A Few Months Trip to South East Russia.
MOORE C.T. (1874.)
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Anastatically printed (relief etched) from Moore's original manuscript. Folio. Contemporary red morocco, elaborately gilt & blind-stamped, raised bands in six compartments, rebacked with original spine laid down, extremities a little rubbed, silk moire endpapers, a.e.g. 1, ll printed recto only. [England, Privately printed], May
An exceedingly rare, privately printed account of a trip to Orenburg, just north of the border with Kazakhstan in 1872. Moore, who was the secretary of the Russian Copper Company, was to undertake an audit of an English mining company operating several mines.
He left England in late July 1872, travelling to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nijin before taking a boat down the Volga. They lacked for little en route: "every station we stopped at there was a good refreshment room and plentifully supplied with the tea, coffee, liquors, vodka, beer, cutlets, ham, garlic and other similar delicacies." "The guards of the trains are dressed like Cossacks viz: with a long loose Robe hanging almost to the boots, a bell round the waist and a tartar turban..."
He disembarked at Samara on August 10. He spent a couple of days there outfitting for the journey on horseback to Orenburg. He provides a vivid description of the steppes and their "Sometimes the road is very good at others very bad. We never stop at a ditch of say a yard wide, over we go, with a tremendous shake which would have settled 99 in every 100 carriages with springs, but we are safe on the other side and off we go again helter skelter, the Yemschick nearly tearing his throat out with shouting to the horses ... until we come to the Post station where the horses are changed and unless there is a squabble with the Postmaster or the driver, which there generally is, we are off again in the same style and over the same sort of country. Carcasses of dead horses here and there mark the track between the villages."
Upon reaching Orenburg, he commences a tour of mines in the region. First Kangalinskey ("the Company's local Manager is an Italian Count"), beyond the steppes to Voskresensky ("the priest ... exceeds even the Russians in general in drunkenness", indeed he'd recently swapped the names of a boy and girl he was christening), and then Preobrajensky. Moore writes: "to all accounts this was to be our most difficult journey as there are no post roads ... A few hours before we started a special message arrived from the Company's local manager ... to say the roads were very unsafe. Three - escaped convicts - were roaming about, rolling and even murdering occasionally. One of the mines in that district had to be closed as it was impossible to get money sent there owing to these fellows."
It's difficult to image that more than handful of copies would have been printed. Auction records list single copy for sale at Sotheby's in 1978. Not in OCLC or COPAC.
Stock Code: 228795