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"I speak," said the doctor, "German with my wife, Swedish to the housemaid, Russian to my other servants, French with some of the officers, English with occasional travelers, and a little Chinese and Manjour with the natives over the river." Blagoveshchensk has a pretty situation, and I should greatly prefer it to Nicolayevsk for permanent habitation.

Many of the Russians and Chinese believe the site was selected by Genghis Khan, and the monastery commemorated one of his triumphs. The natives look upon the spot with veneration, and frequently go there to practice their mysterious rites. Before leaving Nicolayevsk I asked the captain of the Irigodah how fast his boat could steam. "Oh!" said he, "ten or twelve versts an hour."

At Nicolayevsk there were horses, carts, and carriages, and I had my first experience of a horse harnessed with the Russian yoke. The theory of the yoke is, that it keeps the shafts away from the animal's sides, and enables him to exert more strength than when closely hedged. I cannot give a positive opinion on this point, but believe the Russians are correct.

When a native sitting in one of them spears a fish he moves only his arm and keeps his body motionless. At the Russian village of Gorin there was an Ispravnik who had charge of a district containing nineteen villages with about fifteen hundred inhabitants. At Gorin the river is two or three miles wide, and makes a graceful bend. We landed near a pile of ash logs awaiting shipment to Nicolayevsk.

At the village of Inyakentief I saw the first modern fortification since leaving Nicolayevsk, a simple lunette without cannon but with several hundred cannon shot somewhat rusty with age. The governor of this village was a prince by title, and evidently controlled his subjects very well. I saw Madame the princess, but did not have the pleasure of her acquaintance.

On the Ingodah the steward purchased eggs at every village, and expected to sell them at a large profit in Nicolayevsk. When we left him he had at least ten bushels on hand, but he never furnished eggs to us unless we paid extra for them. One cabin was assigned to Borasdine and myself, save at meal times, when two other passengers were present.

If by some magic the Amoor could be transferred to America, and change its mouth from the Gulf of Tartary to the Bay of New York, a multitude of fine mansions would soon rise on its banks. Among the islands that stud this portion of the river we passed the steamer Constantine with two barges in tow. She left Nicolayevsk twelve days before us, and her impediments made her journey a slow one.

Russia appears in earnest about the development of the Manjourian coast, and is making many efforts for that object. The telegraph is completed from Nicolayevsk to the new seaport, and a post route has been established along the Ousuree. From San Francisco to the mouth of the Amoor I did not see a wheeled vehicle, with the exception of a hand cart and a dog wagon.

"Did you ever hear," said a gentleman to me, "of rats devouring window-glass, or of anchors and boiler iron blowing away in the wind?" However startling such phenomena, he declared they had been known at Nicolayevsk and elsewhere in the empire. I think if all the truth were revealed we might learn of equally strange occurrences in America during the late war.

At Igiratiena I met Colonel Shobeltsin, an officer identified with all the movements for the final occupation of the Amoor. In 1852 he made a journey from Irkutsk to Nicolayevsk, following a route up to that time untraveled. He accompanied Mouravieff's expedition in 1854, and was afterward intimately connected with colonization enterprises.