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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,
aide-de-camp general for the day, the general commanding the military household, etc. So many militaries»! Certainly a thousand. swords could have leaped from their scabbards at a word. The imperial standard (each czar has a new one) was displayed on the steps of the platform, with its motto, in Slavonic letters, «God with us.»
The service began with the Emperor's confession of faith, which was so like our own that I could follow it easily. The metropolitan came forward to hear him make it, and responded at the end, «May the grace of the Holy Ghost abide with thee.» I understood comparatively little of the rest; but they say that the prayers are wonderfully beautiful.1 From the first moment to the last the Emperor was the central figure. If one looked away, it was only to see how every one was watching him. His voice certainly trembled when he began to read, but it gained confidence as he went on, and he looked (as he always does, to my mind, with or without a crown) every inch an emperor. Throughout the whole service he bore himself with great dignity, and in a manner worthy of such an occasion. After the creed and the reading of the epistle and the gospel, he ordered the imperial mantle to be brought, which was clasped round his neck with the collar of St. Andrew, lifted the magnificent crown from the cushion on which it was presented, and receiving the benediction from the metropolitan, «in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,» placed it on his head, and holding the scepter in his right hand and the globe in his left, seated himself upon his throne, looking a very noble presentment of a czar of all the Russias. The Empress seemed to have caught something of his air, for that day a certain stateliness was added to all her charm. She was very pale, but I thought that I had never seen her look more sympathetic. She now left her place, and went to kneel before her husband on a cushion which had been placed for her at his feet by Prince Waldemar. The Czar lifted his own crown from his head, and placed it an instant on hers before replacing it. Then, taking her crown from its bearer, he held it in place while the four dames d'honneur fastened it securely to her head. These
1 I was given, in Russia, an account of a previous coronation, which I have had translated. It is to be supposed that the form does not vary; so I have put in one of the prayers from this account further on.
2 «Sweet to a Russian heart,» my chronicler says, <<this picture of an immense state occupying the ninth part of the world!»
were Countess Adlerberg, Princess Viasemski, Princess Kotchoubey, and one I did not know -the oldest in rank in Russia, I believe; and they also helped to fasten the imperial mantle of cloth-of-gold and ermine, of great weight. As the Czarina returned to her place, she turned a face full of emotion to her husband and held out her hand, and he taking it and stooping down, they kissed each other. His Majesty now received the scepter and globe again, and Emperor and Empress stood crowned before their thrones and wearing the imperial mantles, while the priests proclaimed the titles of the autocrat of all the Russias at full length; and the beautiful chants that followed were drowned in a clanging of bells and a noise that seemed loud enough to announce the coronation to the whole of Russia. During the singing the imperial family left their places to come and congratulate the Emperor and Empress, the little Czarevitch first. There was much embracing and plenty of tears.
It was after this that, as the noise of the bells and cannon died away, the Emperor took the book from the metropolitan and knelt to pray, reading the prescribed words, he alone kneeling, while priests and congregation stood. This was the prayer:
O Lord God of our fathers, and supreme Ruler of sovereigns, who hast created everything by Thy word, and in Thy wisdom hast set up man righteousness; Thou hast chosen me as Czar and that he may govern the world in holiness and judge of Thy people. I confess Thy inscrutable providence with regard to me; and, in giving thanks, bow down before Thy majesty. And Thou, my Lord and God, instruct me in the work for which Thou hast sent me; enlighten my path and direct me in this great ministry; let the wisdom of Thy throne abide with me, send it down from Thy holy heavens, that I may know what is pleasing in Thy eyes, and what is in accordance with Thy commandments. Let my heart be in Thy hand, that I may order everything to the advantage of the people intrusted to me and to Thy glory, so that even in the day of judgment I may without condemnation render my account to Thee: by the mercy and bounty of Thy only-begotten Son, with whom, and with Thy holy and good and life-giving Spirit, Thou art blessed unto the ages. Amen.
knelt down, and then followed the prayer of As the Emperor rose from his knees we all priests and congregation for him, led by the metropolitan, the Emperor alone standing in the crowded church. As I have said before, this was the most impressive moment of all.
The choirs now sang again-that beautiful, unaccompanied singing of the Greek Church,