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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 79, May, 1864 Author: Various Release Date: May 18, 2005 [EBook #15860] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, VOL. ***
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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.
A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.
VOL. XIII.—MAY, 1864.—NO. LXXIX.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by TICKNOR AND FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
A CRUISE ON LAKE LADOGA. WET-WEATHER WORK. THE REAPER'S DREAM. THE NEW-ENGLAND REVOLUTION OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY LIFE OF AN OLD BACHELOR. THE SNOW-MAN. THE GOLD-FIELDS OF NOVA SCOTIA.
LIFE ON THE SEA ISLANDS. GOLD HAIR. CALIFORNIA AS A VINELAND. TO A YOUNG GIRL DYING: THE RIM. TYPES. HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS. REENLISTED. THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
A CRUISE ON LAKE LADOGA.
"Dear Q.,—The steamboat Valamo is advertised to leave on Tuesday, the 26th, (July 8th, New Style,) for Serdopol, at the very head of Lake Ladoga, stopping on the way at Schlüsselburg, Konewitz Island, Kexholm, and the island and monastery of Valaam. The anniversary of Saints Sergius and Herrmann, miracle-workers, will be celebrated at the last-named place on Thursday, and the festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Friday. If the weather is fine, the boat will take passengers to the Holy Island. The fare is nine rubles for the trip. You can be back again in St. Petersburg by six o'clock on Saturday evening. Provisions can be had on board, but (probably) not beds; so, if you are luxurious in this particular, take along your own sheets, pillow-cases, and blankets. I intend going, and depend upon your company. Make up your mind by ten o'clock, when I will call for your decision. "Yours, "P." I laid down the note, looked at my watch, and found that I had an hour for deliberation before P.'s arrival. "Lake Ladoga?" said I to myself; "it is the largest lake in Europe,—I learned that at school. It is full of fish; it is stormy; and the Neva is its outlet. What else?" I took down a geographical dictionary, and obtained the following additional particulars: The name Lad'oga (not Lado'ga, as it is pronounced in America) is Finnish, and means "new." The lake lies between 60° and 61° 45' north latitude, is 175 versts—about 117 miles—in length, from north to south, and 100 versts in breadth; receives the great river Volkhoff on the south, the Svir, which pours into it the waters of Lake Onega, on the east, and the overflow of nearly half the lakes of Finland, on the west; and is, in some parts, fourteen hundred feet deep. Vainly, however, did I ransack my memory for the narrative of any traveller who had beheld and described this lake. The red hand-book, beloved of tourists, did not even deign to notice its existence. The more I meditated on the subject, the more I became convinced that here was an untrodden corner of the world, lying within easy reach of a great capital, yet unknown to the eyes of conventional sight-seers. The name of Valaam suggested that of Barlaam, in Thessaly, likewise a Greek monastery; and though I had never heard of Sergius and
Herrmann, the fact of their choosing such a spot was the beginning of a curious interest in their history. The very act of poring over a map excites the imagination: I fell into conjectures about the scenery, vegetation, and inhabitants, and thus, by the time P. arrived, was conscious of a violent desire to make the cruise with him. To our care was confided an American youth, whom I shall call R.,—we three being, as we afterwards discovered, the first of our countrymen to visit the northern portion of the lake. The next morning, although it was cloudy and raw, R. and I rose betimes, and were jolted on a droshky through the long streets to the Valamo's landingplace. We found a handsome English-built steamer, with tonnage and power enough for the heaviest squalls, and an after-cabin so comfortable that all our anticipations of the primitive modes of travel were banished at once. As men not ashamed of our health, we had decided to omit the sheets and pillowcases, and let the tooth-brush answer as an evidence of our high civilization; but the broad divans and velvet cushions of the cabin brought us back to luxury in spite of ourselves. The captain, smoothly shaven and robust, as befitted his station,—English in all but his eyes, which were thoroughly Russian,—gave us a cordial welcome in passable French. P. drove up presently, and the crowd on the floating pier rapidly increased, as the moment of departure approached. Our fellow-pilgrims were mostly peasants and deck—passengers: two or three officers, and a score of the bourgeois, were divided, according to their means, between the first and second cabins. There were symptoms of crowding, and we hastened to put in preëmption-claims for the bench on the port—side, distributing our travelling sacks and pouches along it, as a guard against squatters. The magic promise of na chaï (something to buy tea with) further inspired the waiters with a peculiar regard for our interest, so that, leaving our important possessions in their care, we went on deck to witness the departure. By this time the Finnish sailors were hauling in the slack hawsers, and the bearded stevedores on the floating quay tugged at the gangway. Many of our presumed passengers had only come to say good-bye, which they were now waving and shouting from the shore. The rain fell dismally, and a black, hopeless sky settled down upon the Neva. But the Northern summer, we knew, is as fickle as the Southern April, and we trusted that Sergius and Herrmann, the saints of Valaam, would smooth for us the rugged waters of Ladoga. At last the barking little bell ceased to snarl at the tardy pilgrims. The swift current swung our bow into the stream, and, as we moved away, the crowd on deck uncovered their heads, not to the bowing friends on the quay, but to the spire of a church which rose to view