for he was screaming and yelling after us, and shaking his fist in a most expressive manner. He really looked most dangerous and I was extremely glad he was unable to get near us. This has been the first time I have seen anyone actively showing their hatred of the richer classes. There is one thing in this world of which I am absolutely sure, and that is were I a Russia I should most certainly be an anarchist, for one would simply obliged to try and do something to help this wretched country, and one might be able to force the Grand Dukes to make some improvements by keeping them in constant fear of their lives. Anyway the continual danger in which one would live would give an absolutely new interest in one’s life, and there is no doubt all the plotting would be most exciting and would certainly be a great relief to one's feelings. However as I am not a Russian, only an English girl (for which I suppose I should be very thankful) it is rather useless to think of this subject any more, especially as it is getting late, and I feel there are still lots of things of which I should like to write about.
  
  But still for all this Russia has a great fascination of its own - and the people themselves are charming once they get over their suspicion of you. Yes, in leaving this country, I say from the very bottom of my heart “au revoir"
  
  - and "au revoir" ...... SOON!!

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