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next visit to Ireland, as its latest bull, its
offer to the stranger of a native Welsh rabbit.


A TRUE story of life out in the cold, not the
damp warm-cold of such winters as we get
now-a-days in England, but the real solid cold of
far away down the grand river Oby, through
Siberia, towards the Arctic sea. A true story,
friends and children, that will do our hearts
good as we gather round the fire, of two weak
women exiled from their homes by the great
Emperor of all the Russias. The well-born
Polish lady, Eve Felinska, banished from her
children to a far northern station in Siberia,
kept an account of her life for two or three
years out there in the cold; she published
it on her return, and it was a pleasant,
straightforward, interesting, admirable book.
A Polish colonel has done it into English, and
it is called among us by the crooked title,
"Revelations of Siberia." It might as well
have been called Exodus. From this book I
shall tell a true Christmas story, that will do
no hurt to hospitable hearts, of life in that
inhospitable region.

There was a great stench of skins, whiskey,
tar, fish, and tobacco on board the merchant
Brahin's trading vessel from Tobolsk, which
had sailed down the Oby and up its tributary
Soswa on the way to Berezov, after the ice
had broken up and left the waters passable.
Every one was on deck, washing, brushing,
packing, crying Berezov!  for there was
Berezovthe journey's endin sight. Had we
been there as a ghostly troop of happy
children making holiday among the bustle, we
should have found on board the ship a young
and pleasant ladyso young, and so far, far
from homewhom we should have
surrounded instantly. For we should have loved
the face of that good Josephine. She had
been exiled to a place thousands of versts
nearer to the genial south, and travelled for
some days over the frontier of Siberia with
the elder lady, Eve Felinska, who had been
parted from her husband and her children,
and a very happy home, to be sent all alone
to exile in the far north of the vast waste
of Siberia, to Berezov. That is the chief
town of a large province bordering even on
the Arctic Sea. Josephine pitied the stranger.
Like a noble-hearted girl, she begged leave to
abandon her own milder lot, and brave the
unknown terrors of the rugged north, that she
might share the banishment of the poor
solitary matron, and become a friend to her that
had no helper.  Joy and glad Christmases to
Josephine!  Who better deserves a loving
husband and a happy home?  Were our
mothers made to travel thousands of miles
out into the cold for saying what they think
of kings and princes, how could we love
sufficiently any warm-hearted Josephine, who
came to them, and helped to make their
sorrows light!

There was the Cossack who conducted the
two ladies to their destination, rough as a
bear, but good-natured. These two exiles,
Eve and Josephine, knew nobody who lived
in Berezov except this Cossack, but they had
put down the name of a man who had
provided for a former exile comfortable lodging.
The steward went to fetch the cannon, as the
ship came abreast of Berezov; the town must
be saluted with a salvo from the thunder-bearer.
The production of the cannon caused
a great deal of excitement, though it was no
bigger than a rat. It made so great a boom,
however, that the matron moralized and said,
"Ah, well!  it does not require to be great to
make much noise in the world."

Berezov, from the river, did not look cheerful.
Except of course on the side facing the
river, it was on all sides hemmed in by
interminable cedar forests. There were two brick
Russo-Greek churches. There was a conspicuous
yellow house standing upon a hill; the
other houses were, and of course are stillfor
we speak of things occurring in our own days,
and of people who still livethe other houses
were all small and wooden, two stories high,
dingy, and blackened by rain. Alas for the
poor ladies, far away from home!

The Horodnitchee, the chief functionary of
the town, sent by the Cossack who had gone
ashore, came alongside in a boat to fetch the
ladies. He was full of kindness and apology
for having kept them waiting; evidently a
good fellow. There was a crowd of people
gaily dressed upon the quay, through whom
the ladies passed to be conducted to the
Cossack's house, their temporary lodging. Tea
in Siberia is an universal drink, not very
good. It is brick tea, of which the Chinese
make large quantities for barter on the
Tartar frontier. Tea was set before the
exiles, but as it was Lent, no milk or cream
was in the house, and poor Eve could not
bear tea without milk. There was nothing
to eat. Berezov contains no market, no
butchers' or bakers' shops.  No supper was
possible, except sour ducks. The ladies
ordered them, and when they were served up,
found for the first, but not the last time, that
"sour " in Siberia means putrid. The genuine
Siberian does not object to putrid meat. The
ladies went, therefore, supperless to bed, but
being in bed they could not sleep. It had
been dark enough in the close little cabin on
the Soswa, but ashore, in the many-windowed
bed-room, they felt the strangeness of a night
that was not only as light as day, but that
was really made up of daylight. So it is at
the approach of summer in those very northern

In the morning, when the two ladies got
up, they found the tea-urnSiberians are quite
Etruscan in their use of urnsupon the
breakfast table, with hot water and milk
beside it. But their tea and sugar were on
board the vessel, and they had nothing to eat,
so they waited till the landlord's daughter

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