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Next in importance to the furriers are the
jewellers. Now I comprehend why the
profession of a diamond-merchant is so
important in Leipsic and Amsterdam, and where
the chief market for diamonds is to
be found. Every jeweller's window has
an Alnaschar's basket of almost priceless
gems displayed in it. Rings, bracelets,
necklaces, carcans, vivières, earrings, stomachers,
bouquets, fan-mounts, brooches, solitaires,—
all blazing with diamonds so large that the
stock of Howell and James, or Hunt and
Roskell, would look but as pedlars' packs of
penny trinkets beside them. No money in
Russia! Put that figment out of your head
as soon as ever you can: there is enough
wealth in these Nevskoï shop-windows to
carry on a big war for half-a-dozen years
longer. They are not outwardly splendid
though, these jewellers. No plate-glass; no
Corinthian columns; no gas-jets with
brilliant reflectors. There is an oriental dinginess
and mystery about the exterior of the
shops. The houses themselves in which the
shops are situated have a private look, like
the banker's, or the doctor's, or the lawyer's,
in an English country town magnified a
thousand-fold; and the radiant stock is
displayed in something like a gigantic parlour
window, up a steep flight of steps. There is
a miserable moujik, in a crassy sheepskin,
staring in at the diamonds, munching a
cucumber meanwhile. This man-chattel is a
slave, condemned to hopeless bondage,
robbed, despised, kicked, beaten like a dog;
and he gazes at Prince Legreeskoff's jewels
with a calmly critical air. What right?—
but, be quiet; if I come to right, what right
have I to come to Muscovy grievance-hunting,
when I have left a thousand grievances at
home, crying to Heaven for redress!

The tailors, whose name is that of ten
legions, and who are very nearly all French
and Germans, have no shops. They have
magnificent suites of apartments on Nevskoï
first-floors; and their charge for making a
frock-coat is about eight guineas sterling,
English. You understand now what sort of
tailors they are. They are too proud, too
high and mighty, to content themselves with
the simple sartorial appellation, and have
improved even upon our home-snobbery in
that line: calling themselves not only
Merchant Tailors, but Kleider meisters (Clothes
masters); Undertakers for Military Habiliments
(Entrepreneurs d'habillemens militaires);
Confectioners of Seignorial Costume,
and the like high–sounding titles. You are
to remember that St. Petersburg is
permanently garrisoned by the Imperial Guard,
which is something like one hundred and
fifteen thousand strong; that the epauletted
mob of officers (whose pay is scarcely
sufficient to defray the expenses of their boot-
varnish) are, with very few exceptions, men
of large fortune, and that the government
does not find them in so much as a button
towards their equipment. And as the uniforms
are gorgeous in the extreme, and very
easily spoilt, the Undertaker of Military
Habiliments makes rather a good thing
of it than otherwise in the capital of the

Bootmakers aboundGermans, almost to
a manwhose shops are grim fortalices of
places, with stern jack-boots frowning at you
through the windows. And shops and
palaces, palaces and shops, succeed each
other for mile after mile, till I am fairly
worn out with magnificence, and, going home
to bed, determine to take the Nevskoï-
mixture as before, to-morrow.



I WALKED direct into the parlour, and was
somewhat surprised to find it occupied by a
stranger. He was seated in my easy-chair,
with his feet comfortably cased in my slippers,
my pet meerschaum in his mouth, and a glass
of brandy and water at his elbow. He rose
hurriedly as I entered the room, and seemed
to clutch at something inside his vest. I
bowed, thinking for the moment that he was
some stranger who had called on matters of
business. He was a tall, well-built, resolute-
looking man, with a thick black moustache,
and a head of curling black hair. He had on
a voluminous overall, so that but little of his
under-dress could be seen.

"Mr. Ralph Wrangford, I presume?" he
said, inquiringly.

"The same, sir," I replied. "May I ask
whom I have the pleasure of addressing?"

"Your father, Ralphyour father!" he
replied softly. "O! my son, come to my
heart!" he added, seeing my stare of astonishment,
"and let me clasp you in my embrace."

He approached me with outspread arms.
I saw, I understood nothing but that my
father was before me, and sprang to his
bosom with a cry of joy that ended in a burst
of rapturous swift-flowing tears.

"O, Ralph! Ralph!" whispered a tremulous
voice in my ear, "through how many
long years of toil and trouble have I looked
forward to this happy meeting, scarcely
daring to hope that my eyes would ever
behold you? This moment repays me for
everything. Bless you! bless you, my son!
your father is happy once more."

I looked up into his face with a joyful
smile, but started back in surprise when I
saw the sneering devil that sat on his lips,
and mocked me out of his eyes. Could it be
the same man whose voice had seemed
tremulous with emotion but a moment before! A
low derisive laugh at my discomfiture
dispelled all doubt on the point.

"Come," said he, "now that we have done
the paternal, let's to business. And, first,
away with this cursed disguise!"

So speaking, he deliberately divested

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