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manufactory belonging to some Russian seigneur.
He has been established by common consent
chief wag and joke-master in ordinary to the
Prussian Eagle. I hear shouts of laughter
from where he holds his merry court long
after I am snug in my berth; and the steward
retails his latest witticisms to us at dinner,
hot and hot, between the courses. He lives
at free quarters, for his jests' sakes, in the
way of wines, spirits, and cigars; and I don't
think the steward can have the heart to take
any money of him for fees or extras at the
voyage's end. "Qu'il est gai!" says the French
actress, admiringly. As a wag he must, of
course, have a butt: and he has fixed on a
little, snuffy, old Frenchwoman, with a red
cotton pocket-handkerchief tied round her
head, who, with a large basket, a larger
umbrella, and no other perceptible luggage,
started up suddenly at Stettin. She has got
a passport with Count Orloff's own signature
appended to it, and does not seem to mind
the Russians a bit. Who can she be? The
Czar's fostermother, perhaps. The funny
Frenchman (who never saw her before in his
life) now calls her "maman," now assumes to
be madly in love with her, to the infinite
merriment of the other passengers; but she
repulses his advances with the utmost good
humour, and evidently considers him to be a
wag of the first water. Many of this good
fellow's jokes are of a slightly practical
nature, and would, in phlegmatic English
society, probably lead to his being kicked by
somebody; but to me they are all amply
redeemed by his imperturbable good humour,
and his frank, hearty laughter. Besides, he
won my heart in the very commencement by
making a face behind Miss Wapps's back so
supernaturally comic, so irresistibly ludicrous,
that Grimaldi, had he known him, would
have been jaundiced with envy. The great
Captain Steffens favours this jovial blade, and
unbends to him, they say, more than he has
ever been known to do to mortal second-cabin

The ill-boding Captain Smith came to my
berth last night, with a rattlesnake-like smile,
to tell me we were off Hango Head (a fit
place for such a raven to herald), and to
refresh my memory about the ice; and here,
sure enough, this Tuesday morning, we are
in the very thick of floating masses of the
frozen sea! Green, transparent, and assuming
every kind of weird and fantastic shapes,
they hem the Preussischer Adler round,
cracking and groaning "like noises in a
swound," as the Ancient Mariner heard
them. Warm and balmy as the May air
was yesternight, it is now piercing cold;
and I walk the deck a very moving bale of
furs, which the courteous Russian has insisted
on lending me. We are obliged to move with
extreme caution and slowness, stopping
altogether from time to time; but the ice
gradually lessens, gradually disappears; the
shores of the Gulf keep gradually becoming
more distinct; and, on the Russian side, I
can see white houses and the posts of the

About noon on Tuesday, the twentieth of
May, turning at the gangway to walk towards
the steamer's head, I see a sight that does
my eyes good. I have the advantage of
being extremely short-sighted, and a view
does not grow, but starts upon me. And
now, all fresh and blue, and white, and
sparkling and dancing in the sunlight I see a
scene that MR. STANFIELD might painta
grove of masts, domes and steeples, and
factory chimneys; a myriad of trim yachts
and smaller craft, and, dotting the bright blue
water like the Seven Castles of the Devil,
with tier above tier of embrasures bristling
with cannon, the granite forts of the
impregnable Cronstadt. There is a big guardship
behind us, and forts and guns on every
side, and I feel that I am in for it.

"Lads, sharpen your cutlasses," was the
signal of the Admiral who didn't breakfast
in Cronstadt and dine in St. Petersburg. Let
me put a fresh nib to my goosequill, and see
what I can do, in my humble way, to make
some little impression on those granite walls.


The Court Circular in general is dreary
reading; exceptions, however, are possible.
For instance, the daily doings, dressings, and
dinings of Pharaoh, Semiramis, Alexander, or
Charlemagne, would now be full of interest.
Another state and its sovereign have just
passed away into the distant realms of
ancient history; but before it is utterly
vanished into vapour and shrouded from
view behind the veil of the past, we will
make use of one of the Messrs. Routledge's
publications, The Private Life of an
Eastern King, to show what a Court
Circular would and must have been, if given by
the journals of the kingdom Oude,—(which
pronounces as if it rhymed with "proud.")

It is as well to premise that Lucknow
itself is an eccentric city. It is impossible to
tell where it begins and where it ends.
There are no walls to mark its limits, and as
you approach, it is always seen commencing
and leaving off again, and what promises to
be the city itself is always turning out to be
an undecided suburb. Then there are palaces,
where nothing is palatial, and an army which
can do most things except fight; there are
books of royalty, which their owner cannot
read, and courtiers of royalty whom their
master cannot control. But foremost amongst
Oriental show-things is always a tomb. That
of the un-present king's grandfather resembles
a bazaarthat is to say, an English bazaar;
and so obviously do the numberless objects
thus incongruously thrown together in honour
of the deceased monarch seem intended for
sale, that the royal umbrella is exposed to
insult, by the temptation to ask the price of

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