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hoar-frost, is very fine; but the interior has been spoiled by rich, gaudy decorations, which might supply admirable illustrations for a sermon on pretentious vulgarity and bad taste. A much less successful architectural effort is the Kazan Church, which is often praised by Russians as the work of a native artist, but which is in reality a striking illustration of that spirit of thoughtless imitation which is too often to be found in Russian institutions. The gigantic, semicircular colonnade, suggested by that of St. Peter's at Rome, is so utterly out of proportion with the rest of the structure, that it completely hides the body of the church, while the dome peeps over the formidable barrier like a culprit condemned to imprisonment for life and apathetically resigned to his fate. Then there is the Winter Palace, which finds favour in the eyes of those who believe in the transcendent genius of Rastrelli, but which is completely wanting in the stern, massive grandeur which the name suggests. Some of the minor palaces are much more in keeping with the nature of the climate, but they present nothing that can be called a Russian style of architecture.* There is a Russian style, but it is suitable only for wooden buildings. In their stone buildings the Russians have, like the other Northern nations, borrowed largely from the countries of Southern Europe without considering the difference of climate. What the Petersburgians may be justly proud of is the general grandiose appearance of their city, and not the beauty of particular edifices.

The principal buildings of St. Petersburg have been described by Mr. Fergusson in his great work on the "History of Architecture."

Of statues and other monuments there is a goodly quantity, displaying all degrees of merit, from the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, which is really a work of art, to the statues and busts in the Summer Garden, which are simply artistic monstrosities. Pictures, too, there are in abundance. The Hermitage, for instance, contains a really magnificent collection of the Dutch school, and a large number of works attributed to Italian and Spanish old masters-all more or less genuine. But I need not trespass on the domain of the art critic, nor need I weary the reader with descriptions of what has already been described in the guide-books. In St. Petersburg, as elsewhere, sight-seeing is a weariness of the flesh; and the tourist may employ his time much more agreeably in sauntering about the streets and bazaars, especially if it be in winter time, when St. Petersburg wears its national costume.

There is, however, one "sight" which must have a deep interest for those who are sensitive to the influence of historical associations-I mean the little wooden house in which Peter the Great lived whilst his future capital was being built. In its style and arrangement it looks more like the hut of a navvy than the residence of a Tsar, but it was quite in keeping with the character of the illustrious man who occupied it. Peter could and did occasionally work like a navvy without feeling that his Imperial dignity was thereby diminished. When he determined to build a new capital on a Finnish marsh, inhabited chiefly by wildfowl, he did not content himself with exercising his autocratic power in a comfortable

arm-chair. Like the old Greek gods, he went down from his Olympus, and took his place in the ranks of ordinary mortals, superintending the work with his own eyes, and taking part in it with his own hands. If he was as arbitrary and oppressive as any of the pyramid-building Pharaohs, he could at least say in self-justification that he did not spare himself any more than his people, but exposed himself freely to the discomforts and dangers under which thousands of his fellow-labourers succumbed.

In reading the account of Peter's life, written in part by his own pen, we can easily understand how the piously Conservative section of his subjects failed to recognise in him the legitimate successor of the orthodox Tsars. The old Tsars had been men of grave, pompous demeanour, and deeply imbued with the consciousness of their semireligious dignity. Living habitually in Moscow or its immediate neighbourhood, they spent their time in attending long religious services, in consulting with their Boyars, in being present at ceremonious hunting-parties, in visiting the monasteries, and in holding edifying conversations with ecclesiastical dignitaries or revered ascetics. If they undertook a journey, it was probably to make a pilgrimage to some holy shrine; and, whether in Moscow or elsewhere, they were always protected from contact with ordinary humanity by a formidable barricade of court ceremonial. In short, they combined the characters of a Christian monk and of an Oriental potentate.

Peter was a man of an entirely different stamp, and played in the calm, dignified, orthodox, ceremonial world of Moscow the part of the bull in the china

shop, outraging ruthlessly and wantonly all the timehonoured traditional conceptions of propriety and etiquette. Utterly regardless of public opinion and popular prejudices, he swept away the old formalities, avoided ceremonies of all kinds, scoffed at ancient usage, preferred foreign secular books to edifying conversations, chose profane heretics as his boon companions, travelled in foreign countries, dressed in heretical costume, defaced the image of God and put his soul in jeopardy by shaving off his beard, compelled his nobles to dress and shave like himself, rushed about the Empire as if goaded on by the demon of unrest, employed his sacred hands in carpentering and other menial occupations, took part openly in the uproarious orgies of his foreign soldiery, and, in short, did everything that "the Lord's anointed" might reasonably be expected not to do. No wonder the Moscovites were scandalised by his conduct, and that some of them suspected he was not the Tsar at all, but Antichrist in disguise. And no wonder he felt the atmosphere of Moscow oppressive, and preferred living in the new capital which he had himself created.

His avowed object in building St. Petersburg was to have "a window by which the Russians might look into civilised Europe;" and well has the city fulfilled its purpose. From its foundation may be dated the European period of Russian history. Before Peter's time Russia belonged to Asia rather than to Europe, and was doubtless regarded by Englishmen and Frenchmen pretty much as we nowadays regard Bokhara or Kashgar; since that

time she has formed an integral part of the European political system, and her intellectual history has been but a reflection of the intellectual history of Western Europe, modified and coloured by national character and by peculiar local conditions.

When we speak of the intellectual history of a nation we generally mean in reality the intellectual history of the upper classes. With regard to Russia, more perhaps than with regard to any other country, this distinction must always carefully be borne in mind. Peter succeeded in forcing European civilisation on the nobles, but the people remained unaffected. Thus the nation was, as it were, cleft in two, and with each succeeding generation the cleft has widened. Whilst the masses clung obstinately to their time-honoured customs and beliefs, the nobles came to look on the objects of popular veneration as the relics of a barbarous past, of which a civilised nation ought to be ashamed.

The intellectual movement inaugurated by Peter had a purely practical character. He was himself a thorough utilitarian, and perceived clearly that what his people needed was not theological or philosophical enlightenment, but plain practical knowledge suitable for the requirements of everyday life. He wanted neither theologians nor philosophers, but military and naval officers, administrators, artisans, miners, manufacturers, and merchants, and for this purpose he introduced secular technical education. For the young generation primary schools were founded, and for more advanced pupils the best foreign works on fortification, architecture, naviga

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