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Enter Bessarabia.-Forms of admission into quarantine.-Ex
amination of baggage.—Room and furniture.—Guardian.Insects. —Visits of doctor.—Difficulties.—Jew traiteur.Interrogations.-List of books.- Final examination and oath.-Leave quarantine.-Ordered to Kishnau.—Character and rank of officers of quarantine.—Douane.-Portmanteau with books sealed.-Doctor.—Niemtevich.- Polish Jews.-Description of vehicle.- Quit Liova.—Scenery.Verst-posts.-Conquest of Bessarabia.-Habits of people affected by government.-Driver.- Sarasicca.-- Peasant's hut.-Wild scenery.--Autumnal tints.—Eagles.-Indian vultures.-View of Kishnau.—Roman walls.-Interior of town.
- Hotel.-Beds. - Visits to governor. Gipsies. Business transacted by Jews.-Hebrew soldiers.--Anecdote.
ARRIVED on the Bessarabian bank and now in the empire of Russia, we marched in procession, accompanied by a number of Jews going to see their friends, to the office of the commissary, who, after sundry forms and much delay, placed in our hands a French
A RUSSIAN QUARANTINE.
translation of the regulations of the quarantine, all of which were enforced under penalty of death. These being read, we were required to take an oath of obedience, and to give a solemn promise that we would secrete nothing from the inspectors. The great doors were then opened, and we were admitted with our baggage, which was laid out upon the grass, every article being taken separately from the boxes and compared with the inventory written on the other side of the water. The exact num. ber of gold ducats and silver rubles possessed by each of us was entered ; every scrap of paper, rag, and leather was examined, and the list made doubly correct; yet, two days afterwards, an official was directed to inform us that a pair of braces was not recorded, which, with some garters, was then formally added to the catalogue. It is not possible to conceive, without personal experience, the rigidity of this investigation. At length, the shadows of night drew over the horizon, and we were permitted to retire to our apartments; having previously bespoken the best in the quarantine, and particularly requested that mattresses might be hired for our use from the town.
Our room, floored with brick, was eleven feet square and seven high; it contained a stove,
a small deal table, a wooden stool, and two frames of bedsteads supplied with narrow planks which did not nearly meet one another. This was literally the whole furniture of the apartment in which we were destined to pass four days and nights; there were none of the innumerable little comforts required in a domestic ménage, nor were we permitted to provide them at our own expense.
The door opened into a small enclosure, six yards square, in which a soldier, called our guardian, remained day and night, the gate being locked at sunset on him and us, and the windows fastened on the outside. One of these, (for there were two,) faced the little quadrangle, so that the guardian could inform himself of all we did; and between eight and nine o'clock in the evening he insisted on our putting out our candle and fire; a requisition the more vexatious, as the place swarmed with field.bugs and feas to such a degree that, every second hour of the day and as long as light was allowed, we were compelled to wage war against them; giving, as we received, no quarter. For a candlestick we were provided with a piece of clay; a soldier's old cloak, with a coarse canvass bag, was given as a covering for each bedstead; thus, no very pro
mising prospect opened before us.
We were told that there was a Jew traiteur who provided food; but, on our admission, he had left his shop for the day, and the following was a Hebrew festival; so that, but for our own little stock, laid in without the slightest anticipation of being placed in such circumstances, we should probably have become ill for want of the necessaries of life.
The first morning, the doctor paid us an early visit to enquire, as well he might, how we had rested on our hard beds, and to tell us that permission would be granted to purchase from the Jew some hay to convert into paillasses the sacks thrown over the bedsteads; he likewise informed us that all our goods must be suspended, or spread out, under a roof surrounded by trellis-work, there to remain for three days to be ventilated and purified. But another difficulty had arisen. Our passport was drawn out on the twenty.ninth of August at Vienna, and a visé appeared on it which, according to the doctor, bore date the twenty-fifth of August. This looked like fraud, and we were responsible. The document was produced, and the visé proved to be written on the eleventh of September; the entry, however, was in German; and the German
running-hand S is not very unlike an O with a flourish; the doctor therefore declared it was October: we reminded him that the eleventh of October had not yet arrived; and that, even if the secretary of a public office had made the blunder supposed, a traveller should not be held accountable; at the same time we maintained that, in point of fact, the word written was September, not October; nevertheless, he strongly asserted his acquaintance with German, and it was not expedient to dispute it. At length he departed, and we heard no more of the passport being in French, nor of the date, nor of any other difficulty connected with it.
The Jew made his appearance notwithstanding the holiday. Happily, he spoke German, without which we might have been left to starve, for our guardians understood only three syllables of any language but Russ; and their usual reply to our solicitations for food or other necessaries was, “ Jude ist nicht,” “ The Jew is not here;" words repeated with a somewhat vexatious monotony and indifference. The Hebrew traiteur sold only raw materials for the table, and we were provided with no apparatus for cooking. But necessity is the mother of invention. A few earthen vessels supplied the place of saucepans, plates, and basins; thus