about a hundred and fifty miles north-west of Moscow, in the province of Tver, there stood—and still stands—a long, roomy, one-storied eighteenth-century house. It was built in the sham classical style imported into Russia by Italian architects and was the typical Russian country gentleman’s residence. The property of which the house formed part, and which bore the name of Premukhino, was of ample dimensions. It was an estate “of five hundred souls”; for in the eighteenth century, and long after, land was commonly measured in Russia by the number of male serfs on it. Premukhino lies in agreeable, slightly undulating country, which lacks both the immense fertility and the unbroken monotony of the great Russian plain. The house itself stands on wooded ground sloping steeply down to the river Osuga—the outstanding feature of the Premukhino landscape. The Osuga is a broad, unhurrying stream. It empties into the Tvertsa, which is in turn a tributary of the Volga. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, life at Premukhino imitated the course of the Osuga. It was leisurely and spacious. It flowed towards Tver, the provincial capital, or—more remotely —towards the great Muscovite city of Moscow. Petersburg, and the world beyond of which it was the outpost and the portal, was something distant, alien, and inconceivable.
KeywordsHousing Allowance Daily Visitor Innate Tendency Russian History Wooded Ground
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