Page:The Czar, A Tale of the Time of the First Napleon.djvu/58

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


CHAPTER V.


PETROVITCH.


"Oh, but soon ye read in stories
    Of the men of long ago;
And the pale, bewildering glories
    Shining farther than ye know."


OUR travellers liad still a long drive before them after they entered the stately gate called "the Gate of Triumph." The ancient capital of the Czars enclosed, within the vast circumference of its painted walls, gardens, orchards, terraces, even parks and pleasure-grounds, in this as in other ways resembling an Eastern city. In due time, however, the merchants' quarter was reached, and Ivan Petrovitch drew rein before the gateway of a long, low, wooden building, or rather range of buildings, painted in various colours. He was evidently expected and watched for; quite a crowd of men, women, and children, servants or members of the family, hurried out to meet him, and his young companion shared the welcome and the greetings that followed. Ivan Petrovitch, however, took him by the hand, saying to those who were pressing around them, "Stand back, brothers and sisters; no one should speak to the little lord until he has been presented to our father."

He led Ivan into a spacious room or hall, of which the furniture, though far from answering to Western ideas of comfort, showed conclusively that wealth was not lacking, for vessels of silver, rugs of costly fur, and rich Turkish carpets were there in abundance. But Ivan scarcely noticed anything,