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exception is always to be assumed) where the
Russian peasant can enjoy himself. At the
bottom of the peetch, likewise, can he enjoy the
dulce desipere in loco. For, as between the floor
of the outer house itself and our mother earth
there is an open basement, or glory hole, so
between the bottom of the stove and the flooring
there is also a longitudinal cavity; some fourteen
inches high, perhaps, and some five feet
and a-half long; the depth of course,
corresponding to that of the peetch, which is
ordinarily about forty inches wide at the top.
Within this cavity, on ordinary days, odd
matters are thrustimmondices of every
description, broomsticks, buckets, and coils of
rope. It is the sort of cavity where ravens
might establish a joint-stock bank for savings,
aud rob each other, as directors and share-
holders, dreadfully. I have passed over the
standing armies of vermin, whoif it be not
inconsistent to say solie there armed cap-à-pie.
But once a-week, Ivan Ivanovitch, the
moujik, having divested himself of every
article of clothing, crawls into this longitudinal
cavity, and there lies till he is half-suffocated.
On emerging from this oven, the
Baba Tatiana, his wife, douses him with pails
of hot-water, till he is half-drowned. He
speedily re-enters into his clothes, which
have been neatly baking in the front part of
the stove, to kill the vermin; and this is the
Russian bath. If the fortunate moujik be a
starosta, or at all removed from the usual
abject poverty, he will have, in lieu of this, a
sort of hot-brick kennel built in his back-yard,
by the side of his pigstye and his dung and dust
heap; and this, with a small antechamber
for dousing purposes, forms his vapour-bath.
The hole under the stove, however, and the
hot-water pail afterwards, with a bucket of nice
cold water occasionally, are the most popular
components of a Ruski banyi, or Russian bath.
Baking wearing apparel, in order to divest it
of its animated lining, was, I was inclined to
think before I visited Russia, a device confined
to our English gaols and houses of correction.
The first intimation I had of the practice
being to the manner born in Muscovy, was
apropos of a tea-party. The lady of the house
where I was fortunate enough to receive
that pleasant hospitality had sent her little
boy out for some tea-cakes; and as the
Russian high-priced flour is the best in the world,
and the Esthonian and Livonian bakers, who
almost monopolise the baking trade in St.
Petersburg, are most cunning in their art,
the substitutes for Sally Lunns are delicious.
The little boy came back betimes with a bag
of tea-cakes, and a very pale and frightened
face, and being questioned, said that he had
wandered, through curiosity, into the bake-
house, and that there was a man's head in
the oven. He was sure it was a head, he
reiterated, because he wore a hat. Whereupon
a Russian gentleman who was present
burst out into loud laughter, and deigned
to explain to us that, among us gens du
peuple it was a common custom to send
a hat to the bakers when the little
animals signifying love, who boarded and
lodged within it, became too troublesome.
I know that the horrible story spoilt my
appetite for Sally Lunns that evening, and
my tea too, though it was of the very best
from Poudachoff's, and cost eight roubles

Now for a word concerning the square
church-tower. This is called the Poêle
Hollandaise, or Amsterdam stove, and was
brought from the land of dykes and dams
by the all-observant Peter the Great.
Breast high in this Amsterdam stove, is the
ordinary continental cooking-apparatus, with
circular cavities for the saucepans and bain-
mari pans, should he happen to possess any.
Underneath, at about six inches height from
the ground, is the range of family vaults;
a longitudinal tunnel extending the entire
length of the stove, and heating the whole
fabric. This is filled, every other day or so,
with logs of timber, chopped to about the
size of an English constable's police baton.
The apertures of the stove are left open until
this fuel attains a thoroughly red heat, and
no more gas can be emitted; all is then
carefully closed up. The stove is, in fact,
nothing but a brick brazier of charcoal;
but I am almost willing to believe, as the
Russians proudly boast, that they have some
peculiar art and secret in the construction
of stoves; for I have never heard of any
cases of asphyxia through their use. The
samovar, too, which is apparently a most deadly
piece of copper-smithery, is usually found to
be innoxious; though I cannot help thinking
that either a Russian stove or a Russian
tea-urn would very soon make cold meat of a
small tea-party in Western Europe. When
the fuel is out in the long tunnel, and pending
a fresh supply, then is the time for
the thrifty Baba, or moujik's housewife, to
bake the rye bread. She is quite ignorant
of the use and appliance of the domestic
spatula, or baker's peel. She pokes the
bread in with a broomstick, and fishes it out
with a long instrument, which, for a long
time, I considered to be a mere agricultural
stimulant to hay, to wit, a pitchfork, but
which I was afterwards told was specially
devoted to the removal of the bread from
this primitive oven.


WE have it in our minds to utter certain
speculations on the death of Chatham, not
the Chatham of the British parliament, who
is dead; but the Chatham of the dockyard.
The conservancy of the rivers Thames and
Medway is in the hands of the Lord Mayors
of London. Once in seven years, a Lord
Mayor and a crew of aldermen dine in a barge
during a trip to Rochester by water. They
dine to see that there is water in both rivers;