Friday, May 28, 2010

A cruise on Lake Ladoga

"Dear Q.,—The steamboat Valamo is advertised to leave on Tuesday, the 26th, (July 8th, New Style,) for Serdopol, at the very head of Lake Ladoga, stopping on the way at Schlüsselburg, Konewitz Island, Kexholm, and the island and monastery of Valaam. The anniversary of Saints Sergius and Herrmann, miracle-workers, will be celebrated at the last-named place on Thursday, and the festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Friday. If the weather is fine, the boat will take passengers to the Holy Island. The fare is nine rubles for the trip. You can be back again in St. Petersburg by six o'clock on Saturday evening. Provisions can be had on board, but (probably) not beds; so, if you are luxurious in this particular, take along your own sheets, pillow-cases, and blankets. I intend going, and depend upon your company. Make up your mind by ten o'clock, when I will call for your decision.

"Yours,
"P."

I laid down the note, looked at my watch, and found that I had an hour for deliberation before P.'s arrival. "Lake Ladoga?" said I to myself; "it is the largest lake in Europe,—I learned that at school. It is full of fish; it is stormy; and the Neva is its outlet. What else?" I took down a geographical dictionary, and obtained the following additional particulars: The name Lad'oga (not Lado'ga, as it is pronounced in America) is Finnish, and means "new." The lake lies between 60° and 61° 45' north latitude, is 175 versts—about 117 miles—in length, from north to south, and 100 versts in breadth; receives the great river Volkhoff on the south, the Svir, which pours into it the waters of Lake Onega, on the east, and the overflow of nearly half the lakes of Finland, on the west; and is, in some parts, fourteen hundred feet deep.

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