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John Edward had been left out again, and
every turn of the wheels took her farther
from the possibility of making up to him
for it.

It was quite dark when the spring- wagon

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drove up to Mary John's home again.
Aunt Kate was going to stay all nighty
and Mary John's wish on the &TSt star that
she might be allowed to share the *^ spare
room " with her had been granted.

Mary John went to bed alone. A plot
had formed itself in her mind on the way
home, and she was glad to be in the spare
room, where Ellen and sister Malinda could
not interfere. She lay wide-eyed in the
dark till their talking in the next room
ceased. She could hear the voices of the
grown people down-stairs ; but they were
in the parlor, and the back stairs opened
into the kitchen. She crept out of bed and
stole down the stairs. The moon made
black bars on the kitchen floor through the
slats of the shutters, and she carefully
avoided stepping on them. The kitchen
door was fastened, and a chair-back set
under the knob, but she knew how to open
it without making a noise.

Out in the garden she gathered roses,
sweet peas, portulaca, and bleeding-hearts
till her hands could carry no more. Then
she opened the gate and trotted off, bare-
footed, across the pasture lot to John Ed-
ward. The headstones in the family lot
were white and ghost-like in the moon-

light, and the trees strewed the grass widi
m3rsterious shadows, but the intensity of
her purpose made her forget her usual

She knelt beside John Edward's grave,
and with one forefinger burrowed little
holes in the sod to hold the nosegays of
short-stemmed flowers. They made a brave
show in the moonlight above the sleeping
lad who had been left out of so many
things. When she had disposed the flowers
to her liking she scrambled to her feet.
The decorations still lacked something.
She took a small flag from Uncle Silas's

" I know you would n't want John Ed-
ward not to have any at all," she whis-
pered. " You won't miss this one. You've
got the big flag, and I 've left you two
little ones. There, now, John Edward;
you 're all fixed."

A moment later the moon looked down
on John Edward, alone with his tardy
honors, and on Mary John, scudding home-
ward across the pasture lot. Courage had
deserted her when her task was finished,
and terror lent wings to her feet ; but she
was content. John Edward had not been
left out.



Formerly Second Secretary of the American Embassy at St. Petenburgf

jERY few foreigners, except
those in official positions,
are presented at the court
of Russia. Americans, am-
bitious for invitations to
court festivities in Eng-
land, Germany, or Italy, have at least a
chance of gratification if they are socially
prominent, very rich, or very clever. At
St. Petersburg, on the contrary, it is very
seldom that any foreigners, except diplo-
mats, are seen among the guests at the few
brilliant entertainments given annually at
the Winter Palace.

Of course no one is invited to a court
ball without being first presented to the

Emperor or Empress, and such presenta-
tions, in the case of foreigners, are made
only on rare occasions, upon the Emperor's
own initiative, or, very occasionally, at the
request of an ambassador or minister. The
presentations are sometimes made at the
balls themselves, before the dancing begins.
There have been instances in recent years
where all foreigners were excluded on the
ground that the presentations to their
Majesties would consume too much time,
and it is safe to say that annually not more
than six or eight eirangers de disHnction
have the honor of attending any of the
functions at the Winter Palace. If the lines
are closely drawn in regard to foreigners.

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they are fully as severe to the kussians was grafted on the Russian people in vir-

themselves. A full list of those who have tually its present form by Peter the Great

the right to attend an ambassador's offidal By tchin is meant rank in the public ser-

reception or a court ball in St. Petersburg vice ; and as it was Peter's theory that every

would involve a thorough examination one should in some form serve the state,

into the origin and nature of the Russian the ambition of nearly every Russian was,

hierarchy and even the whole political sys- and is, to rise as high in the table of ranks

tem. This can only be touched upon here ; as possible. This table of ranks, originally

indeed, it is so complicated that none but a consisting of sixteen, is now composed of

Russian bom and bred in the system can fourteen tchins, or grades ; and every title,

thoroughly understand it. civil, military, or ecclesiastic, carries with

In the first place, it may be said— and it a certain tchin. The following table

this no doubt will astonish many Americans shows the various tchins as now con-

— that, with the exception of the members stituted :

of the imperial fanuly. birth and title guar- m,i,,tary service civil service

antee absolutely nothing in regard to court ^^^ ^^ , Fi.u..n»,A.i .... Acn». privy councUor.

nghts or oincial position. The Russian fintcks^

aristocrat certainly still exists, but, as an : W % ^JSSJir^ . \ Pri^c^iST^'

institution, aristocracy has almost nothing " " 4 Major-genenU .... Actual councilor of

to do with the government of the empire. •• "5 . . Co'tUdior of sute

First, the autocracy.-that is. the Czar.- " r. *; g-JSJ^^Uoio^i : ! grilSJoJS?*^

then the bureaucracy, with so much of his " *' 8. C*pt«in of infantry . . AsMMorofthecoUege.

power as the Czar may see fit to delegate ** •• 9. sS^p^iin*"^ . . Titular councflor.

to it, are the two great divisions of the Rus- " " '*»^ Lieutenant ^"^^ of the col-

sian government. Supreme and above all is " " " Secretary of the goT-

the Emperor, the only real autocrat of the •• •' ,,. sub-iieutcnant *™"**°.* ?^ . . .

civflized world to-day; and, beneath him, ;; l! jj ^•*«^ ; ; ; Regi.ierofU.ecoiieg;
to assist him in carrying out his will, is that

vast body of office-holders, civil, military, It will be noticed that some grades are
and ecclesiastic, — ministers, senators, coun- vacant in each column; so, in fact, there
cilors, generals, lieutenants, ensigns, and are only eleven grades in the military ser-
many more lofty or humble members of vice and twelve in the civil service. The
the army of bureaucrats,— by which the peculiar titles in the civil list were arbitrary
machinery of the great empire is carried names created by Peter the Great or bor-
on. Any of these may or may not be aris- rowed by him from the German. A " coun-
tocrats, members of ancient and illustrious cilor of the court " has no official advice
families. In fact, many of the men in high at his disposition, nor do " privy councilors "
military and court positions belong to aris- or " councilors of state " have anything to
tocratic families. It is possible and very do, as such, with the government delibera-
natural that men bom to social position tions. The lowest civil rank may be ac-
and influence and the bearers of famous quired by graduation from a university,
names should be first looked to as candi- and it takes many years of public service
dates for posts of high honor under an to climb up the rungs of the ladder to the
empire. We know, however, that in recent fifth or sixth tchin, where one begins to
years many of the highest offices in the feel important.

Russian empire have been occupied by Although the tchin depends on work
men of humble origin. If we see a Witte and merit, and seems, at first glance, a
the right hand of the Emperor, and looked most praiseworthy and democratic institu-
upon with fear and jealousy by the proud tion. it is the opinion of those who have
descendants of Rurik, it is not because the made a study of Russian institutions that
latter have had no chance of filling the Uhinavnism is now a detriment to the best
posts in which we should expect to see interests of the empire. It certainly tends
them, but because, in spite of education to the discouragement of any kind of occu-
and ability, they have, through lack of pation except the public service, with the
energy, allowed the peasant and stranger result that all departments of the govern-
to outstrip them. ment are crowded with young men of
The complicated institution of the tchin splendid education and fine ability, en-

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gaged frequently in clerical dudes requir-
ing very ordinary intelligence. Naturally
but few of them can reach high positions
in the state. If manufacturing, commerce,
law, and business in general were con-
sidered as honorable as they are in Amer-
ica, Russia would not lack men of brains to
push her forward to the industrial position
to which her natural resources entitle her.
Tchin originally conferred hereditary
nobility. Under Peter the Great any one
belonging to any of the sixteen classes was
by right a noble, but the privilege was
gradually curtailed until, under Alexander

II, it was open to members of the first
four classes only, and, under Alexander

III, ennoblement by grade in the public
service was abolished entirely. It is true
that, under the present reign, men eminent
in science and the arts sometimes have
high rank conferred upon them, even
though they are not actually in the service
of the state ; but, as a rule, it is only those
in the public service who expect or receive
advancement in the table of ranks.

The nobility formerly possessed a good
many privileges and exemptions, but now
it is difficult to see that they have any,
except, as above remarked, somewhat
greater facilities for entering and advanc-
ing in the public service.

Outside the rank and position acquired
by the tchin, there are various court posi-
tions, mostly honorary, which are much
sought after. These— indeed, this is the
ca.se with all positions in the empire— are
conferred by the Emperor at his pleasure.
They are called " coiut charges," and con-
sist, first, of the grand charges, including
the grand chamberlain, the grand masters,
grand marshals, grand ^cuyers, grand
veneurs, and the grand master of ceremo-
nies—all positions of great honor; sec-
ondly, of masters, ^cuyers, and veneurs of
the court, chamberlains, gentlemen of the
bedchamber, and masters of ceremony —
titles held in great number, sometimes by
people of little social prominence, but often
by men of position who would not other-
wise be entitled to court rights. There are
few of them who ever exercise the func-
tions which the uninitiated would think
attached to their picturesque appellations.
The full-dress costumes of these gentlemen
are very expensive, the coat alone costing
about a thousand dollars ; and, as they are
worn but once or twice a year, the petit

uniform being generally used, their posses-
sion is occasionally dispensed with.

Other honorary court positions, irrespec-
tive of tchin, are "ladies of honor with
portrait" and "maids of honor of their
Majesties the Empresses." The Dowager
Empress Marie and the reigning Empress
have each attached to their persons a few
maids of honor who actually "do the
work " ; these other classes have rarely any
arduous duties to perform. The former
wear portraits of the Empress Elizabeth,
surrounded with brilliants, and the latter
the chiffre of the reigning Empress in the
same precious stones. The positions of
maids of honor to their Majesties are con-
sidered highly desirable. Besides giving
ladies the entree to the court balls for life,
it extends that privilege to their husbands
when they marry. In this way there are at
the present time princes bearing most illus-
trious names whose only right to go to
court is derived by marriage to an ancienne
(UmoisdU d*honneur.

The grand dukes and grand duchesses
have their own courts, and the ladies and
gentlemen of their households are entitled
to imperial court rights, whether they hap-
pen to be sufficiently high up in the table
of ranks or not

With the exceptions noticed and one or
two other minor ones, the much-coveted
court rights are confined to persons of the
first four tchins.

The attainment of this goal, no doubt,
involves much heart-burning, jealousy,
scheming, and other torments and pas-
sions more or less prevalent in any society ;
and exactly what it means, when attained,
may be difficult to determine. St Peters-
burg society is broken up into many cliques
and factions. Some of the most exclusive
members of what our society editors would
call its " smartest sets " are not very high up
in the way of tchin, while many function-
aries of the highest ranks have no position
whatever in chic society. Sufficient tchin for
court rights is, however, a sine qua nan, a
stepping-stone, if you please, to the gratifi-
cation of other ambitions of a social nature.

An ambassador, being the personal
representative of a sovereign or of a
sovereign people, is a very important per-
sonage, and soon after his arrival in St.
Petersburg tenders a reception to Russian
official society. To this are invited only
the people of the first three tchins. As

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these are the very cream of Russian official
life, it will be interesting to examine and
classify them more particularly.

Sixteen ministers, including the ministers
of foreign affairs, war, marine, interior, public
instruction, agriculture,. finance, justice, ways
of communication, minister of the imperial
household, procurator of the Holy Synod, and
controller- general .

Sixty-six members of the council of the em-
pire, a legislative and consultative body, ap-
pointed by the Emperor.

One hundred and twenty-four senators,
forming an advisory and judicial assembly,
named by the Elmperor.

Six secretaries of state of his Majesty; 19
honorary curators; 16 grand charges of the
court; 61 masters of the court; 50 ^cuyers of
the court ; 28 veneurs of the court ; 182 cham-
berlains ; 260 gentlemen of the bedchamber ;
30 masters of ceremony ; 54 members of the
military household of the Emperor, including

22 generals aide-de-camp, 8 generab of the
suite, and 24 aides-de-camp of his Majesty ;

23 members of the household of the dowager
Empress, including 2 grand mistresses, 18
ladies of honor with portrait, and 3 maids of
honor; 5 maids of honor of her Majesty the
reigning Empress ; i94maidsof honor of their
Majesties the Empresses ; 65 members of the
households of the grand dukes and grand
duchesses; 42 genenils; 131 lieutenant-gen-
erals; 6 admirals; 21 vice-admirals; 9 actual
privy councilors; 177 privy councilors; 129
former maids of honor ; 262 ladies who have
been presented to their Majesties ; 32 unmar-
ried ladies who have been presented to their
Majesties ; 395 ladies deriving their rights from
father or husband; 32 men deriving their
rights from their wives.

In this number there are 115 princes,
124 counts, and 85 barons ; 132 princesses,
138 countesses, and 41 baronesses.

The following are among the names
occurring most frequently: Princes and
princesses : Galitzin, 30 times ; Ourousoff,
27 times; Obolensky, 9 times; Gargarine,
21 times; Dolgorouki, 10 times; Wolkon-
sky, 9 times ; Troubetskoi, 1 1 times ; Ba-
riatinski, 13 times; Shakovskoi, 7 times;
Belloselsky, 4 times. Counts and coun-
tesses: Hendrikoff, 6 times; Ignatieff, 7
times; Tolstoi, 15 times.

The princely names mentioned are
mostly of families descended from the an-
cient Russian rulers, the kniaz^s. Kniaze,
or prince, is the only strictly Russian title.
As it is transmitted to all the children, the
great ntimber of Russian princes is easily

accounted for. The title may mean much
or little. Those princes who trace their
ancestry to the houses of Rurik and Gue-
demin hare every reason to be proud of
their lineage. On the other hand, there
are innumerable princes of Tatar and
Georgian origin, and many of their titles
signify very little.

Scnne famihes, such as the Galitzins and
Obolenskys, have many collateral branches,
some prominent and others virtually un-
known. Other families, like the Narishkins,
pnde themselves on their absence of title.

Baron and count are tides imported
by Peter with his other Western improve-
ments. He himself created a good many
counts, and since his reign many barons
have been added to the Russian nobility
by the acquisition of the Baltic provinces.
There are, too, many German, Swedish,
and Polish noble families resident in Rus-
sia. It is a matter of constant irritation to
some of the real Russian nobles that many
posts of high honor are in the hands of
" foreigners."

There is nowadays not a great deal of
gaiety at the Russian court The Emperor
is a very busy man ; he probably has more
to do, even in time of peace, than any
other man in the world. Combine the re-
^Mmsibility of the President, the cabinet.
Congress, the governors of States, State
legislatures, and mayors of the principal
cities in this country, and you will begin
to form an idea of the load on the shoul-
ders of Nichblas II. There is no finality
below him, except as he permits it ; and the
mass of details that actually reaches him
is astonishing. If President Roosevelt had
to grant permits to operate mills in T^xas,
erect buildings in New York, or form min-
ing companies in California, before any
such operations could be begun, even his
giant energy would be taxed. Yet, in-
credible as it may seem, the Emperor of
Russia examines into myriads of similar
minutiae, besides attending to the great
affairs of state. He would be more than
human if, in addirion to the stupendous
labor he so conscientiously performs for
his country, he spent much time in amuse-
ment and entertainment.

But the few great functions which are
given at the Winter Palace are, without
doubt, more magnificent than any others
in the world, especially the grand ball
which opens the St. Petersburg social

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season. This ball generally takes place
toward the middle of Russian January,
(about February 1, our style). The suite
of enormous rooms on the second floor of
the palace, part of them overlooking the
Neva, and adjoining their Majesties' pri-
vate apartments, are used. The palace is
so large that probably not one fifth of its
available state apartments are used on this
occasion, in spite of the fact that about
four thousand people are entertained.

The guests, entering by various en-
trances as indicated on their invitations,
are escorted by heralds through halls and
anterooms to the Salle Nicolas I. During
this long and interesting progress one is
constantly astonished at tiie beauty and
variety of the liveries and uniforms. At
every comer is stationed a palace servant
clad in some gorgeous costume of im-
maculate neatness,— chasseurs, footmen,
postilions.— and guarding each doorway,
two cavalrymen, in the splendid uniform
of the guards, are standing with drawn
swords, as motionless as bronze. At vari-
ous intervals are squads of soldiers, who
from time to time flash their sabers in
thrilling unison as a salute to some illus-
trious personage.

In the Salle Nicolas I, under the blaze
of thousands of electric Jights, the guests
are assembled around the huge crystal
candelabra which rise from the floor and
border the room. Every man among them,
with one or two exceptions, wears a more
or less brilliant uniform— military, naval,
civil, or diplomatic— glittering with gold
lace, grand cordons, and decorations. The
diplomats are assembled near the entrance
of the Salle des Concerts, through which
room the Emperor and Empress must pass
to reach the ball-room. Toward this door is
directed the gaze of all in eager anticipation
of the entrance of the imperial party.

Suddenly the doors are thrown open
from behind, and the orchestra, hitherto
silent, bursts forth in the regal polonaise of
Glinka. His Majesty Nicholas II and the
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, proud
and beautiful, appear. They pause for a
moment while the whole assemblage,
actuated by a single impulse, bow low in
respectful homage.

After the polonaise of the imperial party
(nothing more, in fact, than a stately walk
once or twice around the room), the Em-
peror and Empress speak for a few minutes

to the chief diplomats, and the dancing
begins. The Empress herself cannot enjoy
it very much, as conventionalities require
her to request the ambassadors to accom-
pany her in the contra-dances. Sometimes
these gentlemen, however aristocratic or
powerful, are neither young nor graceful,
and, as they frequently know little or no-
thing about the dance, the result cannot
be entirely pleasing either to themselves
or to the Empress. She occasionally calls
upon some young officer to dance the
deuX'Umps with her, but even then she
must dance quite alone : the wands of the
masters of ceremony tap the floor and all
other dancers immediately retire.

Just before supper, as at all Russian
dances great or small, is danced the ma-
zurka, that fascinating and peculiarly
Russian dance so popular among all
classes. It requires considerable skill to
dance it gracefully, and it loses much of
its charm if not accompanied with the
military click of the spur. In Russia our
regular three-step waltz is known as the
" Boston,** and is little danced. What we
call the two-step is virtually unknown, their
deux-temps being quite another dance.
Besides these are danced various difficult
steps never heard of in this country.

After supper there is a short cotillion,
with few favors except flowers, which,
however, are, without much exaggeration,
worth their weight in gold at that time
of year. It requires a person of unusual
energy and presence of mind to lead the
complicated movement of the cotillion at
this ball, and the young officer who does
so richly deserves the personal thanks of
the Empress, which she very cordially
renders him.

There is no lack of refreshment at any
Russian function, and this is especially
true of the court balls. The ball-room
itself and two adjoining rooms open on a
long corridor, the whole length of which,
probably six hundred feet, is occupied
by a buffet covered with " zakuski '* (cor-
responding to hors'd'ceuvre), cakes, and
wine. This buffet is one of several. After
the first dance the champagne corks begin
to pop with astonishing rapidity, but such
a thing as any one showing the effects of
too much of that beverage at dances is
virtually unknown.

The supper itself is most astonishing.
It is by no means a light repast, and is

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served, with four or five wines, to every
guest, all seated at table. With five or six
courses and four thousand people, the
amount of porcelain required is enormous.
It is all beautiful, of peculiar Slavic de-
signs, made only for the Emperor's private
use at tfie imperial factory near the city.
In the magnificent Salle des Armoires is
laid the Empress's table, a round one on
a raised dais, for the grand dukes, am-
bassadors, and persons of the first rank—
about thirty in all. The service for this
table is of gold. Two semicircular wings
in this room accommodate other diplomats
and Russians of high rank. Besides this
room, four adjoining ones are filled. The
candelabra and service throughout are of
massive silver, and all the tables are cov-
ered with flowers and laid with remarkable
richness and beauty. There is a servant
to about every four guests, and the supper
is conducted with such precision and ex-
cellence that all the guests are simulta-
neously served and all have finished when
the Empress gives the signal to rise.

To the second ball of the season, called
the first concert ball, are invited only about
seven hundred and fifty guests. The fea-
ture of this ball is the supper, which takes
place in the Salle Nicolas I, the dancing
being in the Salle des Concerts. During
the week intervening between the two func-
tions the great room has been transformed
into a veritable garden. The floor is cov-
ered with a thick green carpet to imitate
turf, the supper being served at small tables,
placed around huge palms that rise nearly
to the ceiling. The walls are covered with
climbing rose-vines, through which are scat-
tered thousands of cut roses. It is diflicult

Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 30 of 120)