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" An immense quantity of ice is consumed
in Russian housekeeping. Throughout the
summer, ices are sold in the streets of every
Russian town; and, not only iced water, iced
wine, and iced beer, but even iced tea is drunk
in immense quantities. The short but
excessively hot summer would spoil most of
the food brought to market, had not the
winter provided in abundance the means for
guarding against such rapid decomposition.
An ice-house is, therefore, looked upon as an
indispensable appendage, not merely to the
establishments of the wealthy, but even to
the huts of the peasants. In St. Petersburg
alone there are said to be ten thousand ice-
houses, and it may easily be supposed, that to
fill all these cellars is a task of no trifling
magnitude. It is not too much to calculate
that each ice-house, on an average, requires
fifty sledge-loads of ice to fill it. The
fishmongers, butchers, and dealers in quass have
such enormous cellars that many hundreds
of loads will go into them; and the breweries,
distilleries, &c., consume incalculable
quantities. According to the above calculation,
five hundred thousand sledge-loads of ice
would have to be drawn out of the Neva
every year; but this calculation is rather
under than over the mark. It is, certainly,
the merchandise in which the most extensive
traffic is carried on during winter. Whole
processions of sledges laden with the glittering
crystals may then be seen ascending from the
Neva; and thousands of men are incessantly
at work raising the cooling produce from its
parent river. The breaking of the ice is carried
on in this way: The workmen begin by clearing
the snow away from the surface, that they
may clearly trace out the form of the blocks
to be detached. They then measure off a
large parallelogram, and mark the outline
with a hatchet. This parallelogram is sub-
divided into a number of squares, of a size to
suit the capacity of their sledges. When the
drawing is complete, the more serious part
of the work begins. A regular trench has to
be formed round the parallelogram in question.
This is done with hatchets; and, as the ice is
frequently four or five feet thick, the trenches
become at last so deep that the workmen are
as completely lost to the eye as if they had been
labouring in a mine. Of course, a sufficient
thickness of ice must be left in the trenches to
bear the workmen, which is afterwards broken
with bars of iron. When the parallelogram
has thus been loosened, the subdivision is
effected with comparative ease. A number of
men mount the swimming mass, and with
their pointed ice-breakers, they all strike at
the same moment upon the line that has been
marked out. A few volleys of this kind
make the ice break just along the desired
line; and each of the oblong slips thus
obtained is broken up again into square pieces
after a similar fashion. To draw the fragments
out of the water, a kind of inclined
railroad has to be made on the side of the
standing ice. This done, iron hooks are
fastened into the pieces that are to be landed,
and, amid loud cheers, the clear, green, crystalline
mass is drawn up by willing hands. As
the huge lumps lie on the snow, they appear
of an emerald green, and are remarkably
compact, without either bubble or rent. As soon
as the sledge is loaded, the driver seats
himself upon his merchandise, and thus, coolly
enthroned (ah, enviable fellow !) glides away
to the cellars of his customers, enlivening his
frosty occupation with a merry song. It is by
no means without interest to visit the ice-
shafts of the Neva, and watch the Russian
labourers while engaged in a task so congenial
to the habits of their country. In the
cellars the ice is piled up with much art
and regularity, and all sorts of shelves
and niches are made, for the convenience of
placing milk, meat, and similar articles there
in hot weather. Such a description at least
applies to what may be called a tidy, orderly
ice-house ; but tidiness and order do not
always preside over Russian arrangements,
and in the majority of cellars the ice is thrown
carelessly in and broken into pieces, that it
may be packed away into the corners, and
that as little space as possible may be left
unoccupied. The consistency and durability
of the ice do not appear to suffer from this
breaking process ; on the contrary, the whole,
if well packed, will soon freeze into one
compact mass, that is afterwards proof against the
warmest summer. The Russians are so
accustomed to these ice-houses, that they are at a
loss to understand how a family can do
without them ; and their housewives are in the
greatest trouble when they think they have
not laid in a sufficient supply of ice during
the winter, or when in summer they fancy
their stock likely to run short. It may safely
be estimated that the ice consumed in St.
Petersburg during the summer, costs the
inhabitants from two to three millions of
roubles." That is to say, three hundred
thousand pounds to four hundred and fifty
thousand pounds.

Alas! how can I enjoy thinking about the
popularity of ice in Russia; when I reflect how
it is with us at home? We have abundant use
for ice; yet, its use, instead of being general,
is exceptional. Except at pretentious dinner-
parties, and in confectioners' shops; with a
lump or two to be met with now and then as
a preservative for fish and meat, we see little
of it in England. What I want, is to have it
more generally applied to domestic purposes
amongst the poor as well as rich. I would be
a propagandist from the frigid zonesan ice
missionary. I want to show that it is
practicable for ice to be a great deal more brought
into play than it is.

Let me begin at the beginningand, first of
all, what is ice?

Ice, we all know, is water that beyond a
certain point has parted with its heat, and it
must get its heat back in some way before it