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brilliant troops, the gleaming helmets and strangely out of keeping with his ancient glittering lances, the white and red and silver herald's dress of yellow embroidered silk; and gold of uniforms, the less bright, but and finally in «listening) to the reading strikingly original Cossack dresses, the Asi- of the great proclamation, which means to atics in their splendid Eastern stuffs, each a say that we suppose that it was read, for the new rainbow in itself, was now the somber, people took off their hats, the troops saluted, workaday crowd in long dark coats and dingy the bands of the Chevaliers Gardes and the caps, the women scarcely distinguishable Garde à Cheval played the national anthem; from the men, except that a white silk hand- but we heard nothing at all. All this was kerchief round a head here and there, in so comical that I was not impressed as I honor of the great festival, brightened the had expected to be. The rain began to come crooked-looking dark mass below. It was a down faster than ever as the military » went curious contrast-the birds with the fine past us on the noisy stones (it was great fun feathers and the birds without them. Dress to say, « How do you do?» to the heralds certainly makes the man, in a procession at from under an umbrella), so we gave up our least.
idea of following the cortège to the first of A very interesting day, and if one was at all its halting-places, and came home to breakdisappointed in the splendid sight, it could fast instead, like reasonable people. The have been only because a certain dread, in- proclamation is read all over the town, and separable from such events in Russia at this leaflets of it in Slavonic characters are disjuncture, made one forgetful of half its gor- tributed among the people, which would be geousness.
more interesting if they could read them! Saturday, May 26 (14). We all mean to go to bed very early for our This morning I got up at 7:30. For two days start to-morrow morning. At a quarter to six there had been solemn proclamation of the we must get up and dress, and put on our coronation to the people with much ceremony, trains and veils and feathers (the men say it's and I had seen nothing of it. Mr. B— dined very uncomfortable to breakfast in uniform); here last night, and fired me with enthusiasm. and Mrs. T—- must even leave her downy As he said, and as I think, the things to see bed at five o'clock to prepare for the hairare those that particularly belong to the dresser! I don't expect to sleep much. The coronation. As for balls, gala theaters, etc., coronation, the Emperor, and the state of the one can see them at any time. So at 8:30 I country in general, have already cost me restfound my fellow sight-seers sipping their tea. less nights in Petersburg. And here I am in It was already raining; but my opinion being Moscow, in the very heart of Russia, stirred taken, we decided to go, nevertheless, taking just now to its depths! the chasseur with us, that his feathers might We saw a beautiful stretch of this pictuget us a good place. They had all the desired resque town yesterday from the terrace of the effect; for, arrived at the Kremlin, our car- Kremlin, the river below running between its riage was allowed to stand close to the « Czar white quays, and beyond lines and lines of Pushka,) inside the square formed by the green-roofed houses, broken continually by troops and the crowd between the arsenal and the darker clumps of trees in some charming the barracks. We were opposite a squadron Moscow garden, or by the shining cupolas and of the Chevaliers Gardes and their band. Six spires of the famous Moscow churches. And white horses, with splendid coverings of gold, yet, with its charm of an existence of cenon which the imperial eagles were embroi- turies, Moscow seems to me to possess very dered, stood close to our left, held by grooms, little of the quiet of age. In the churches, for and beyond them were the horses for the instance, some of the art is so barbaric as to heralds and masters of ceremonies, who carry one straight back to dark days. It is presently began to mount.
impossible to escape from historical associaThe heralds were two good people I know tions of ignorance and cruelty, as one might very well by sight: one very tall and lanky, in some Western town; and I begin to think the other short and stout (so far as I can that it is because the Russians themselves are judge, a facsimile of King Henry the Eighth). not entirely removed from the superstition And, alas! there was something ridiculous and despotism of that time. The contrast is in these gentlemen being helped on to their less, the association easier to call up, till horses (evidently very stiff from the unusual every bit of the Moscow of to-day is striking exercise), the rain making dirty splashes on by what it suggests. Even from the beautiful their beautiful white trousers; in the lanky Kremlin terrace one sees the rush of wild herald peering over spectacles that looked Tatars up the slopes; the quiet summer day
is full of noise; and where one's foot now strangled him with the ends of my veil. One presses the soft green grass the ground is inquisitive lady asked where we got them, red with blood.
and when we said London, answered, «Really! » Sunday, June 3 (May 22). in a tone that implied so clearly, «Can a good I HAVE been too much occupied and too tired dress be got in London? » that we all laughed. till now for writing. But I think that to have Our baby procession of four carriages seen the Russian coronation was worth a joined the diplomatic line just as it was great deal of fatigue, to judge by myself. I forming. The special ambassadors' state stood during the five hours of the service coaches were very gorgeous, but I am happy (with only some instants' exception now and to say that the every-day British ambassador's then), so impressed and so interested that I was the best turned out of all. The whole line did not realize till it was all over and we were was very pretty as I saw it going round the at home again how tired I was. The long- street corners and through the masses of est relief from this position was when all people into the Kremlin gates. knelt to pray for the Emperor, he alone stand- At the palace we were received by several ing in the midst of the kneeling priests and masters of ceremony, and General Schweinitz congregation; and perhaps this was the most gave my mother his arm to take her to the solemn moment of all. The doors of the cathe- cathedral, the rest of the diplomats following dral were open, and the crowds outside knelt in a long procession. I confess that I felt extoo. The signal spread from street to street, cited. We walked through the Winter Garden across the river, and far into the outskirts of and the long passages of the palace, through the town; so that the whole of Moscow, it may a hall and vestibule lined with Chevaliers be said, was in prayer for the Czar. In the Gardes, and out upon the famous Red Stair, church the scene was very moving. The Em- leading down by the wall of the Granovitaya peror himself was visibly affected, and it is Palata to the group of the Kremlin churches. no shame to confess that one followed the «Let us stop to look at this,” said General general example. There are hopes and fears Schweinitz; it is wonderful.” in Russia just now that invest this coronation Just as we got into the open air the sun with a gravity and a significance beyond those was hidden by a cloud, so that we could disof any preceding one, I am sure. Alas for the tinctly see the beautiful sight before us. The hopes! If Alexander III. has been crowned broad stair on which we stood commanded the with all ancient traditions of splendor, he vast inclosure that is bounded by the tower of seems to have been confirmed as much as the the big bell (Ivan Velikii) and the wonderful czars before him «autocrat of all the Russias.) churches on each side of it. Big tribunes The manifestos of Monday appear to have had been built close up to the church walls, cast a chill on popular enthusiasm, whatever and in their red-and-gold galleries all sorts of that was. They are certainly not liberal; and notabilities and their wives had already been a too zealous mayor, having given the people waiting an hour or more. hopes of a “good time coming,» is already What may be roughly called the square had under severe displeasure.
been separated into four divisions by a royal Apart from all this, however (if one can pathway in the shape of a cross, and in these forget the reverse of the medal), the cere- divisions were massed the crowd, who pressed mony of the coronation was one of great up close to the barriers, and tried to peer splendor and magnificence. I have read all between the rows of soldiers who lined the the accounts of it that I could get, and none balustrades on the «king's highway.) The exaggerate it, nor even do it justice. scene was striking-the line of the bright
We were asked to be at the German em- crimson flooring, throwing up through the bassy, where the diplomatic corps were to dark crowd the brilliance of the guards in assemble, at a quarter to eight, but started their white uniforms, all new and spotless for later with easy consciences - Russian roy- the « holy coronation »; the sea of faces bealty is always unpunctual. Mrs. T— and I fore us; the crowded tribunes beyond, raised packed our gorgeousness into the brougham, against the gray church walls; and lastly, the and agreed that we felt nothing strange in churches themselves, and the tall tower of being in such a costume at such an hour. I Ivan Velikii, holding up their cupolas and should have remembered my court dress no shining crosses to a deep blue sky over more, but that it and F- 's were so much which broad white clouds were sweeping. admired, and that the talkative little French But the people were, as usual, the most inambassador sang their praises till the service teresting thing. There was an expectancy actually began, and till I could willingly have about them that one could n't help sharing,
and I really felt for a little as if I were a the thrones, at the back of the church, was Russian.
full of men; and a line of black-coated newsOnce in the Cathedral of the Assumption, paper correspondents was visible among the F— and I congratulated ourselves that we uniforms--a little nineteenth-century addishould see most of the service, though we tion to the pageant. should miss the anointing before the holy We had not been waiting long when there doors and the approach of the Emperor to the was a certain stir, and the place reserved for altar to communicate. The screen, of enor- royalties began to fill quickly. The Czarevitch mous height in this church, rose directly to and the little Grand Duchess Xenia were quite our left, and one of the four huge pillars in in front, of course, and the Duke of Edinthe body of the church shut out its doors burgh had a very prominent place. His Royal from our sight. Otherwise the diplomatic Highness, who looked remarkably well and tribune was so high as to command the very animated, was wearing the collar of the Garplace of the coronation, which was to be on ter, fastened with the regulation white knots a platform raised between the four big pillars, on each shoulder; and this seemed to interest from which we were separated by only a nar- my little French neighbor more than anyrow passage. Round this passage masters thing else in the coronation, except the Emof ceremony were hurrying, showing people press's difficulty in holding up her imperial to their seats (that is not a word for
a Greek mantle. The scene was already very beautiful, church, by the way, where everybody must and I think that the comparative smallness of stand). The thrones were immediately to our the chapel-for it is scarcely more-rather right, rather to the back of the platform, and added to than detracted from it. Certainly under a baldachin, or canopy, of gorgeous there is a barbarity of taste in the cathedral, in stuff, adorned with tufts of yellow and white some of its huge, uncouth figures in gilded feathers. I must have had exaggerated ideas plaster and evident tinsel, side by side with of thrones: these looked like two very swell much real splendor (to say nothing of the chairs. They stood on a dais of red; the representation of God the Father, which may whole erection in the middle had been covered constantly be seen in the Greek churches, and with red cloth; a gold balustrade ran round which shocks otherwise than by the eye alone); it, and gold balustrades marked the divisions but the general effect is one of great origifor the members of the imperial house, for nality and picturesqueness. the foreign princes, the council of the empire, The Chevaliers Gardes already stood with etc. In the tribune corresponding to ours, drawn swords on the steps that led to the on the opposite side of the platform, were throne; the twelve bishops, a splendid group the dames d'honneur à portrait, dames d'hon- in their «clothing of wrought gold,» had neur without it, and various « ladies of high moved to the doors to meet the Emperor; and degree, among others Skobeleff's sister, rows of priests were swinging their smoking Mme. de Beauharnais, one blaze of jewels, censers before the screen. And when, amid and Mme. Shérémétiev, née Strogonov, look- ringing of bells and chanting of priests and ing quite splendid in the Russian court cos- choir, preceded by the imperial insignia tume, which I saw for the first time. Its carried on cushions, the Emperor and the
I chief distinctions seem to be the long flowing Empress entered the cathedral and placed sleeves, and the kakoshnick, or head-dress. themselves in front of the thrones, one wonThis is more or less an inverted crescent in dered if anywhere else so much magnificence shape, and distinctly suits or does not suit and so much interest could be centered in its wearer. The maids of honor have it in so small a space. The Emperor and Empress scarlet velvet to match the velvet of their stood while the crowns, the seal and sword, embroidered trains, with long veils of tulle and scepter and globe, were arranged on a depending from it behind over their shoul- table made ready for them. On his Majesty's ders. With married ladies this tulle was re- left were his supporters, the Grand Dukes placed by lace, I think, and their kakoshnicks Vladimir and Alexis; on the Empress's right, were a mass of jewels; old Princess K — her brother, the Prince of Denmark, and looked like a witch under her green velvet the Grand Duke Sergius. Colonel Shipoff, and pearls. Some of them, besides, wore from as colonel of the Chevaliers Gardes, stood their kakoshnicks, close down to their eye- just behind, between the thrones, immovbrows, a sort of net or lace, from which able, sword and helmet in hand; and toward pearls or other stones hung on their fore- the front were grouped various high digheads; this is a matter of fancy merely, and nitaries who carried the ends of the imperial not de rigueur, I was told. The tribune behind mantles, such as the minister of war, the