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magnificent in proportions and contents, than
any of its provincial rivals; and, to me, it is
much more interesting. It is here that you
can watch in its fullest development that
most marvellous mixture of super-civilisation
and ultra-barbarism; of dirt and perfumes;
accomplished, heartless scepticism, and naïve
though gross superstition; of prince and beggar;
poodle and bear; prevailing tyrant and
oppressed creature, which make St. Petersburg
to me one magnificent, fantastic volume;
a French translation of the Arabian Nights,
bound in Russia, illustrated with Byzantine
pictures, and compiled by slaves for the
amusement of masters as luxurious as the
old Persians, as astute and accomplished as
the Greeks, as cruel as the Romans, as
debauched as those who dwelt in the Destroyed
Cities, and whom it is a sin to name.

In seventeen hundred and fifty, Russia
being happy under the sway of the benign
Czarine Elizabeththe want of a central
bazaar being sensibly felt in the swelling
capital, and nothing existing of the kind but
a tumble-down row of wooden barracks, as
filthy as they were inconvenient, hastily run
up by convicts and Swedish prisoners in the
days of Petri-Velikè—an enormous edifice of
timber was constructed on the banks of the
Moïka, close to what was then called the
Green Bridge, but is now known as the
Polizeiskymost, or Pont de Police. This was
the first Gostinnoï-dvor in St. Petersburg.
Five years later it incurred the fate of
theatres in all parts of the world, and of
every class of buildings in Russia,—that
species of architectural measles known as a
fire. It was burnt to the ground, together
with a great portion of the quarter of the
city in which it was situated; and its re-
erection, in stone, was soon after commenced
on the spot where it now stands: on the left-
hand side of the Nevskoï Perspective, and
about a mile from the chapel-spire of the
Admiralty. It forms an immense trapezoid,
framed between four streets. Its two
principal façades front the Nevskoï and the
Sadovvaïa, or Great Garden Street, which last
intersects the Perspective opposite the
Imperial Library. The principal façade is one
hundred and seventy-two sagenes long.
There are three archines to a sagene, or
eighty-four inches; I think, therefore, that I
am right, according to Cockeroffsky, in
saying that there is a frontage of twelve
hundred and four feet, or more than four hundred
English yards, to the Gostinnoï-dvor. The
reconstruction in stone did not extend very
far. Funds came in too slowly; or, more
probably, were spent too quickly by those
entrusted with them; and, for a long time, the
rest of the bazaar consisted of rows of barracks
and booths in timber, which were all
duly re-consumed by fire in seventeen
hundred and eighty. The Gostinnoï-dvor was
then taken in hand by the superb Catherine,
who had a decided genius for solidity and
durability in architecture; and under her
auspices, the great Things Yard assumed
the form it now presents. Huge as it is,
it only forms a part of that which the
Russians call the Gorod, or City of Bazaars; for
immediately adjoining itinferior in splendour
of structure, but emulous in stores of
merchandise and vigour of traffic, are three other
bazaars,—the Apraxine-dvor, the Stehoukine-
dvor, and the Tolkoutchji-rinok, or Great
Elbow-market, which last is the Rag Fair or
Petticoat Lane of St. Petersburg: all the old
clothes, and a great proportion of the stolen
goods, of the capital being there bought and

On the same side of the way as the
Gostinnoï-dvor on the Nevskoï, and close to the
commencement of its arcades, is the enormous
edifice of the Douma, or Hotel de Ville.
This was originally built of wood, but has
been gradually repaired and enlarged with
stone, and has slowly petrified, as men's
minds are apt to do in this marmorifying
country. Its heart of oak is now as hard as
the nether millstone; and stucco pilasters,
and cornices in Crim-Tartar Corinthian,
together with abundance of whitewash and
badigeonnement, conceal its primitive log

This huge place (what public building
in Petersburg is not huge?) is facetiously
supposed to be the seat of the municipal
corporation of St. Petersburg. There is a civil
governor, or Lord Mayor, it is true, who is
officially of considerably less account than
the signification of an idiot's tale in the
hands of M. le Général Ignatieff, the military
Governor-General of St. Petersburg, without
whose written authority no person can leave
the capital. There is a president and six
burgomasters, and a Council of Ten notable
citizens; but all and every one of them,
governors civil and governors military,
burgomasters and notables, are members of the
celebrated and artistic corps of Marionnettes,
of whose performances at Genoa and at the
Adelaide Gallery most people must have heard,
and who have a theatre on a very large scale
indeed in Holy Russia. They are beautifully
modelled, dressed with extreme richness
(especially as regards stars and crosses), are
wonderfully supple in the joints, and have
the most astonishing internal mechanism for
imitating the sounds of the human voice.
The strings of these meritorious automata
are pulled by a gentleman by the name of
Dolgorouki, who succeeded that eminent
performer, M. Orloff, as chief of the gendarmerie
and High Police, and manager (under the
rose) of sixty-five millions of Marionnettes.
So perfectly is he master of the strings of his
puppets, and so well is he acquainted with
the departments behind the scenes of the
Theatre Royal Russia, that the ostensible
lessee and manager, Alexander Nicolaïevitch,
who inherited the property from his father,
Nicolaïaleosandrovitch (an enterprising