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took out of a carpet bag, and is now about to
proceed, warm and comfortable, upon his journey
again? He is a shrewd composed little man
a gentleman evidently. I try to find out his
secret, and, knowing that there is but one way to
address anybody in Russia, approach him with my
best smile, cap in hand. I congratulate him on
being able to proceed so quickly on his journey,
and mention that I have already been here some
hours and see no chance of getting on to-night.

Traveller smiles politely. There is no more
courteous gentleman in the world than your
travelled Russian.

Have I been long in Russia?

Some weeks. Travelling for the firm of
Watt and Co., agricultural machine makers.

Travelled Russian gentleman pricks up his
ears. He has some estates in the neighbourhood,
and has just returned from Paris to look at them,
and put his emancipated serfs in order. Will I
accept a seat in his carriage to the next station?
His servant can bring on my luggage in the
paracladnoilittle wooden truck like that of an
English greengrocer in a very small way of business.

But there are no horses, I object irresolutely,
noticing something wonderfuly like a sandwich-
box and a flask, which may contain comfortable
drink, through the half-open door of the carriage.

"My servant will find horses," answers my
new acquaintance rather dryly.

I doubt itI was about to answer, as politely
as incredulity and a sense of injury would
allow mewhen the servant actually appeared
with the horses wantedthree knock-kneed
hobbling little nondescripts, not unlike clothes-
horses, but wild scamperers when they warm to
their work. They came from an outhouse,
which I had altogether overlooked in my
explorings, and, indeed, it was out of sight of the
other buildings. More surprising still, there
were the postmaster and his pipe bobbing about
quite briskly hither and thither. There was the
stolid waiter against the post, and the curled-
up waiter in the corner quite awake. The whole
establishment, indeed, looked brisk and lively.

"A nobleman of your rank," said I, " can
make light of difficulties insuperable to other
men." I began to think my acquaintance must
be Hetman of the Cossacks, at least.

"Pardon," said he, " I have no rank at all.
I am not ' au service.'"

Now I had been told to bore a hole in a five-
franc piece, and put it on a red ribbon round my
neck when travelling in Russia, as a thing
certain to strike awe and respect into the hearts of
postmasters, whom I was informed would then
take me for an officer of high military rank; no
other persons but officers of high military rank
having a chance of comfortable travel in Russia.
I had followed this advice at great inconvenience,
the five-franc piece constantly jobbing
at, my neck and chest owing to the jolting of
the paracladnoi; but, nevertheless, I firmly
believed in its efficacy. I had, therefore, without
inquiry, set my new acquaintance down at once
as an officer of high military rank, and his
remark took me rather by surprise. The British
bagman, however, is not easily disconcerted, so
I continued blandly:

"Well known on the road, I suppose?"

"I travel it about once in three years," he
answered, with a slight shrug. " It hardly
invites a better acquaintance."

"What, then, is your secret of getting horses
which were denied to me and half a dozen other
persons while I was staying at the post house?
Is it," I gently insinuated, " ' the stick?'"

My new acquaintance pulled out a twenty-five
copeck-piece, something less than a franc in
value.

"I give one of them to the postboy at every
station, and another to the first person I meet
about the post-house, for sometimes the
postmaster will not accept it himself. Ce n'est
pas plus fin que cela. That is allthat is
all. There has been a great change in Russia
since the late emperor's death; that change is
growing greater every day. Ignorance, extortion,
and petty tricks, exist among our peasantry
as among the uneducated people of all countries,
but the time is gone by in Russia when a quiet
man, with money in his pocket, cannot get on
as well here as anywhere else in the world. The
fear of the stick, and the awe of tinsel stars,
have both passed away from us. Passports, one
of the last remains of the old system, are
disappearing, and, far from being the obstinately
retrograde people we appeared a few years ago,
the only doubt in some minds is, whether we
are not going ahead rather too fast. You
must not, of course, expect to find the signs
of the great change which has come over us
very strikingly exemplified in a village posthouse
farther from the capital than the Landes
are from Paris, or Connaught from London.
But the change is here, and woe to the silly
students and idle mischief-makers from other
countries, who, by their insane outbreaks, try
to scare our excellent and liberal-minded
emperor from persevering in the noble course he
has hitherto pursued towards his people."

I found the contents of my instructive friend's
flask and sandwich-box excellent, and I and my
following arrived at Kiev quite merrily.

At the completion, in March, of
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's new work,
A STRANGE STORY,
Will be commenced
A NEW NOVEL, BY MR. WILKIE COLLINS.

Now Ready, price Fourpence,
TOM TIDDLER'S GROUND.
forming the
EXTRA DOUBLE NUMBER
FOR CHRISTMAS.

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