Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Finlander sits a quiet picture of indifference

You may know what countryman your isvoshtshik is, by the way in which he treats his horses. The German is sure to be the most reasonable. He speaks little to any body, and to his horse not at all. His reins and his whip form ' he only medium of communication between the man and the animal. The Finlander sits a quiet picture of indifference, only now and then brings out a long drawling " Naw! naw!" through his teeth, and from the varied intonations of the one word, the horse is expected to divine the wishes of its master. The cabalistic word of the Lette is " Nooa, nooa!" but to this he has recourse only in moments of great emergency; when, for instance, his horse manifests a disposition not to stir from the spot, or a piggish determination to go any way rather than the way he is wanted to go. The most restless of charioteers is the Pole, who wriggles incessantly about, and wlustles, hisses and howls without intermission, while the shaking of his reins and the cracking of his whip are kept up with equal perseverance. The Russian coachman, on the other hand, seems to trust more to the persuasiveness of his own eloquence, than to any thing else. He seldom uses his whip, and generally only knocks with it upon the foot-board of his sledge, by way of a gentle admonition to his steed, with whom meanwhile he keeps up a running colloquy, seldom giving him harder words than: " my brother," " my friend," " my little father," " my sweetheart," " my little white pigeon," &c. " Come, my pretty pigeon, make use of thy legs," he will say. " What now ? art blind ? come be brisk! Take care of that stone there. Dost not see it ? There, that's right. Bravo ! hop, hop, hop! steady, boy, steady! Now, what art turniug thy head aside for ? Look out boldly before thee ! Huzza! Yukh, yukh !"

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