Recollections of Russia During Thirty-three Years' Residence by a German Nobleman

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T. Constable, 1855 - Soviet Union - 328 pages
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Page 278 - ... her little cape from her bosom. In a second she stood naked to the waist, exposed to the sight of a gaping mob, which thronged to the 'scene of blood. A second hangman seized her, and raising her on the back of his comrade, placed her in the position most suitable for the punishment. He then seized the long knout, stepped back a few paces, measured the requisite space for the blow, and the knout, whizzing through the air, tore away a narrow strip of skin from the neck along the back. These blows...
Page 206 - It was now discovered that the house was inscribed under two numbers, and consequently the Government official wished to deprive him of half of it. A law-suit was inevitable. At this moment an offer was made to destroy the old document for five hundred rubles, and interpolate a new one in the purchaser's favour.
Page 2 - ... an officer's servant, who had committed the heinous crime of forgetting to carry his master's long tobacco-pipe to a neighbouring house, and so the gentleman had been compelled to fetch it himself. The fancied goat-skin was the shirt of the servant, which had at last become dyed of a blood-red hue The bleeding wretch crept up to express his thanks, and was greeted with kicks. What a docile animal is man ! The first city the author visited in Russia was Petersburg, and tin- description he gives...
Page 85 - In the engineers' school at Petersburgh, and in other establishments, they may be found as drummers and fifers. In order utterly to extirpate this caste, they are bound, by a recent ukase, to submit to every conscription, whether ordered for the Eastern or Western provinces. Thousands of deported Catholics have also been purposely sent into districts where they are deprived of all religious support, and where the want of Catholic clergy will eventually force them to resign their creed.
Page 255 - ... possible for him to detect the fellow. Long, long was it ere accident led to the discovery. A Russian merchant had a free servant. He was fortuitously found to be a spy. He had orders to report who visited, and what was said at the nobleman's house. For this purpose he paid court to a girl, made her numerous presents, and promised to marry her. This girl was on friendly terms with a serf girl in this house. The maid-servant, in her innocent gossipry, repeated all the secrets and conversations...
Page 31 - The water placed on the table in spring is perfectly pestiferous. Frequently in summer did I meet the nightmen's carts, which discharged their filthy cargo into the Fontanka, so that the very air was poisoned. In the morning, water for breakfast is procured from it. I once saw a number of men leaning over the balustrade of the Fontanka, close to the Nikulin bathroom, and gazing down into the water.
Page 85 - ... ways. Its numbers have been weakened by frequent deportations to Siberia, or to the steppes of the adjacent desolate government. These transportations have affected not only the Poles on the left bank of the Vistula, but still more the old Polish districts of Wilna, Mohilev, &c., belonging to Russia. In this deportation was included a considerable portion of the Polish nation — the Odnodworzen, or lower nobility without estates. They were stripped of their privileges of nobility ; and in order...
Page 85 - Eussian genius possesses the sole privilege of attending to the mental and spiritual welfare of all the inhabitants of the empire. But under the pretence that the ministry cannot act according to its good pleasure alone, a Catholic Academical Council has been established, composed of Catholic clergymen and Eussian lay professors.
Page 113 - Potemkin, for instance, had a merchant dragged from Moscow to Petersburg by the police in order to show a lady his immense beard, about whose length she had doubted. The merchant was brought to the capital and kept in chains for months, until Potemkiu happened to think of his beard. After the curiosity had been inspected, the Muscovite returned home, with shattered health, to find his fortune ruined and his wife dead of grief. Or take the following anecdote about the same unmitigated scoundrel :...
Page 292 - Fewquestions are asked if a man, who no longer possesses a name, but is only enrolled and known by a number (like cattle driven to market), disappears and another placed under this number. If the exile is condemned to hard labour for a certain number of years, and his body is strong enough to survive this period, a place of residence is afterwards allotted to him. He cannot expect, however, to live by his daily labour, for there is no one to hire him. The most fearful form of punishment is the Barabinsk...

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