February 1st, 2017


Огастес Хэар, автор некогда прославленных путеводителей по Лондону, Риму и Парижу,

посетил, оказывается, в конце 19 века и Россию. В России ему не понравилось всё, и он об этом написал в очередном тревелоге, Studies in Russia. Пока что я читаю первую главу, про Петербург. Думаю, если перевести эту книгу на русский, у петербуржцев появится новый народный обычай: сжигать чучело Огастеса Хэара. Послушать его, трудно еще найти такой скверный, грязный, претенциозный городишко. Читая, я все время вспоминал известный анекдот про экскурсантов из Петербурга на Красной Площади.

Can we still be in Europe? we wonder, as we emerge from the station into the first of those vase, arid, dusty, meaningless squares with which we afterwards become so familiar...

It is said to be a local statistic that one foot-passenger is killed daily in the city by the droskies...

How wide the streets are, how shabby, and (in summer) how empty, only a foot-passenger or two being visible in the whole of the far-stretching distance! How the wind rushes through the vast spaces!..

How mean and pitiful are the shops, with their names inscribed in the bewildering Greek characters which testify to the Greek origin of Russian literature and religion, and with their walls covered all over with pictures of their contents, coats, gowns, boots, portmanteaux, &c. - pictures apparently far more important than the objects they represent. Then comes a square more hugely disproportionate then the streets, the palaces which surround it built of bad brick covered with worse stucco, and, however immense, seeming paltry and puerile in the vast space, girt on one side by the Isaac Church, which, though only a poor imitation of S. Paul's in London, has at least the advantage of stateliness in proportions, when seen against a sunset sky...

The best hotels in S. Petersburg, though sufficiently comfortable, would be considered very second-rate in any other capital, and the food they supply is very indifferent...

The Grand Moskoi, a broad street ending, close the the hotel, in a huge archway, of an aimless architectural character thoroughly characteristic of S. Petersburg...

Opposite us was the Winter Palace, which, with the exception of the Vatican and Versailles, is the largest palace in the world intended for a residence, and, though tasteless and rococo, has a certain grandeur from its immensity.

(о крещенском купании в проруби)
...Quantities of babies are dipped through it. If they die which of course they generally do, heaven is secured for them; but, strange to say, this kind of infanticide is allowed though there is no country where population is so much needed as in Russia...

(о пьедестале Медного Всадника)
...But much of the jagged edges has been shorn away and the original effect of the vast unwieldy mass is destroyed...

(о малахитовых колоннах Исаакиевского собора)
Here the screen is decorated by huge columns of malachite, which are greatly admired by the Russians, though they have the effect of green paint.

(о Казанском соборе)
...A semicircle of columns on the right - a ludicrous caricature of the colonnade of S. Peter's at Rome - announces the Cathedral of our Lady of Kazan (Kazanski Sobor), the second church in the city, which is truly comic in its ambitious imitation...

И т. д., и т. п.

Оказывается, в России запрет на фотосъемку в общественных местах -

старинная народная забава. Едва ли не старше самой фотосъемки.

Огастес Хэар был не только популярным автором трэвелогов и путеводителей, но и художником-любителем. Например, книгу о России он проиллюстрировал сам. И вот что он пишет:

A traveler accustomed to the freedom of the rest of Europe will be intensely worried by the tyranny which is exercised over him in Russia and which will call all his powers of patience into unceasing and vigilant practice. There is no end to the orders which are necessary for all sights, almost for all actions or to the degree in which every official, generally in proportion to his inferiority and subordinateness, exacts to the uttermost the little meed of attention which he thinks due to his self esteem, his fees or more especially his expectation of a bribe, and his habit of receiving it. Many of the sights of S. Petersburg and Moscow are said to be freely open; the fact is just the contrary. A visitor can see nothing unaccompanied, neither museum, palace, school, hospital, nor anything else. The manners and politeness of the East are made an excuse for never leaving a foreigner alone under an outward pretext of doing him honour. To make a sketch, not only of an interior, but even of any external view, an order, signed and countersigned, is necessary, and even then is utterly inefficient to protect the artist, who is often dragged for miles to the police stations, because the police themselves cannot read. (Chapter 1)

The illustrations are from the author's own sketches taken upon the spot under the fear, almost the certainty, of arrest, and sometimes of imprisonment, till the rare official could be found who was capable of reading the various permits with which he was furnished. (Preface)

На металлических крючках

Описание медвежьей охоты на льду на роликовых лыжах достойно Мюнхгаузена.

One of the most remarkable adventures and escapes during a bear hunt was that of Mr. Morgan, a much respected English merchant at S. Petersburg, who in his youth, not very long ago, was one of the handsomest young men in Russia. He was very fond of bear hunting on the ice, but there was one bear so ferocious, that no one would venture to go and kill it. At last Mr. Morgan persuaded three peasants to go with him. The hunters wear long boots on the ice, fastened to pieces of wood several feet in length, and the wood is on rollers. Then they stride out, and away they go at fifty miles an hour. Mr Morgan was rushing thus along the ice and the peasants after him, when out came the bear. He fired and the animal fell. Then, thinking the bear was mortally wounded, he discharged his other pistol, and, immediately after, the bear jumped up and rushed at him. He had given his knife to one peasant and his stick to another to hold, and, when he looked round, both the peasants had fled, and he was quite defenseless.

In his boots he could not turn, he could only make a circuit, so he jumped out of them and tried to sink into the snow. He sank, but unfortunately not entirely, for the top of his head remained above the snow. The bear came and tore off the top of his head and both his eyelids, then it hobbled away; but the cold was so great, Mr. Morgan scarcely felt any pain. By-and-by the peasants returned, and he heard them say, 'There is the bear, sunk into the snow; now we can kill him.' Then Mr. Morgan called out, 'Oh no, indeed, I am not the bear,' and they came and dug him out. But when they saw what a state he was in, they said, 'Well now it is evident that you must die, so we must leave you, but we will make you a fire, that you may die comfortably, for, as for carrying you four days' journey back to S. Petersburg, that is quite impossible.'

But Mr Morgan offered the peasants so large a reward if they would only take him to some refuge, that at last they consented, and they picked up the eyelids too, and carried them to a neighbouring house. There, the old woman of the place, when she saw the eyelids, said, 'Oh, I will make that all right,' and she stuck them on; but she stuck them on the wrong sides, and they continued wrong as long as Mr. Morgan lived.