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rant and wretched people. A father marries his son, when almost a boy, to a girl considerably older; the son is immediately sent to some distant town, to acquire a livelihood, while the parent cohabits with his daughter-in-law, and often presents his son, on his return, with a numerous family. It is to be hoped, that proper measures will be taken by the legislature to abolish these incestuous marriages.
Moscow, September, 1814. On leaving Jagelbitzi the heights of Valday opened to our view, extending across the road in a west and east direction. The road soon began to ascend the hill, and to wind in a zig-zag manner, for thirteen miles. The track is partly paved with stones, or covered with sand. The Valday mountains, so called by the Russians, from its being the only rising ground between St. Petersburg and Moscow, is about one thousand feet in height, and not more than sixteen miles wide at its base, and about fifty miles in length. This rising ground appears picturesque, and affords an agreeable relief to the eye, after passing along the insipid flatness of the country from St. Petersburg. It rises in so gradual a manner, and being considerably broken in its surface, that its heights appear somewhat diminished. It cannot be seen from any great distance. The surface is partly covered with loose stones of granite, a few fir trees, and much brush wood: also extensive tracks of cultiva. tiori. Grain is reared on the very summit of these heights. The soil is a reddish clay, mixed with sand. Along the side of the road are seen a few miserable wooden huts. The people partake of that lawless character, which the aspect of the country is so well calculated to impress. No features of mineralogy present themselves, except a slight appearance of stratification towards the south-end of the hill. On the summit of the hill we were astonished to find several tumuli, picturesquely covered with the green fir trees, which considerably added to the irregularity of the scenery. From its summit the prospect was not so extensive as might be expected. Before us, at the foot of the hill, appeared the little town of Zimogorie, situated on the banks of a small lake. On entering the town we found two long streets, formed of wooden houses, built on the declivity of a rising ground, and almost joining to the lake. Each of the streets is terminated by a church. The one is a large brick building, with several gilded domes, the other a clumsy wooden structure. A few of the houses are built of brick, stuccoed and painted of various colours. The inn is kept by an Italian, and we had the pleasure of being serenaded with the music of several instruments. A slight difference is remarkable, between the people here, and those on the other side of the hill. Light hair and light beards seem to be the prevajling colour, and a countenance somewhat
sharper. The hair is cut in the same manner; only that, on the top of the head, it is cut very short, forming a kind of circular bald pate. The women are better looking, and possess a peculiar softness of manner. The lake Valday, which extends along the south side of the town, is about fifteen miles in length, and from one to three in breadth, with several islands scattered over its surface, and some fine peninsulas of wood. On one of its islands is a large and shewy convent, with many glittering domes and turrets, rising above the dark green foliage of the surrounding forest. So retired from the bustling scenes of life is this religious asylum, that the pious enthusiast must find in it a retreat equal to his wishes. Altogether, Zimogorie will present objects sufficiently interesting to detain the traveller one or two days.
The road from Zimogorie to Jedrovo is even worse, than that over the Valday hills. It passes over a rugged and barren country, covered with loose stones, and deeply rutted. This fatiguing stage is surrounded, on each side, by young wood, and several narrow lakes. Slight attempts at cultivation are distinguished, but the crops are very scanty. The stalks of corn no where appeared above ten inches in length : corn stacks are, in consequence, thatched with the twigs of the birch tree. Before we entered Je
drovo we passed a small, but picturesque winding lake, near to which we observed several tumuli, not so large as, but more perfect than, those we had hitherto seen. Here we also observed numerous flocks of wood pigeons, uncommonly tame. These, with the common black and grey raven, were the only birds we had ever noticed. This little town consists of one long street, of mean wooden hovels, more like heaps of rotten wood, than the dwellings of men. The street terminates in a square, in which a large and clumsy church is built.
This was the first place where we found no kind of inn, or public house. However we met with a tolerable substitute, from the stores of a Russian traveller, who was on his return to St. Petersburg, from Saratoff on the banks of the Volga, about six hundred miles south-east of Moscow. He was accompanied by his family, and, like every native of the country, moved along with his whole household furniture. Every Russian is so well acquainted with the extreme barrenness of his country, and the filthiness of the inns, that they never undertake a journey without carrying along with them a regular stock of provisions, beds, and the apparatus of cookery.
From the last town we proceeded through a broad, open, and unequal track of loose heavy sand, leading through extensive forests of fir and