Miss Rigby Likes Masonry Stoves

an excerpt from Letters from the Shores of the Baltic, copyright 1842 by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake, who spent some years in Russia:

Within these great houses not a breath of cold is experienced.  The rooms are heated by stoves…sometimes surmounted with classic figures of great beauty, and opening with brass doors, kept as bright as if they were of gold.  In houses of less display, these stoves are merely a projection in the wall, colored and corniced in the same style as the apartment.

These are heated but once in twenty-four hours…Each stove will hold a heavy armful of billet, which blazes, snaps, and cracks most merrily; and when the ashes have been carefully turned and raked, so that no unburnt morsel remains, the chimney aperture is closed… and in about six hours after this the stove is at its hottest- indeed it never cools.

This agreeable temperature to live in, retire to rest and rise by, is certainly the most agreeable luxury, and there can be no surprize that foreigners rail at our rooms which freeze them by the window or scorch them by the fire; but a more important fact attending this general distribution of heat, consists of the absence of all pulmonary complaints and rheumatic maladies in this severe climate…”

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