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