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fifteen assignat rubles. Four skins are required to make a fur cloak called a shuba ; but this kind of garment is seldom worn, partly because it is too heavy, and partly from its being such a common material. A little farther towards the ocean, and more especially at the mouth of the river Oby, there exists a species of white bear, which is an object of terror to the fishing parties in those parts. Still I heard a fisherman relate its visits are more annoying than dangerous : for after he has alarmed the fishermen, and put them to flight, he confines his depredations to what can be devoured; and having satisfied his appetite, retires without doing any farther injury.
Madame X-celebrated the anniversary of the death of her first husband, in honour of which she baked a variety of wheaten rolls and cakes, garnished with various preserves, berries, and chopped raisins. These she sent round to 'the kindred and friends of the deceased. She then boiled some rice, which she mixed with honey, and putting it into a urn, 'carried it to church. There she was met by the relatives and friends of the deceased, who were assembled at
her own invitation. Divine service was then performed, after which the name of the deceased was audibly pronounced by each person present, when the rice in the urn was distributed among them. Those who happened to be absent, received a dish of the prepared rice at their own dwellings.
The funeral service at church in commemoration of the deceased having terminated, Madame X—- invited all present at the mournful celebration to accompany her home to breakfast, when the ceremony of tasting the rice was again gone through. This being done, the breakfast, or rather luncheon, was served in such abundance that it might have passed for a dinner.
Towards the end of this strange feast, it was proposed to have a game at boston, for which indeed preparations were made, but the greater part of the guests, after partaking of a sumptuous meal, became drowsy and anxious for their customary after-dinner siesta, and began gradually to steal away, till at last all took leave. I was not at all sorry when I saw myself alone ; for this feasting, be it remem
bered by the reader, took place at our lodgings, and in our rooms.
September opened with a heavy fall of snow. All the environs of the town now looked as clean as they had previously been dirty, and one could hardly recognise the scene, so totally was it changed. Not a trace of mud, not a patch of dirty brown surface was visible. Far and wide was spread a spotless sheet of white. All the inhabitants appeared in the street clad in the Ostiak costume, which consists of a complete suit of reindeer skins, with the hair turned inside out. Finding myself on a sudden in the midst of such men, it was with difficulty I could persuade myself, at first sight, that these shaggy moving forms, incased in the coats of beasts, and wearing such a strange appearance, were human beings. In his exterior, the Ostiak differs materially from the people we are accustomed to see, and without personal experience, it is impossible to form any exact idea of the impression produced by his strange and grotesque figure.
These tribes tear out the hair of their beard, until it loses the power to grow, which makes
them look like women, although far from softening the outlines of the face, it renders them more rugged and harsh. They do not shave their heads like the Samoiedes, but divide the hair into two parts on the top of the head, and plait it behind the ears into two thick braids. Others, who are less cleanly, let it fall loosely and in disorder over their shoulders. The plaited braids are intertwined with strings of beads. Similar strings of beads, mostly of glass, and of a larger size, adorn the neck, from which they also suspend a small cross of brass, in token of their being converted to Christianity.
Their every-day dress consists, first of the socalled malca, a shirt of reindeer skin with the hair turned inside; in the yourta, within doors, if the frost is not more than ordinarily severe, this is a sufficient covering, but outside they put over it another garment, or fur, very similar in appearance, except that it is larger, and not open in front, and the hair is turned outside. This second garment is called a parka, and is worn with a hood behind, which, on going out of doors, is drawn over the head, and tied with
a leather strap under the chin. Falling over the forehead, it almost envelopes the whole face, and except at the apertures for the eyes, nose and mouth, renders it quite inaccéssible to the action of the atmosphere. The hood is formed of the skin of the reindeer's head, and the ears of the animal figure prominently above.
Large gloves of shaggy fur, lined inside with fur of a more delicate character, form a constant appendage of the parka ; there being but one opening left between them to allow of the insertion of the hand. When the gloves are not needed, they are tucked up over the sleeves in the fashion of cuffs. To protect the feet, the Ostiaks wear long stockings, made of reindeer skin with the hair inside. These stockings reach above the knees, and are called tchize. Boots, likewise of reindeer skin, are worn over them, and have the hair outside. The hair on the boots is much shorter than on the stockings, the skin being taken from the animal's legs, and stitched together in strips. They are called by them pymy, and ascend over the thighs, where, to prevent them from slipping down, they are